After four years of pushback from former President Donald Trump’s administration, Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman may finally appear on U.S. currency.
“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume those efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “[The Biden administration] is exploring ways to speed up that effort. It’s important that our notes, our money reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image on our new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”
In April 2016, then-President Barack Obama announced that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Obama expressed a desire to have the new bill released in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which afforded women the right to vote.
However, Trump had expressed an affinity toward Confederate figures and sang the praises of Jackson, claiming that he had led the U.S. to great success during his two terms in office from 1829 to 1837.
Jackson, a slave owner, joined the Confederate army after Virginia seceded in 1861. He served under Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War.
Tubman, an escaped slave, led countless people to freedom.
Trump suggested that he consider placing her image on a $2 bill but not replacing Jackson.
President Biden has vowed to correct the Trump administration’s many wrongs, including working toward improving race relations in America and offering more opportunities to people of color. Tubman would be the first African-American woman featured on U.S. currency.
“The attempted erasure of Tubman represents yet another move in the Trump playbook to disconnect racial reality from white fantasy,” National Newspaper Publishers Association general counsel A. Scott Bolden wrote in a 2019 editorial. “Harriet Tubman should be a respected and lauded icon for people of every race and ethnicity.”