About a year ago, we told you about the Women on 20s petition to include women on American currency. Their petition to put abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill was delivered to the White House Council on Women and Girls and to the office of U.S. Treasurer in May 2015. Yesterday, it was announced that the black woman who escaped slavery and freed over 70 other would indeed be the first woman to appear on a bill.
Tubman will appear on the front of the $20 bill, moving former slaveholder and president, Andrew Jackson, to the back of the bill. In an open letter published yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew shared his thoughts about the decision and the response from citizens across the country.
“The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old. I have been particularly struck by the many comments and reactions from children for whom Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy. You shared your thoughts about her life and her works and how they changed our nation and represented our most cherished values.”
Lew called Tubman’s story “the essential story of American democracy”. He also shared about plans to modify the $10 bill to honor other female heroes.
“The new $10 will honor the story and the heroes of the women’s suffrage movement against the backdrop of the Treasury building. Treasury’s relationship with the suffrage movement dates back to the March of 1913, when advocates came together on the steps of the Treasury building to demonstrate for a woman’s right to vote, seven years prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment. The new $10 design will depict that historic march and honor Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul for their contributions to the suffrage movement. The front of the new $10 will continue to feature Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s first Treasury Secretary and the architect of our economic system.”
Read Lew’s letter in it’s entirety here.
The currency overhaul won’t happen overnight though. The new $10 bill is expected to be released in 2020, while the new $20 bill isn’t expected to be issued until 2030. For more info you can hit up the Treasury’s website.