In case you haven’t hear the news, Harriet Tubman is set to replace President Andrew Jackon on the twenty dollar bill! The U. S Department of Treasury announced in April that former slave turned Civil War hero Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the bill. Andrew Jackson, while thought of as a war hero and American figurehead (and the current face of the twenty), was nonetheless notoriously a slaveholder and involved in the displacement of thousands of Native Americans. Tubman, a more suitable choice for American currency, was selected over various other female candidates, including Eleanour Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, all extremely notable figures, famous for their dedication to social justice. While you might not see her face tomorrow on a crisp new twenty from the bank, Tubman bills are being prepared for distribution in about four years’ time.
Harriet Tubman began her life as a slave in 1822, when she was born in Maryland. After experiencing numerous horrific events in slavery, she eventually fled to Phildelphia via the Underground Railroad. She made numerous trips back into slave territory, rescuing dozens, including her parents, from slavery. A fierce advocate for freed slaves, she campaigned for increased education and often personally cared for the poor and elderly. Nicknamed “General Tubman, she buried with military honors – one of the first recorded African American women to have been done so.
The popular campaign, Women on 20s (a nonprofit largely responsible for the monumentous change), increasingly pressured government officials to put a woman on the twenty dollar bill as opposed to the ten dollar bill, as the ten was next in line for a revamp based on the amount of counterfeit threat. The group argued that the ten was a less prominent, more obscure bill then the twenty – and women have waited in obscurity long enough!
Harriet on the twenty represents a new era – a historical moment that captures the ever-increasing multiculutral essense of the United States. Furthermore, the twenty now shows a American figurehead that postively shaped our country and proudly upheld American ideals, while recognizing the important contribution women made in our country.
Want to get in on the action? Join “Women on 20s” virtual march to the White House by using the hashtag #DearMrPresident on social media to contribute to the discussion, and click here to learn more about the campaign.