Black Friday has its roots in a financial crisis known as the Panic of 1869. In September of that year, two financiers conspired to corner the gold market, but President Grant's administration caught wind of the scheme and sold millions of dollars of gold to break the corner. This caused a panic in financial markets. The price of gold dropped, and so did the stock market, leaving thousands bankrupt. Oh, and this happened on a Friday, hence the "Black Friday" moniker.