Who Is Honored?
Project 1 now due on Canvas!!!
Please also add your essay to our class Scalar Book
Maud Sultre, Terpischore from the series Zabat, 1989.











"During the 60 years leading up to the Civil War, the daily amount of cotton picked per enslaved worker increased 2.3 percent a year. That means that in 1862, the average enslaved fieldworker picked not 25 percent, or 50 percent as much, but 400 percent as much cotton than his or her counterpart did in 1801" (Desmond, "In order to understand the brutality of American capitalis, you have to start on the plantation").


Junius Brutus Stearns, George Washington Overseeing his Slaves at Mount Vernon, 1853, lithograph.











Abraham Lincoln

All of the first 18 U.S. Presidents enslaved people, except for John Adams (second President), his son, John Quincy Adams (sixth President), and Abraham Lincoln (16th President).

Matthew Brady Studio, Abraham Lincoln, c. 1863. Albumen Cabinet Card.











During the Lincoln Douglas debates, after being accussed of "supporting negro equality," Lincoln responded, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” Lincoln did not support suffrage for Black men, and did not believe they should serve on juries, hold public office, or be allowed to marry whites. A capitalist, Lincoln did however believe that Black people had the right to improve their lives and seek happiness. 

Black Woman with White Baby, date unknown. Ambrotype










Andrew Johnson, who served as Lincoln’s vice president before becoming president in 1865, enslaved at least six people, whom he bragged he never sold. Considering his own self-interest, Johnson lobbied for Lincoln to exclude his own state, Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation.


According to family lore, Andrew Johnson freed all his personal slaves on August 8, 1863. They all remained with him afterwards as paid servants. Slaves of Andrew Johnson

Dolly Johnson with Andrew Johnson's grandson
Sam Johnson














Confederate Currency, "Greenback"

Prototype for Tubman $20 bill


Who is honored on U.S. Currency?


George Washington

  • Referred to the people he enslaved as "a species of property"; enslaved over 300 people in his lifetime; relentlessly pursued Ona Judge, who escaped to Portsmouth; eventually expressed opposition to slavery (though privately); stipulated that the people he enslaved should be freed upon the death of his wife, who then freed about 160 people the following year.

Abraham Lincoln


Alexander Hamilton

  • As a lawyer purchased enslaved people for others, but became an abolitionist who supported manumitions and emancipation

Andrew Jackson

  • Wealthy planter, enslaver, signed the Indian Removal Act
  • Ran for president in 1824 against John Quincy Adams. No candidate won electoral majority, so the House elected Adams. In reaction, Jackson's supporters founded the Democratic Party.

Ulysses S. Grant

  • Last U.S. President to enslave people was Ulysses S. Grant. Before serving as a General in the Union Army, Grant enslaved a man named William Jones, whom he granted freedom in 1859.

Benjamin Franklin

  • Enslaved as many as seven people; allowed and profitted from the sale of enslaved people in his general store; eventually became a cautious abolitionist, and more strongly supporting abolition in Congress










Harriet Tubman, late 1860s. Carte-de-Visite.

Squyer, Harriet Tubman, c. 1885.











"In 1849 Harriet Tubman learned that she and her brothers Ben and Henry were to be sold. Financial difficulties of slave owners frequently precipitated sale of slaves and other property. The family had been broken before; three of Tubman’s older sisters, Mariah Ritty, Linah, and Soph, were sold to the Deep South and lost forever to the family and to history.  

Determining their own fate, Tubman and her brothers escaped, but turned back when her brothers, one of them a brand-new father, had second thoughts. A short time later, Tubman escaped alone and made her way through Maryland, Delaware, and across the line into Pennsylvania and freedom [more than 100 miles away]. Tubman’s biographer, Sarah Bradford, quoted Tubman recalling, 'When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven'” (National Parks Service).

Underground Railroad Routes











Between 1850 and 1860, Tubman made 19 trips from the South to the North following the network known as the Underground Railroad. She guided more than 300 people, including her parents and several siblings, from slavery to freedom, earning the nickname “Moses” for her leadership.

Underground Railroad Quilt

quilt block code











W. E. B. Du Bois, John Brown, 1909

How One Piece of Legislation Divided a Nation

Augustus Washington, John Brown, c. 1846 - 1847

David Bustill Bowser, John Brown, 1865






















Left to right: Harriet Tubman; Gertie Davis [Tubman’s adopted daughter]; Nelson Davis [Tubman’s second husband and Civil War veteran]; Lee Cheney; “Pop” Alexander; Walter Green; Sarah Parker [“Blind Auntie” Parker] and Dora Stewart [granddaughter of Tubman’s brother, john Stewart], possibly at home for aging Black folks in St. Catharines, Ontario, which Tubman helped to found with a donation of land to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Auburn in 1903.