Harriet Tubman is slated to lead the way to a more inclusive theme for American money.
By Solomon Smith, Staff Writer
The twenty-dollar bill is scheduled for a new look featuring Harriet Tubman, while pushing slave owner and former President Andrew Jackson to the rear of the bill along with a picture of the White House.
Changes to the bill are planned as part of a new look to U.S. currency—specifically mentioned are the twenty, ten, and five-dollar notes. According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s website, Modern Money, the bill’s design will be revealed in 2020 to coincide with the Nineteenth Amendment’s one hundredth anniversary.
The 2020 date was also chosen to address security concerns. The Treasury stated that it needed time to improve and test security feature on the new bills, which will be released incrementally beginning with the twenty-dollar bill.
The new bills will prominently feature women throughout American history, though not on the front of the bills. Tubman will be the face of the twenty-dollar note, while the ten and five-dollar bills retain their current front portraits of Alexander Hamilton and President Lincoln, respectively. The rear of the ten-dollar bill will feature several women in a celebration of the women’s suffrage movement: Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul will all be featured with the Treasury Building. The theme of the five-dollar note is described as, “honor[ing] historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in service of our democracy,” according to the Modern Money website.
Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King Jr. will all be on the rear of the five-dollar note. The Treasury claims to have instituted these changes after listening to the feedback of the American people.
The site Modern Money says, “America’s currency is a statement about who we are as a nation. Our modern money honors our history and celebrates our values.”
Tubman was born into slavery around 1820 as Araminta Harriet Ross, a child of two slaves. She endured the hardships of slavery throughout her life. As a child, Tubman was whipped and bore the scars the remainder of her life. She suffered one of her worst injuries after refusing to help subdue a slave—the slaveholder threw a weight at the renegade slave and missed, hitting her in the head instead. She would contend with seizures, bouts of narcolepsy and headaches for the rest of her life, symptoms which would plague her as she led other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Tubman also served as an armed scout during the Civil War; described as a slight woman, she helped release an estimated 700 slaves during the Combahee River Raid. With the passing of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1850, allowing the retrieval of escaped slaves in the United States, she helped slaves escape north to Canada, gaining the moniker “Moses,” according to several sources including PBS.com.
Tubman is considered one of the greatest abolitionists in American history.