The faces of most U.S. currency belongs to the country’s white forefathers and president – some of whom owned slaves. To completely turn that pattern on its head with the biggest change to the country’s denominations, the U.S. Treasury has announced that Harriet Tubman will take Andrew Jackson’s place on the $20 bill, according to Politico.
“Today, I’m excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 note,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said during a conference call.
To clarify, Jackson won’t be absent from the bill. While Tubman, whose famous for freeing hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad and being a Union spy, will take his place on the front, Jackson will reportedly be found on the back in some capacity, according to the New York Times.
The original plan was for a woman to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, but the recent popularity of Hamilton, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical, has given the political figure new life and relevance. However, there are still expected to be changes to it and the $5 bill.
Once the new bills are introduced – which is currently expected to happen sometime after 2020 – the back of the $10 bill will include an image of the 1913 march for women’s right to vote as well as portraits of Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony.
The back of the $5 bill will focus on the civil rights movement by including an image of Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 after being blocked from performing at the Constitution Hall. It will also feature images of Elanor Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tubman will be the first woman on the front of a U.S. bill of currency since Martha Washington once held the place on the $1 bill that is now synonymous with her husband.
This news is being well received by many as they celebrate the acknowledgement of the United States as a land of many people with histories of their own. However, some other are concerned that Tubman’s presence on the currency is ahistorical and against the tenets she espoused during her life.
Overall, it seems like it might be a triumph (on its face). Even if it is just for show.
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