Treasury Department keeps Hamilton, but puts Harriet Tubman on $20

Posted April 26

The U.S. Treasury Dept. has announced that after a year of deliberation and public input, it will put its first female and person of color on paper currency: Underground Railroad abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Although Alexander Hamilton will stay put on the $10 bill, which was originally up for change but was derailed amid the popularity of the Broadway musical about his life, many people say replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, especially with someone like Tubman, is particularly satisfying.

"Replacing Jackson with Tubman is particularly appropriate, some activists argue, because it replaces a slavery proponent with the nation's most famous abolitionist and former slave who led other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad," Vox's Emily Crockett wrote.

But not everyone is pleased with the choice of Tubman, saying the measure may actually be disrespectful to her legacy as a pioneering equality activist.

"Tubman didn’t respect America’s economic system, so making her a symbol of it would be insulting," Feminista Jones wrote in the Washington Post last year.

Some say it's also insulting to Tubman because, as a former scout and nurse during the Civil War, Tubman was later denied her full pension and she objected to American capitalism at a time when it was based partially on slave labor.

"I'm not sure the radical Harriet fought as hard as she did to liberate her people so her face can appear on currency that mostly rests in the bank accounts of the very class of people she rescued her people from," Twitter user Darnell L. Moore tweeted. "But some would say representation matters."

Tubman's bill may not be available publicly until 2030 while new designs and security features are finalized, Mashable reported.


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all