Last June, The Secretary of Treasure, Jacob “Jack” Lew announced a plan to feature a woman on the $10 note, in the hopes that he could “encourage a national conversation about women in our democracy.” Lew’s announcement did just that.
Since Treasury Lew announced his idea to America, a campaign known as Women on 20’s quickly backed the big changes coming to American money and gained thousands of supporters.
After 10 months of roundhouse discussions and countless recommendations, the US Department of Treasury has decided that Harriet Tubman will be the face of the $20 bill. President Jackson who was formally on the front of the note will be found on the backside. The decision was made official on April 20, in Secretary Lew’s letter to the American people.
When Lew’s official letter was released, countless conversations on social media and other platforms took off. Everybody from news anchors to college students expressed their feelings on the monumental change.
Millennial feminist, Alyssa Wilbert took to social media to share her frustration about Jackson’s replacement. She expressed that slaves never had access to the US currency that “was used as a mode for the oppression of women and the perpetuation institutionalized racism.” in a Facebook post, Wilbert summarized her post, adding that she felt “putting Tubman on American currency flat out doesn’t make sense.”
Dr. Ben Carson, former republican presidential candidate wrote an opinion article, Harriet Tubman Has a Legacy Worth Upholding expressing his disapproval for the face swap.
“Harriet Tubman would likely be turning over in her grave if she knew she would be the new face of American debt slavery. She would revile the cheap trick being pulled on African Americans in getting them to support this nearly bankrupt symbol of American debt. It is amazing how, just as the currency dwindles down to near worthlessness – all of a sudden the Government wants to invoke Harriet Tubman as a symbol on the twenty dollar bill.” He wrote.
Carson feels the freedom fighter should not be directly linked to the endless slave battle that today’s American people face-debt.
Fox News anchor, Greta Van Susteren, expressed her disapproval of the big change in an “off the record” video during her show On The Record with Greta Van Susteren. She stated, “They (the Obama administration) went stupid again by booting Jackson off the bill.” Susteren predicts that the decision will cause an “unnecessary divide” between American people that are happy with the the seventh president being the face of the $20 bill and those who want to honor a woman. She proposed that the Obama Administration create a $25 bill to honor Tubman.
On an episode of her show, Full Frontal, Samantha Bee, American-Canadian comedian blatantly disagreed with Susteren. Bee doesn’t understand how the change could spark any controversy. “Yes! Finally a black woman making a white man move to the back … He (Andrew Jackson) was a genocidal (censored word) who forced the relocation of non-whites and fulminated populous rebellion.” she said. Bee continued jabs at President Jackson, comparing Jackson to “Trump with better hair.”
Andrew Jackson is referred to as a genocidal man because on top of being a known slave owner, he passed The Indian Removal Act of 1830.
According to the library of congress, this act allowed the president to “grant unsettled lands (for replacement of the Native American tribes) west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. A few tribes went peacefully, but many (Native American Tribes) resisted the relocation policy.” The resistance led to The Trail of Tears which notoriously claimed the lives of 4,000 Native Americans. This could have been the key reason why Jackson was nixed from the $20 opposed to Hamilton on the $10 bill as Lew originally planned.
While supporters of the Women on 20’s campaign agree that crowning Tubman as the face of the twenty is historic, they’re not completely satisfied. In a press release, the group stated that “the promise of replacing the slave trading, Indian killing Jackson with a woman on the $20 fifteen years down the road is not the suffrage centennial celebration we were looking for.”
With the negative backlash that Jackson is getting, it may be confusing as to why he is still being featured on the $20 bill. Despite all the talk, America’s 7th president isn’t only known for his failures. Biography.com says that he is “known for founding the Democratic Party and for his support of individual liberty” earning him the title of the “People’s President.”
According to Politico, Treasury Lew said Alexander Hamilton would be replaced simply because it was the next bill up for remodeling. Lew received backlash from Hamilton fans after he publicly announced his plan especially after the broadway show, Hamilton hit New York. The support for Hamilton is likely what led to him remaining on his throne as the face of the $10 bill.
The backside of the new ten will honor Women. Modern Money stated that Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott who helped pass The 19th Amendment will also be included the new design.
Although Lincoln will remain on the front the $5 bill, the note will receive a makeover as well. “The bill will highlight historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial.”-Modern Money. By 2020, the back of the bill is set to pay respect to Dr. Martin Luther King’s who gave his I have a Dream speech there. Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt are also expected to be on the new bill.
The Women on 20’s stated that keeping Hamilton and Lincoln on the front of the $5 and $10 notes are “teaching a generation of schoolchildren that women don’t have the same shot as men.” Making it clear that they feel being pushed to the back of the bill is unacceptable.
The drastic design changes are a huge step for America’s war against gender inequality. The supporters of Women on 20’s will continue to fight until all of the American bills honor the three ideas listed on their website.
- Commemoration of the inclusion of women in the American democracy and as full citizens in 1920 on a redesigned $20 dedicated to women’s history in this country.
- Recognition of the contributions of women to our country.
- Removal of symbols of hate, intolerance and inequality to enable equality that will bring forth the full potential of all people regardless of gender, race ,ethnicity, sexual preference or identity.
An official layout of Tubman’s $20 bill has not yet been released, but many ideas have surfaced online.