Harriet Tubman Will Be the Face of the Future $20 Bill -- Poetic Justice Is Served

Harriet Tubman, 20 dollar bill

There's been talk of giving our money a face-lift for quite some time now. Many have questioned who would replace the presidential faces framed on our bills, nominating a handful of American women more than deserving of the spot. With 600,000 votes, Harriet Tubman emerged the winning replacement. But she wasn't automatically cast for a spot on the $20 bill -- as the Women on 20s organization hoped for -- and had to settle for a tentative spot on the $10 bill, where Alexander Hamilton currently sits. However, it was just revealed that Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has had a change of heart and Tubman will, in fact, replace Andrew Jackson on the coveted $20 bill.

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This wasn't an automatic upgrade, though. Before deciding to put her on the 20, Lew had decided to renege his decision to put her on the 10, telling POLITCO, "We're not taking Alexander Hamilton off our currency." That sentiment got an unexpected boost from the Hamilton play -- and has perhaps prompted the sudden (and unexpected) change. 

Representative Luis Gutierrez (responsible for the "Put a Woman on the Twenty" Act in Congress) was rightfully excited about the decision, teasing in a statement, "...finally it sounds like Secretary Lew is putting our money where his mouth is."

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Call it a win by default or whatever you please, but we'll take it. This is a monumental moment in history for feminists and African-Americans alike. 

As many know, Harriet Tubman was an anti-slavery activist who led the Underground Railroad, a route that served to lead slaves to freedom. What many don't know is a story told by Tubman's first biographer, Sarah Hopkins Bradford, about the time she demanded $20 -- making this all the more an honor. 

As for the current face of the bill: Andrew Jackson, our seventh US president, enslaved many African-Americans throughout his lifetime -- not to mention there was his role in the "Trail of Tears," the unfortunate result of his Indian Removal Act of 1830 that forced Native Americans out of their homes. One might say bumping Jackson to the back of the bill is an act of ironic justice. 

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The redesign of the bills will be released in 2020 from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This will mark the 100th anniversary of both women's suffrage and the 19th amendment of the constitution.

Furthermore, there will be more tributes made to women and the civil rights era in the design of the bills. However, none of the redesigns will actually begin to circulate until the next decade, although they're pushing to have it done as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, it all seems quite poetic and a great reminder of where we came from and where we continue to go -- bringing a genuine sense of truth to the "United" States of America. 


Image via Corbis

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