Harriet Tubman Is Clear Choice to Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20
A group of campaigners wants to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman and they think they’ve got enough support to do it, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The group, Women On 20s, has been organizing a months-long campaign that has garnered more than 600,000 votes to get a woman on the $20. Their choice is Tubman, the legendary conductor of the Underground Railroad who led more than 300 enslaved people to freedom. Former first lady and human rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights figure Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation were finalists in the group’s campaign.
“Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history,” Women on 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone told The Post in an e-mailed statement. “Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.”
The campaign, which started earlier this year, has even inspired several bills in the House and Senate.
Though Women On 20s plans on petitioning the White House, it is the U.S. Treasury Department that has the final say in whose face appears on U.S. currency. The last portrait change for paper currency took place during the 1920s when Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland on the $20.
President Barack Obama has said that he is open to the idea of a woman being on U.S. currency in a July speech in Kansas City.
"Last week, a young girl wrote to me to ask why aren't there any women on our currency," President Obama said in the speech. "And then she gave me a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff -- which I thought was a pretty good idea."
The idea of placing Tubman on the $20 is gaining currency, so to speak, but some have pointed out the irony of putting an abolitionist leader on such an obvious symbol of capitalism.