By Shakora Bamberg
- Biden Administration picks up Obama-era initiative to put Harriet Tubman’s face on the U.S. $20 bill
- The former administration said that currency notes with new imagery could not be put into circulation until 2028
The Biden Administration announced its plan to return to an Obama-era initiative to put Harriet Tubman’s face on the U.S. $20 bill. Her image would replace Andrew Jackson, the notoriously racist President, known both for owning hundreds of slaves and for his brutal and genocidal policy of Native American removal. What better time in history then now, to witness greatness displayed on our country’s currency?
Why This Matters: The decision to have Tubman replace Jackson on the face of the $20 bill began in 2016 by the Treasury secretary at the time, Jacob Lew. President Donald Trump opposed the idea, and his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stopped work on that part of the currency redesign, arguing that adding new security features to the money was a more urgent priority. Mnuchin said that currency notes with new imagery could not be put into circulation until 2028, and that a future Treasury Secretary would make the call whether to replace Jackson.
It’s important that our money reflects the history and diversity of our country
Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to accelerate the timeline set forth by the previous administration. However, a statue of Jackson would remain on the back of the bill, while Harriet Tubman would grace the front. Many Americans, across the country are excited about this tribute to Tubman. They view it as progress and a long overdue disruption of the American Founding Fathers narrative.
What’s Next: “The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” said Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “It’s important that our money reflects the history and diversity of our country.” She did not confirm a time frame on when a new design of the $20 bill might be released.
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