Wednesday , April 17 2024
Harriet Tubman leads a nationwide poll as the woman who should replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

$20 Bill Needs a Facelift – Why Not Replace a Slave Owner with Former Slave!


There has been an exerted push in recent months to change the way our money looks. While U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has the bright idea to rid the $10 bill of the image of Alexander Hamilton – one of the founders of our country – many people are fighting back and demanding a change to the $20 bill, which sports the face of past president and slave owner Andrew Jackson.

Part of the drive to change a face on the currency has been to get a woman’s image on one of the bills currently in use. The twenty seems like an ideal one because Jackson is certainly not in the same league as George Washington (yes, he was a slave owner too), Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Benjamin Franklin.

The images of two of these men – Washington and Lincoln – can be found on Mount Rushmore. Some people have suggested that Thomas Jefferson replace Jackson, and one could question why Jefferson wasn’t the original choice for the $20 dollar bill; however, now the rush to change one of the male faces to a female one has moved full steam ahead.

Much of this is due to the work of the group Women on 20s, which has led the fight to counteract Lew’s push to change the $10 bill. The rationale found on their web site is cogently presented, especially considering Jackson’s status as not only a slave owner but a person who led the devastating campaigns to wipe out Native Americans.

buck pbsOn the site results of a nationwide poll are presented, with familiar names such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks getting many votes each; however, the overwhelming lead in the voting goes to Harriet Tubman. Those familiar with Tubman’s legacy as head “conductor” on the Underground Railroad leading the way to save hundreds of slaves from the abusive plantation system of the South realize this is an excellent choice.

The idea of the image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is inspirational. How appropriate is it for a former slave who escaped and then led hundreds of other slaves to freedom would replace the face of a slave owner? It makes so much sense that the only fear would be that it would not be recognized by Lew who remains convinced that Jackson should stay and that the $10 bill should be changed – and with whose image remains a mystery.

Many Congress members (64 as of now) have come out in favor of changing the $20 bill. You too can have your voice heard by going to the Women on 20s web site and joining the cause.

buck3-forbesMy fear is that we get some crazy people who confuse celebrity with actual merit. In this world where the selfie is king, it doesn’t seem to be too far a stretch to imagine someone like Kim Kardashian getting the nod by popular vote to have her mug on our currency. Can you imagine Kim going into an establishment and paying for something with money sporting her image? It boggles the mind with the incongruity of it, but these days nothing that used to seem impossible is even remotely so anymore.

My vote is for Harriet Tubman – born a slave, escaped to the North, helped others escape, became an abolitionist and Union spy; she is a shining example of the endurance of human spirit against an evil such as slavery.

As the father of a teenage daughter who needs good female role models, she couldn’t do better than to look up to Harriet Tubman. How wonderful for all children – male and female alike – to see this happen in their lifetimes. It is without a doubt time for a woman on U.S. currency, and we can only hope that Secretary Lew will listen to the resounding call for it to be Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Photo credits: gettyimages ,,forbes

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His new novel, 'Unicorn: A Love Story,' is available as an e-book and in print.

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