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Culture > News

Harriet Tubman is the New Face of the $20 Bill

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced Wednesday that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill in 2020.

Lew told the Huffington Post that the back of the $20 will depict an image of the White House and Jackson. Lew also said that he made the decision to make Tubman the new face of the $20 bill “after hearing from the American people through roundtables, town halls and in online discussions.”

“The life of Harriet Tubman is really one of the great American stories.” Lew told the Huffington Post.

Tubman was a Civil Rights Activist after escaping from slavery in 1849. Tubman is most famously known for leading the efforts of the Underground Railroad, a secret network that led hundreds of slaves to freedom. Lew also says that Tubman “was not well compensated for much of her life.” Women on 20s, a nonprofit campaign to get women woman on currency, conducted a 10-week poll in 2015 to see which woman Americans wanted on their currency. Tubman received 33.6 percent of 352,431 votes, beating former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

“We had been looking to this Treasury Secretary to put a woman front and center as soon as possible and powerfully inspire the quest for gender equality going forward,” Women on 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone said in a press release Wednesday. “Today’s announcement is an important step in moving us closer to that goal. This is just as much a victory for the millions of American people, young and old, who cared enough about women and their worth to rally for this historic change.”

This announcement is one year after Lew made a commitment to put Susan B. Anthony on the $10 bill. Lew sent President Barack Obama a memo detailing plans to remove Alexander Hamilton from the bill in 2015. While Hamilton will still remain on the $10 bill, Lew’s new American currency plan will add images of women to the back of both the $10 and $5 bills. U.S. Treasurer Rosa Rios and Lew both said that the Treasury Department has intent to reveal their new designs of all three bills by 2020—the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women suffrage.

It is uncertain when the new bills will come into circulation, but Lew and Rios said “the process would begin as soon as technology and security issues would allow.”

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