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On The Money

April 21st, 2016
Harriet Tubman via Wikimedia Commons/public domain

Harriet Tubman via Wikimedia Commons/public domain

For a while now, there’s been outrage that there is not one woman on America’s paper money and there’s been an ongoing campaign to change that.

If there was one though … then who?

After much debate and discussion, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, announced Wednesday that Harriet Tubman will be the face of the newly designed $20 bill.

Many people are celebrating this as a great choice.

Harriet Tubman had escaped slavery, helped hundreds of others escape slavery as well, and was a leading figure in the movement to abolish slavery.

She lived from 1820-1913.

Ms. Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson who is currently on the $20 bill. Jackson was the seventh president of the United States. He has a complicated legacy (and that’s being kind). He was also a slave owner — so for many people this feels like a kind of historical payback. He’s moving to the back of the $20 bill.


Originally, it was founding father and America’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, on the $10 bill, who was slated to be replaced. But an incredibly popular Broadway show about Hamilton as “the ten-dollar founding father without a father who got a lot farther by working a lot harder, by being a lot smarter …” played a big role in keeping him there.

There are other changes too.

The back of the $10 bill will feature women suffragists (the word “suffrage” means the right to vote in elections). Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and Sojouner Truth will all be featured. Women were finally given the right to vote in 1920.

The back of the $5 will also newly feature historic events, in this case ones that took place at the Lincoln Memorial. It will feature opera singer Marian Anderson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You might have to wait until 2020 for the new bills to be in your pockets. Some critics are wondering why the wait? … it doesn’t make cents. 🙂

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