Okay, So Harriet Tubman Might End Up on the $20 Bill After All

Screenshot: CNN Business Video (YouTube)

Remember when Harriet Tubman was supposed to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill? If you don’t, I don’t blame you—since the Trump administration seemed to forget too. So here’s a quick refresher.

The idea was originally proposed by the Obama administration in 2016, with the announcement that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing would be working with the Federal Reserve to “accelerate work on the new $20" in order to circulate the bill “as quickly as possible.”

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Then Trump somehow got elected into office, and predictably, after dismissing plans to follow through on making Tubman the first black person to be featured on U.S. currency as “pure political correctness,” everything came to a screeching halt.

But it would be appear that all hope is not lost, as The Hill reports that lawmakers are looking to renew efforts to put Tubman on the $20 bill.

New York Rep. John Katko (R), one of the lawmakers behind the effort, told local station WKRN that “it should not even be an issue, in my mind.”

“We don’t have a woman of color, we don’t have any person of color on any U.S. currency,” he continued, adding he thought when “the Trump administration came in it fell by the wayside.”

In 2017, Steven Mnuchin, the current Treasury secretary, said he would consider the change but gave one of those non-committal answers you expect when you ask one of your friends to help you move.

“People have been on the bills for a long period of time,” Mnuchin said then. “This is something we’ll consider. Right now we’ve got a lot more important issues to focus on.”

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Which is part of the problem: America always has “more important” things to do than to give black folks—and black women specifically—their due.

“Too often, our nation does not do enough to honor the contributions of women in American history, especially women of color,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said. Earlier this year he introduced a bill that would force the administration’s hand on matter. “Placing Harriet Tubman on our U.S. currency would be a fitting tribute to a woman who fought to make the values enshrined in our Constitution a reality for all Americans.”

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He added, “I am proud to reintroduce this bill with Rep. Katko to honor Harriet Tubman’s role in making America a more free and more equal society.”

Hopefully this time around yields more favorable results.

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About the author

Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.