Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Harriet Tubman to be on U. S. $20 bill

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announces on Wednesday that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. It would make Tubman the first woman on U.S. paper currency in 100 years after President Washington's wife Martha — who was featured on a $1 silver certificate.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. founding fathers, will remain on the front of the $10 bill — though suffragists who fought to give women the right to vote will be added to the back of the bill, the Treasury Department confirmed.

Last year, the U.S. Treasury surprised advocates who were pressing to get a woman on the $20 bill, by announcing a woman would go on the redesigned $10 bill, instead. That plan met with criticism by those who pushed for Jackson to be replaced instead.

Alexander Hamilton, who has experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to a hit Broadway musical "Hamilton", helped create the Treasury.

Treasury all together received more than 1.5 million responses to Lew's request for suggestions on the currency redesign. That prompted him to delay an announcement, which he had originally said would be made by the end of 2015.

An online group, Women on 20s, had been campaigning for a woman on the $20 bill. Jackson's critics say he should not be on U.S. currency because of the part he played in the relocation of Native Americans.

Still, the change is likely to inflame lawmakers from Tennessee, which Jackson represented in Congress before becoming president. The state also generally claims the former president was born in an area that is now part of Tennessee.

In a poll conducted last year by Women on 20s, Tubman, an African-American abolitionist and one of the leaders' of the Underground Railroad, was the top vote getter.

The new designs will be made public in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, although it might take another decade before the bills go into circulation.

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