Black Women on Money
A Documentary by Katawud Films
Black Women on Money is an inspiring and timely documentary feature film that chronicles the stories of five ground-breaking Black women, whose victories earned them a coveted place on the banknotes of their respective countries. Spanning Ghana, Haiti, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, we cover more than 200 years of history and travel to four continents to meet these pioneering Black women to get a glimpse into how they ultimately made it on money. The film follows Sanité Bélair, the Haitian revolutionary who helped to defeat Napoleon’s army and end slavery in Haiti, the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere; Nana Yaa Asantewaa, a Queen Mother who led an army of 20,000 Asante fighters to confront the British who were colonizing their kingdom in Ghana at the turn of the 20th century; Canadian icon Viola Desmond, a businesswoman and protege of America’s first female millionaire Madam CJ Walker, who led the fight for Civil Rights in Canada; and the Baiana women of Brazil’s Black capital of Bahia, savvy businesswomen who maintain the strong spiritual and cultural links between Africa and this South American republic. Black Women on Money also traces the current movement in the United States to place African American abolitionist and Civil War heroine Harriett Tubman on the US $20 banknote.
The documentary highlights the resilience and brilliance of these women, the struggles of their time, and explores how they are remembered today. Ultimately, the film asks how we grapple with the memory of historical injustices, how does placing icons on money impact their legacies, and what do we do in the present to render justice.
Black Women on Money is directed and produced by award-winning filmmakers Dr. Harcourt Fuller and Karen Marks Mafundikwa. Dr. Fuller is a Fulbright Global Scholar and historian with expertise in the history of money in Africa and the African Diaspora. He is also the Founder/Director of the Black Money Exhibit, a traveling exhibition which showcases over 300 banknotes for more than 80 countries and territories that illustrate 10,000 years of Black history, cultures, and lived experiences.
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