President Trump, Harriet Tubman and the $20 by Michael Burch

Last year there was ANOTHER campaign going on that many of us missed. That campaign was the effort to get a woman on the face of the 20-dollar bill, championed by an organization called, “Women on 20s.” They succeeded in getting approval for Harriet Tubman to replace the image of Andrew Jackson, a known slave trader and architect of the “Trail of Tears” which forcibly removed native Americans from their ancestral lands, on the 20-dollar Bill. If all this comes to be, Tubman would be the first African American to be placed on American trading currency, a major accomplishment considering she was born a slave.

Her story is a testament of a true American hero who escaped from slavery in 1849 to come to Philadelphia. She returned to the south many times to lead other escaped slaves to freedom via the underground railroad. She was a freedom fighter and spy for the union army during the civil war. It is very appropriate that she replace the image of Andrew Jackson.

In the online voting petition, more than 600,000 votes were cast to choose what historically famous woman would replace Jackson on the $20. Harriett Tubman came out with the most votes followed by Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks. The prospect of the new bills has been received mostly favorably by the public at large, they’ve even begun calling them by a nickname “Tubmans”. But the new bills are not even in circulation yet, and are not planned to be released until sometime after 2020. This late issuance of the Tubman bills brings into question if we will ever see them.

All of the preliminary work to bring Harriet Tubman to the 20-dollar bill was taken under the Obama administration and now in the era of Donald Trump, one has to wonder, will we ever see a Tubman?

Trump has expressed his adulation for Andrew Jackson in the past and he has a portrait of the seventh president in his oval office.

Last year when word was announced by then Secretary of the Treasury John Lew that Tubman would replace Jackson Trump remarked, “Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” He later went on to say “I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”

Both Ben Carson and Donald Trump have suggested perhaps the 2-dollar bill would be more appropriate for Harriett Tubman. The 2-dollar bill was never a popular currency and its last production run was in 2013. With these kinds of comments coming from the new president, only time will tell if we will truly see Harriet Tubman on the 20-dollar bill.



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