By C.N. Staff Writer
In late April the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that the nations first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 bill and Tubman will replace another former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill.
Last summer Lew formally announced an array of design changes to America’s currency, largely geared toward honoring the contribution of women in the country’s history. Lew said, “Our currency will now tell more of our story.” In a statement, the Treasury also announced that the new $20 dollar note would keep an image of Jackson, on the back.
The new $10 bill will keep Hamilton on the front but in the back feature “an image of the historic march for suffrage that ended on the steps of the Treasury Department.” Leaders of that movement — Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul — will be honored in the image.
The Treasury also said that a new $5 bill will honor two important American events that happened at the Lincoln Memorial: Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance on the steps and Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Treasury had previously said a new $10 bill would feature a woman, but the popularity of the Broadway show Hamilton might have helped put a stop to that plan. Fans of Hamilton said it was important to keep his image because he helped create the Treasury Department and the modern American financial system. Instead Hamilton supporters suggested the removal of Jackson off the $20 bill citing his role in moving Native Americans off their land and being a former slaveholder.
It was reported that new designs for the currency should be ready by 2020, in time for the centennial of woman’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Treasury is likely to ask the Federal Reserve, which makes the final decision, to speed the process and get the bills into circulation as quickly as possible.
Harriet Tubman was a Civil War-era abolitionist who was born a slave in Maryland’s Dorchester County in the early 1820s. After marrying a free man she escaped to freedom to the North. During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. She proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
The two Congressional leaders who led the movement to get Tubman on currency, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.), penned an open letter to Lew saying, “There is still more to be done when it comes to gender equality. These two representatives lead a group of 64 lawmakers in making the official request.
Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton weighted in on Twitter with their thoughts about Tubman being featured on the bill. Sanders said, “I cannot think of an American hero more deserving of this honor than Harriet Tubman.” Clinton said, “A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman.”