Anti-Slavery, Harriet Tubman to Replace Face of Andrew Jackson On $20 Bill
Civil rights activist Harriet Tubman will replace slaveholding former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, becoming the first African-American woman to be featured on the face of U.S. paper currency in more than a century.
The U.S. Treasury will announce the changes on Wednesday, spokesman Rob Runyan said in a phone interview. He declined to elaborate.
The decision to replace Jackson, a slaveowner, with Tubman, who was born a slave and went on to become an anti-slavery crusader, follows months of public outreach by the Treasury Department regarding which woman should be featured on a bill.
The department had announced in June that it would feature a woman on the $10 bill in place of former U.S. president Alexander Hamilton. But Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 bill while a group of women will grace the back of it, media outlets reported on Wednesday.
Changes will also be made to the $5 bill to depict civil rights era leaders, reports said.
In part prompted by a young girl’s letter to President Barack Obama about the lack of women on U.S. currency, a social media campaign “Women on 20s” began pushing for a woman to replace Jackson on the currency early last year.
On Wednesday, the movement’s leaders said they were “ready to claim victory” but only if the new bill is issued by 2020, in time to mark the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
“What was to be a celebration of female American heroes … cannot be postponed,” group founder Barbara Ortiz Howard said in a statement.
Treasury’s Runyan said he could not say when the new bill would be introduced.
The women last depicted on U.S. bills were former first lady Martha Washington, on the $1 silver certificate from 1891 to 1896, and Native American Pocahontas, in a group photo on the $20 bill from 1865 to 1869.
Harriet Tubman became the top-trending hashtag on Twitter shortly after the news broke, with more than 100,000 tweets and mentions online.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) tweeted, “Having #HarrietTubman on the new $20 bill is a #milestone for our nation, a powerful acknowledgment of great #women and #AfricanAmericans.”
Other users applauded Treasury’s decision to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill, which is a decision many say was because of the popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton,” created by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Actress Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) tweeted Miranda on Wednesday stating, “@Lin_Manuel First you win a Pulitzer, now you’re affecting US currency. Get some rest!”