Monday, April 25, 2016

"A Woman's Place Is On The Money"

Many of you have heard of the Treasury’s commitment to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill. The push for change officially started last Spring under the direction of Women on 20s, a nonprofit campaign dedicated to recognizing the often overlooked contributions of women to American history.  Lawmakers Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D.-NH) and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D.-IL) were the first to sign on, both introducing bills last April to get a woman on the 20.  Dozens of lawmakers have since joined the movement. After narrowing pool from 100 American heroines to 15, Women on 20 published an online poll asking which woman voters would most like to see represented on our currency. Over half a million voters chose Harriet Tubman, Wilma Mankiller, Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt as the four finalists.  In the second round, Tubman won 33.6% of the 352,341 votes cast, solidifying her as the winner. After a year’s work, the Treasury has agreed to accelerate the production of the new $20. Despite backlash, they plan to keep Andrew Jackson on the back of the new $20, a decision many find offensive considering Tubman’s enslavement and Jackson’s slave-owning.

In addition to Tubman, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced his intention to complete a large-scale redesigning of numerous bills by 2020 to commemorate the hundred-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. The $10 will feature (albeit on the back) suffragists/abolitionists Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Lucretia Mott. Lew also suggested displaying historical events at the Lincoln Memorial, such as Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, on the back of the $5.

--Kathleen Melendy, MWPC Intern