Harriet Tubman is to replace President Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20 bill, therefore becoming the first African-American person ever to be printed on a US currency. In addition, this will mark an all-times first for an African-American woman to appear on U.S. paper money in the last century.
The decision was announced by the Secretary of Treasury Jacob J. Lew, who also stated that Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be honored on the back of the $5 bill, along Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Change is not the only reason
The new designs of the $5, $10 and $20 bills (the $10 bill featuring leaders who worked towards woman’s voting rights) are to be released on 2020. Which will be hold on behalf of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the one allowing women’s right for suffrage.
Harriet Tubman was chosen thanks to the enormous support she has earned throughout these past years, according to Jacob J. Lew. He stated that Tubman personifies “a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy.”
“Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals and democracy that our nation celebrates.” – U.S. Secretary of Treasure Jacob J. Lew.
According to journalist Yoni Appelbaum (@Yappelbaum), the $20 bill is of special significance for Tubman’s legacy. Appelbaum claims that biographer Sarah Hopkins Bradford wrote on Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. On this performance, Tubman staged a hunger strike in order to gather funds and rescue her parents, who were still held as slaves in Maryland. She argued that “The Lord” had told her to go and get the twenty dollars she needed.
Tubman is known for being one of the most important abolitionists in the history of the United States. She was born a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland, being severely abused by her owners in many different ways. Besides leading dozens of slaves to freedom, for what she was nicknamed “Moses,” she worked for the Union Army as a nurse, but eventually she took up arms and worked as a scout and a spy. The famous raid at Combahee Ferry was led by her, an operation where she managed to free over 700 slaves. She also worked towards allowing women’s suffrage.
According to the book published in 1869, Harriet Tubman fell asleep after several hours, and the people that were in the proximity had heard her protest and proceeded to place a total of $60 in her pockets. She then traveled back down to Maryland and managed to free her father of being a slave.