Source: NewsBank/Readex – October 25, 1817, City Gazette (published as City Gazette and Daily Advertiser.)
Charleston, South Carolina, Advertisement, Volume XXXVII, Issue 12043, Page [3]

“Payne-ful” Business:

Charleston’s Journey to Truth

By Margaret Seidler

Illustrations John W. Jones

“Payne-ful” Business: Charleston’s Journey to Truth follows Margaret Seidler’s mission to learn and process her family’s genealogical past. Using extensive research and personal experience, Seidler discusses the realities of Charleston’s racial history while highlighting the historians, journalists, and community members who work to reconcile those truths. The book features authentic, historic slave advertisements brought to life by vivid paintings by artist John W. Jones that uncover the humanity hidden beneath the detached advertisement descriptions. Seidler hopes that acknowledging a more complete truth about our past will motivate us to bridge today’s racial divide.


Margaret Seidler

Margaret Seidler is a retired Organization & Leadership Development consultant, national conference speaker, and author. Her book, Power Surge: Energizing your Leadership Strengths, was published by HRD Press, 2008. Her practice focused on creating higher performance in leaders and in addressing local government and community system complexity.

Margaret was born and raised in Charleston. In the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel massacre, she and former City Police Chief Greg Mullen led the Charleston Illumination Project, a year-long effort, designed to give all parts of the community a voice in strengthening citizen/police relationships. A case study of the Charleston Illumination Project was published in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox, Oxford University Press, UK, 2017.

Her broader work with the city of Charleston was published in Both/AND Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems, Harvard Business Review Press, MA, 2022. 

Margaret has a BA in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. She became a certified Polarity Thinking Master in 2009.


John W. Jones

John W. Jones is an African American artist who first gained acclaim for his series, Confederate Currency: The Color of Money. Self-taught and drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970, he served in Vietnam, eventually becoming an Army illustrator.

Examining Confederate banknotes, he became interested in the depiction of the slave economy in the American South before and during the American Civil War. Banknotes of the era often depicted slaves as happy workers on the cotton plantations. Jones has said he intended to demonstrate that banknotes served a propaganda purpose in depicting slavery as a natural state of affairs and one on which the Southern states’ economies rested. Jones recreated these scenes in large color paintings, using models and posing them as in the original etched images. He exhibited his paintings next to the banknote with the original etching.

More recently, he has created a series of paintings, “Lowcountry Gullah Series.” He also painted a series featuring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of Black soldiers that fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Ms. Cassandra Jenkins of James Island and Margaret with the beautiful palmetto rose bouquet Cassandra gifted her. The two met at Brasserie La Banque after a book talk at the certified tour guides association meeting. 

Current & Upcoming


July 19 – September 13, 2024
Richland County Library
1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina
Opening Reception: Friday, July 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Gallery Talk: Saturday, August 3, 11 am
Panel Discussion: Sunday, September 8, 3 pm

Friday, July 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Opening Reception
Richland County Library
1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina

Saturday, August 3; 11 am 
Gallery Talk
Richland County Library
1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina

Sunday, September 8, 3 pm
Panel Discussion 
Richland County Library – Auditorium 
1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina

October 3 – 31, 2024
Milliken Art Gallery, Converse College
580 East Main Street, Spartanburg, South Carolina 
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 3, 6 – 8 pm

January 6 – February 16, 2025
University of South Carolina Beaufort, Center for the Arts
801 Carteret Street, Beaufort South Carolina
Event dates and times to be announced.

Spring 2025
Steven F. Gately Gallery
Francis Marion University
142 N. Dargan St. Florence, South Carolina
Event dates and times to be announced.

Ongoing: Gallery Chuma
African American Artwork by John W. Jones
188 Meeting St, in the Charleston City Market

Events Archive

Events Archive

Art Exhibitions

“Payne-ful” Business, Charleston’s Journey to Truth Exhibition

December 1 – February 11, 2024
City Gallery
Waterfront Park on Prioleau Street

Book Talks

Monday, March 18; 6 pm

Book Talk at First Baptist Church, 61 Church Street, Downtown Charleston
Sponsored by the Preservation Society of Charleston.
On-site parking available using Meeting Street entrance.

Saturday, March 23; 10 am – 1 pm 
Building Bridges Across Time and Race
Campbell Chapel AME Church
25 Boundary Street, Bluffton, SC

Saturday, April 27; 3 – 4:30 pm
Charleston County Public Main Library
68 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401
Parking is under the library.

Saturday, May 11; 3 – 4:30 pm
Dorchester Road Library
6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, SC 29418
*Please note Nic Butler will not be participating on this date

Saturday, June 8; 3 – 4:30 pm
Hurd/St. Andrews Library
1735 N. Woodmere Drive, Charleston, SC 29407

Tuesday, June 19; 11 am-1 pm
Moveable Feast Luncheon
Litchfield Country Club, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
For reservations, 843.235.9600, or visit


Book Release

Wednesday, March 13; 5:30 pm

Charleston Visitors Center in the Camden Room.

View Paintings

Gallery Chuma
View the work of John W. Jones
188 Meeting St. in the City Market

View Events for Gallery Showings.

Contact Author

Margaret Seidler