Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Thomas Brown


This paper discusses the utility of currency as a promotional technique for southern ways, most specifically a mindset surrounding the social status of African Americans. Prior to the start of the Civil War, southern states began using images depicting enslaved labor on multiple types of currency. This practice continued through the creation and fall of the Confederate States of America, but the most telling images come from the financial instruments used between the war’s end and the start of Jim Crow. A brief history of southern and northern hostilities, with slavery at the forefront of the southern culture, sets the stage for the currency’s coining. The thesis also addresses the significance of the slavery scenes chosen by engravers during an approximately twenty-year timeframe, while situating the discussion into secondary literature. Additionally, the context provided establishes the reasons the Confederacy utilized its bills for ideological and promotional purposes. The continued use of enslaved and African American labor force images on a variety of currency reveals the prevailing mindset that led to Jim Crow.