Should Harriet Tubman be the replacement for Jackson on the $20?
A group that wants to kick Andrew Jackson off of the $20 bill and replace him with a woman has, after months of collecting votes, chosen a successor: Harriet Tubman.
Tubman, an abolitionist who is remembered most for her role as a conductor in the “Underground Railroad,” was one of four finalists for the nod from a group of campaigners calling themselves “Women on 20s.” The campaign started earlier this year and has since inspired bills in the House and the Senate.
The other three finalists were former first lady and human rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights figure Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. Now that voters participating in the campaign have chosen Tubman, the Women on 20’s group will bring a petition with the choice to the White House.
“Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history,” Women On 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone said in an e-mailed statement. “Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.”
In all, the group said, it has collected more than 600,000 votes for its campaign.
Of course, even if the government agrees that it’s time to replace Andrew Jackson on the bill, its choice might not end up being Tubman. But the idea of putting a woman on America’s paper currency has attracted some notable support.
“Last week, a young girl wrote to me to ask why aren’t there any women on our currency,” Obama said in a July speech in Kansas City, before the launch of the voting campaign. “And then she gave me a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea.”
Although the campaign plans on petitioning the White House, it is the Treasury Department that ultimately makes decisions on which bills feature which portraits. The last overhaul of paper money portraits by the department was in the 1920’s, when Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland on the $20.