Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Women on 20s Nominates Harriet Tubman as Andrew Jackson's Successor on Currency

A feminist group that wants to boot Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill has chosen a female hero to replace him — abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

On Tuesday morning, Women on 20s revealed the results of a 10-week poll for a possible Jackson replacement and emailed a petition — addressed to President Barack Obama — to the White House Council on Women and Girls.

By midday, the council’s chair, Valerie Jarrett, and executive director, Tina Tchen, responded, saying they “would like to continue the conversation.”

“We’re waiting for some kind of meeting with the White House, and I can tell you that we are already in conversation with them,” Susan Ades Stone, executive director for Women on 20s, said first to Yahoo News.

The nonprofit argues that the year 2020, the centennial of women’s suffrage, would be the perfect time to add a woman to our U.S. banknotes.

Tubman is most remembered for her role as a conductor along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of houses leading slaves to freedom in the North.

Born into slavery in Maryland sometime between 1820 and 1825, she fled to Philadelphia via the Underground Railroad in 1848.


This circa 1860-75 photo shows Harriet Tubman. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Before the Civil War, as one of the country’s leading abolitionists, Tubman traveled to the South an estimated 19 times to rescue family members and strangers.

Later, with her knowledge of Southern geography, she became a valuable spy and guide for the Union Army.

“Harriet Tubman had an extraordinary life despite the amazing challenges she had to overcome,” Stone said. “She was an inspiration to our voters despite the fact that the field was full of extraordinary women.”

Jackson, on the other hand, has long been a controversial president because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced Native Americans off their ancestral homes in the southeastern United States.

As a result, thousands of Native Americans died on their journey to designated “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi River. This dark chapter in American history is known as the Trail of Tears.


Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States. (Photo: AP)

In February, Women on 20s presented many female candidates its members thought could replace Jackson on American currency. Their list included Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth and others.

For the final round, the candidates were narrowed down to Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller — the last of whom was added halfway through the campaign.

“There was a particularly strong desire to see a Native American replace him,” Stone said. “Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee nation chief, had a great showing in the final round. Someone who was relatively unknown got almost 59,000 votes.”

On Tuesday, the petition was also sent to the White House Office of Media Affairs and the Office of Correspondence, as well as the office of U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.

Women on 20s plans to follow the emails and online submissions with physical packages containing additional materials, such as letters from schoolchildren and campaign statistics.

Courtesy Michael Walsh, Reporter, Yahoo News May 12, 2015

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