Harriet Tubman to be first woman and African American to appear on U.S. currency

Tubman will soon replace Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018


Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will replace former president Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill by the year 2020 as a part of currency changes.

United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced earlier this month anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will officially replace former president Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill, according to an article from the Huffington Post.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury reached this decision after several months of meetings and online surveys, including a 10-week poll conducted by the nonprofit organization Women on 20s.

“We heard from a lot of people who had different ideas about what should go on which bill, what should go on the front, what should be on the back,” Lew said to the Huffington Post. “We’ve taken the view that, A: We couldn’t wait, and B: The next bill that comes out has to tell a powerful story.”

Tubman beat out contenders such as Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt for a place on the $20 bill. The Washington Post reported Lew initially wanted to remove Hamilton from the $10 bill as well, replacing him with women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony.

However, Lew explained to the Huffington Post that although the Treasury decided Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front, leaders of the women’s suffrage movement will be featured on the back of the $10 bill.

The updated designs for the bills are expected to be released by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.

Additionally, the Huffington Post said the new design for the $5 bill will showcase historical events such as Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., while Abraham Lincoln will stay on the front of the bill.

These changes to our currency are absolutely necessary. I will never understand why Andrew Jackson, slaveholder and perpetrator of the Trail of Tears, was ever on our currency in the first place. He should have been kicked off the $20 bill a long time ago.

I could not be happier about his replacement. Harriet Tubman deserves to be on the face of every dollar bill and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that. She literally saved hundreds of lives.

Just watch her episode of Drunk History and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Not everyone is as enthused by this change as I am. In fact, some Americans are downright outraged.

Just the other day, my roommate showed me a Facebook status written by someone he went to high school with that said: “If Harriet Tubman gets put on the 20, I’m out lol.”

What in the world does that mean? Is this person going to boycott U.S. currency altogether? Is he just going to stop using money if, God forbid, he has to look at a black woman every time he wants to buy something?

Seriously kid, get over yourself.

This much needed change to our currency is only a small step on the treacherous journey towards demolishing the idea that rich, white men are the only people who matter. But hey, we’re making progress.