Harriet Tubman $20 bill? ‘Bout time

By John Paul Coronado


There is a great change coming within the Federal Reserve.

African-American civil rights activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, on the front of the $20 bill by 2020 — the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote.

“United States currency should reflect the history of women and their work to help build the American democracy,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said of the bill.

Tubman was born Araminta Ross, a slave, in Maryland in 1820. She, however, escaped from slavery in 1849 and fled to Canada to be free. Tubman became known as an abolitionist before the American Civil War and helped many slaves escape from the south through the Underground Railroad.

Dominique Morales, a freshman at the University of the Incarnate Word, said she was stunned by the news about the Tubman bill.

“I cannot believe that this change is happening,” Morales said. “She [Tubman] helped free troubled slaves. Tubman wanted freedom, not only for herself, but also for her fellow African-Americans. Harriet truly deserves this great honor of being on the $20 bill.”

Jackson’s image will remain on the $20 bill but it will be moved to the back in a much smaller image near the existing White House image.

The change of the $20 bill is just the first. Soon the $10 and $5 bill will see some changes as well. On the back of the $10 bill, the women’s suffrage movement will be paid tribute to by featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth, some of the women whose work led to the 19th Amendment.

When the idea was first proposed for the $10 bill, the image of founding father Alexander Hamilton – the first secretary of the treasury — was intended to be replaced. However, after the Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was released it received enormous popularity. Many believe it would not be a great decision to deface him.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, will stay on the $5 bill, but slight changes will be made to the back. Events such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech, which took place at the Lincoln Memorial will be depicted on the back of the bill.

UIW junior Joshua Adam Marroquin said he supports the move to highlight women on U.S. currency.

“This change was a great idea,” Marroquin said. “It will motivate our current and future generations of women to come. I think it will give a sense of realism to the younger girls to see women can be just as strong and powerful as men.”


E-mail Coronado at jocorona@student.uiwtx.edu


Leave a Reply