Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies

First Advisor

John Rash

Second Advisor

Catarina Passidomo

Third Advisor

Andy Harper

Relational Format



Bake sales have recently come to the forefront of our consciousness as a method of fundraising for social justice but the practice’s history reaches back to the 18th century. A readily available tool for women, baking was put to work to raise money for voting rights in the early 20th century. Less than fifty years later, bake sales appeared as a key fundraising tool for the civil rights movement. The reappearance of bake sales today stems from several factors, including the presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016, the appearance of COVID-19 in the United States in early 2020, and the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. The audio documentary produced in conjunction with this research gives a voice to the bakers who have participated in these fundraisers, all of whom are in the U.S. South. This thesis will contextualize these 21st century bake sales within the historical counterparts of the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements while also looking at the role of social media and digital activism. By placing bake sales in a larger context, it becomes clear that their success lies not in the money accrued, but in the connections that are made.


The Bake Sale Thesis Cut.mp3.zip



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