About Black Money

‘“Money talks,” as the saying goes—but what does it say? There is more to the story of money than simple profit. The designs, texts, and symbols on coins [and banknotes] contain messages designed to be understood by the people using them. These messages represent the earliest form of mass produced communication in history. The fact that the same message could be transmitted from the ruling authority to the people without mediation is a critical milestone in history.’ (Douglas Mudd, Curator of the Money Museum, American Numismatic Association, 2005).

Black Money: World Currencies Featuring African, African-American, and African Diasporic History and Cultures is a traveling museum exhibition created and directed by Dr. Harcourt Fuller, Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta. Dr. Fuller is a scholar of African and African Diasporic History, as well as the representation of Black History on money. The Black Money Traveling Exhibition will open from November 4, 2018 – January 6, 2019, at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (AARL), in Atlanta. The opening of Black Money at the AARL will be part of the local tours planned for the attendees of the 61st Annual Conference of the African Studies Association (ASA), which will be held in Atlanta from November 29 – December 1, 2018. Dr. Fuller is one of the Local Area Committee Co-Chairs of the 2018 ASA Conference. The exhibition will travel to museums and other venues in cities and states across the U.S. over the next several years.

Black Money features displays of thematically organized banknotes depicting the histories, cultures, politics and experiences of Africans and peoples of African descent in countries around the world. The selected currencies demonstrate the important role that money has played, and continues to play, as a marketing tool and medium of mass publicity for governments and other entities, from the 19th century to present. The travelling exhibition features “money trees” decorated with real money from countries in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, including the United States. It includes rare, obsolete, and currently circulating money and money-related objects, accompanied by scale and life-size models of historical characters and other images featured on money, promotional money posters, wall-mounted, money-inspired artwork, and other works of art depicted on money.

A “Money Talks” series is also integrated into this exhibition. This includes talks by artists, art historians, museum professionals, local community members, scholars of Africa and the African Diaspora, as well as film screenings, book readings, and presentations by griots (storytellers). This provides further interpretive, contextual and historical background to the exhibits. There is also hands-on and interactive educational programming and material for K-12 children, as well as more advanced interpretive programing for colleges, universities and community organizations. This accompanying, interactive website (www.blackmoneyexhibit.com) for the exhibition expands on the content and themes depicted in the museum exhibition, with additional information and references to teaching and research material for educators and the public.