Have you ever looked at whose face is on US money? The current $20 note (or paper money) has the face of former US president Andrew Jackson on it. Jackson has been on the note since 1928, but in 2016 President Obama’s administration announced that Jackson would be replaced by Harriet Tubman—a slave who helped other slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Why the change? Well, first let’s think of one reason why a person’s face would be on money? In the United States, George Washington is on the $1 bill and in England, Queen Elizabeth II graces the British pound notes. The faces of leaders are often printed on money. After all, they are a large part of a country’s history. It’s, therefore, not a huge surprise that Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, appears on the $20 bill. However, his legacy has been questioned recently. Jackson owned hundreds of slaves, forced Native Americans off of their land, and ironically enough, despised the idea of a national bank. Should a country’s money be represented by a president whose legacy is associated with such an ugly part of US history?
Harriet Tubman, on the other hand, risked her own life to help slaves escape. She developed a network of anti-slavery supporters and managed to rescue slaves from their owners. So, what now? Why haven’t we seen Tubman on the $20 bill? Well, designing a new note is quite the process, not to mention selecting the right paper, ink, and ways to ensure that these notes can’t be copied. Plus, let’s not forget about other priorities that might take attention away from the designing and printing of new notes. Whatever the reason, President Biden’s administration has announced that they will pick up where the Obama administration left off and move forward with making the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman’s face on it. Whitehouse Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “It’s important that our notes—our money—reflect the history and diversity of our country.”
Who would you like to see on money?