Harriet Tubman on the $20- A step in the right direction
Harriet Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill and it is a big deal. Quite frankly, it should not have taken this long to recognize the other half of the population who helped shaped this country in so many important ways. But alas, here we are, and in 2020, we will finally have a revolutionary woman on our paper currency.
Taking a step back, let’s look at the history of currency in the United States. In the 1860s Pocahontas was featured on a $20 bill and in the 1880s and 1890s Martha Washington was on the $1 silver certificate. Sacagawea is featured on dollar coins, however due to the lack of popularity and low business demand for dollar coins, it has not been released for general circulation since 2012. Let’s be honest, putting a woman on a coin that doesn’t even get distributed (or on a $2 bill that some people don’t even know exist) is nowhere near giving these women the recognition they deserve. When the movement to put a woman on U.S. paper currency started last year by Women on 20s, there were some wonderful names considered, including Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. Harriet Tubman won the majority of votes and the Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew announced this week that she will be on the future $20 bill.
In a society where women’s work isn’t as valued as a man’s – especially if you’re a woman of color (hello, wage gap!), it is invigorating to see that Harriet Tubman is being recognized not only as an inspirational woman, but also as a strong American who put her life on the line for what she knew was right. Unfortunately the United States is a bit behind the times when it comes to recognizing the value women have in our society. We are not the first country to have a woman on paper currency. Countries like England, Australia, Turkey and Argentina already have at least one woman honored on their national currency. Harriet Tubman was a woman who saved many lives and later in her life was an activist for women’s suffrage until she died in 1913. She should be recognized not only as having helped change history, but also as a woman who left a legacy of the good we are all capable of doing. She was a true American. Personally, I am proud of the United States for taking this step, and of the strong, brave people who make up our nation.
By Lorena Crespo Morgan, UConn MSW Intern at 22 Apr 2016, 11:24 AM
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