Harriet Tubman to Replace Andrew Jackson on Twenty Dollar Bill?

T he twenty dollar bill of the United States could undergo a facelift by as soon as the year 2020, as the portrait of Harriet Tubman is slated to replace the one of Andrew Jackson; and the portrait of Alexander Hamilton — which was originally going to be replaced by a woman — will remain on the ten dollar bill, according to this article written by Ben White of Politico.

Jack Lew — who is the current secretary of the Department of Treasury of the United States — is expected to roll out a set of changes which also includes “putting leaders of the women’s suffrage movement on the back of the $10 bill, and incorporating civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history into the $5 bill. Also, Jackson isn’t getting completely booted off the $20 bill. He’s likely to remain on the back.”

This is in response to harsh criticism when the original plan was to replace the portrait of Alexander Hamilton — who was instrumental in creating the Department of Treasury of the United States; as well as the modern financial system in the United States — with a portrait of a woman yet to be named on the ten dollar bill.

Just last week, the guide who led the tour on which I participated at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington said that the portrait of Alexander Hamilton will be replaced by a woman; but of course that was disclaimed with the statement “I know as much as you do.” I intend to post an article pertaining to my experience of that tour in the near future.

Harriet Tubman to Replace Andrew Jackson on Twenty Dollar Bill?

Andrew Jackson was called a “scoundrel, a slave holder and a white supremacist who was involved in the removal of Indians and was completely opposed to paper money and was horrible to women” by Kari Winter — who is the director of the gender institute at the University at Buffalo — according to the aforementioned article. Because the seventh president of the United States had a role in forcing people native to North America off of their land, the decision to remove his portrait — which currently adorns the front of the twenty dollar bill — has been given recent consideration and has been gaining popularity.

Harriet Tubman — originally born as a slave named Araminta Ross — was an abolitionist and humanitarian during the era of the civil war of the United States and is considered a heroine by many people. She helped many slaves escape to freedom through a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad by activists who opposed slavery.

“The movement to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill gathered strength after the Broadway musical named after the former Treasury Secretary and founding father became a smash hit”, according to White in the aforementioned article. “‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda even directly lobbied Lew last month on Hamilton’s behalf, after which Miranda said Lew told him ‘you’re going to be very happy’ with the redesign plan.”


I am wondering if all of this hoopla over whose portrait is on what currency is really worth the cost, time and effort, as I am of the camp of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” when it comes to the current currency being used in the United States…

…but if any portraits of any currency should be replaced, who do you believe should be out and who should be in?

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

10 thoughts on “Harriet Tubman to Replace Andrew Jackson on Twenty Dollar Bill?”

  1. Darin says:

    I am wondering if all of this hoopla over whose portrait is on what currency is really worth the cost, time and effort, as I am of the camp of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” when it comes to the current currency being used in the United States…

    Of course you are. You are a white male. Our currency is certainly not reflective of our country or its history. In essence, it is already broke.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for the veiled accusation of racism on my part, Darin.

    2. Krys says:

      Very well said Darin.

  2. Darin says:

    As a follow up, the currency is being redesigned anyway to incorporate new security features. Its not as if this is happening only to put someone else on the front.

  3. DaninMCI says:

    I read details about this yesterday. The complaint I have is that she wasn’t a President. It shouldn’t take 14 years to do this under the excuse of security measures and it also smacks of white guilt. It is such a waste of time. Like you said if it isn’t broken, why are we fixing it?
    I guess it will go well with some gangsta rap lyrics: “Yo, Yo, Yo I need me some Harriet’s in my pants…”

    1. RIch says:

      If the complaint you have is that Tubman wasn’t a President, do you think that Franklin doesn’t belong on the hundred, or Hamilton on the ten?

  4. Ben says:

    I think your question is valid, and well posed. Unfortunately there cannot be conversation, only accusations.
    My personal opinions, and as I am a white male myself, Darin please feel free to entirely disregard them:
    1. Reading historical behaviour using current values is not fair to prior generations. Think of how public opinion on gay marriage evolved in the last 10 years. Many things we strongly believe in may be seen dramatically differently in 100+ years
    2. A lot of these symbolic gestures do not accomplish much, but they allow a lot of people to feel good about themselves by jumping last minute on the bandwagon of the trendy cause of the day. There are actual problems this country faces, not sure this would crack the top 100

  5. moishe says:

    Darin is insane , you arent white , and this is just race baiting and we shouldnt pay attention

  6. Ramsey says:

    Brian, I was hoping for Oprah Winfrey to get on the $10 bill………………………….devastated

  7. Paul Glover says:

    The first paper money in the United States featuring an African-American woman is the 1994 Ithaca HOUR ($10 bill) honoring Beverly Martin, lifelong local educator in Ithaca, NY. http://www.paulglover.org/hourcurrency.html

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