The Fight to Put a Woman on the $20 Bill ... We're Thinking Lucille Ball

Times have changed since Andrew Jackson, George Washington, and other influential and powerful men in wigs ruled the roost. An organization called Women on 20s is eager to prove that by making a major change: they're asking Obama to pass a bill that would replace the seventh president of the United States, whose portrait has appeared on the $20 bill since 1928, with one of a famous woman. And we have some great ideas for them.

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Before we hear the battle cry of a thousand traditionalists who are going to slam the group for trying to rewrite history: it's been done before. In the 20s, Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland as the face of the $20 bill and no one has a darn clue why. Reason #1 why this is a totally American thing to do.

Listen, Jackson was no friend to the Native American population, and his "spoils system" did zero to improve the goverment's system of checks and balances, but he wasn't the worst president we ever had. It's really not about him. It's just that, someone is going to have to go and it isn't going to be Washington or Lincoln.

So, bye bye, Jackson—hello, far more worthy female leader!

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W20 has already suggested 15 fantastic candidates (and you can cast your ballot on their page), including Rosa Parks, Betty Friedan, and Susan B. Anthony. We'd like to add 10 more to the list of potential $20 stars:

Margaret Brent: Women weren't given the right to vote until 1920, but in the 1600s, this courageous lady wasn't afraid to appear before the assembly in Baltimore and ask for the right to vote. She didn't marry, but still insisted on becoming one of Maryland's largest landowners. At a time when "feminist" has become a dirty word, Brent reminds us that it was and is an honor to be considered as such.

Hattie McDonald: Hattie was the first African American woman to win an Oscar award for her work in Gone With the Wind, but after she accepted her honor, she was actually forced to sit at a segregated table. It's time to give Ms. McDonald her due respect.

Georgia O'Keeffe: O'Keeffe is more than just an artist. She broke gender barriers with her powerful paintings and became a legend, despite being surrounded by mostly male painters and curators—most of whom didn't make things any easier for her. And no other artist has managed to make a flower so shocking.

Lucille Ball: With the incredible success of I Love Lucy, Ball showed the world that women are funny. Women have personalities and desires and strength. And, most importantly, women can carry one of the most memorable TV shows of all time on their own backs and, just for good measure, be the first woman to run the whole damn television studio.

Grace Hopper: Hopper was a computer programmer who joined the Navy after D-day and rose up the ranks to become an admiral. She had bravery and smarts in spades.

Harper Lee: A great many of us continue to have our eyes pried opened to the reality of racism when we're in junior high—thanks to Lee's 1960 masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird. She fearlessly criticized her Alabama home town and was so cool she even assisted Truman Capote in performing research for In Cold Blood. At 88, after surviving a stroke that nearly left her blind and deaf, she announced plans to write another novel. That's gutsy.

Rachel Carson: We're all aware of the dangers of eating food laden with pesticides and we have Carson to thank for that. In 1982, she wrote an environmental science book called Silent Spring that revealed the harmful things chemical companies were doing to the environment, including hurting birds and other animals and filling our foods with pesticides. 

Sally Ride: There isn't an '80s kid in the country who didn't grow up dreaming of becoming Sally Ride, who in 1983 became the first American woman—and the youngest, at 32—to travel to space. What made her truly remarkable: she had to field questions about whether space would affect her reproductive health without rolling her eyes.

Katharine Graham: Sure, Graham was born into wealth and privilege. But, during her two-decade reign as head honcho at The Washington Post, she proved she couldn't be influenced by anyone and anything. When Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein brought their notes to her about Nixon's Watergate scandal, she encouraged them and published articles that led to his fall.

Oprah Winfrey: Yep, I said it. But, come on, was I the only one thinking it? Oprah was born into poverty and raised by a teenage single mother. She worked at local TV stations and proved she didn't believe any job was too small for her. She has acted in great films, written books, developed a successful magazine at a time when few people still read magazines, and created a satellite radio program. She is a goddess and an inspiration to women and men.

Do you think Andrew Jackson should be replaced with a famous woman? Who would you like to see on your $20 bill?


Image via stockmonkeys.com

 

 

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