Harriet Tubman Replaces Andrew Jackson On $20
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Politics and Activism

Harriet Tubman Replaces Andrew Jackson On $20

The first major changes in American currency for nearly a century have occurred.

Harriet Tubman Replaces Andrew Jackson On $20

This past week featured a historical moment for America when the decision was made to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The irony is lost on none as the former slave replaces the slaveholder on the American currency. This is a giant leap forward in America, since Tubman will not only be the first African-American on common American currency, but also the first female African-American.

The New York Timesexplains how this will be the first “makeover” of American currency in over a century. Frankly, I was surprised to hear the news considering that the racial inequity of American currency wasn’t even on my radar. While the addition of Tubman is a great leap forward for America, the changes in currency have not stopped there. The original intent was to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, but the success of the Broadway Rap musical, “Hamilton,” allowed the American figure to be spared.

However, while Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 bill and Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, the backs of both bills will have several historical figures added. Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton will be among those women added to the back of the $10 bill. While Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Marian Anderson will be added to the back of the $5 bill. Images of a women’s suffragist movement from 1913 will also be added to the back of the $10 bill, while the back of the $5 bill will add an image from the 1939 performance of African-American singer, Marian Anderson.

The replacement of a figure such as Jackson is a large step forward for American progressivism. While Jackson is often remembered as an American hero, he is also remembered for his role in the Trail of Tears, which forced Cherokee, Seminole, Muscogee and other Native American tribes from their ancestral homes in Southeast America to be relocated west of the Mississippi. More than 10,000 Native Americans died on this forced movement and Jackson supported it the entire time.

While many of the historical American figures have negative connotations attached to them, the replacement of Jackson with the famous figure of Tubman is a great step forward in incorporating both women and people of color into American currency. Additionally, the decision to include so many civil rights and women’s rights figures shows that the change in currency is growing. Many oppose the replacement of Jackson, but that is unavoidable when a decision such as this is made. More changes in American currency are likely to come as mindsets evolve.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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