Plans to Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill


Dena Cooper

Previously, Harriet Tubman was stamped onto 350 $20 bills.

Ava Malloy, Contributing Writer

President Barack Obama made the announcement in 2016 that Harriet Tubman would be on the twenty-dollar bill by 2020. However, President Donald J. Trump opposed the redesigning of the twenty-dollar bill, so during his administration, the effort to change the image on the bill was postponed. With a new administration now in office, President Biden hopes to speed up the process of putting a new face on the twenty-dollar bill.

Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist who escaped slavery. She courageously made several rescue missions, became a conductor on the underground railroad, and risked her life to help so many others reach freedom. 

Tubman would replace the 7th president of the United States, President Andrew Jackson, on the currency. President Jackson, a populist, has been widely criticized for his cruel treatment of Native Americans and for owning slaves. 

Current Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced at the press briefing on January 25th that “the Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new 20-dollar notes.  It’s important that our notes — our money, if people don’t know what a note is — reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new 20-dollar note would certainly reflect that.” Under the Biden administration, the new Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen plans to fast forward the time it would take to alter the dollar bill. Psaki emphasizes the importance of this change and what it will mean for the United States to have Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill. 

Junior Camille Boer echoes the Press Secretary’s words by stating, “To place Harriet Tubman, an African American woman who risked her life to save enslaved peoples, on the $20 bill would portray Tubman as just as worthy of recognition and praise as the presidents of the United States. Currently, Andrew Jackson’s face rests on the $20 bill and I believe Tubman is in fact more worthy than him and deserves to be pictured for her contributions to the freedom of African Americans.” Camille’s beliefs align with many, that Tubman’s accomplishments should be celebrated, and changing the design of the twenty-dollar bill is the perfect place to start. 

On the other hand, because of the division already in the United States, junior Brian Odell explains, “I think that ideally, it is a great idea. But realistically it will cause more division in the country.” Although this plan would be a step forward for the United States, Brian understands how it could cause conflict.

Although the initial plans were scheduled for 2020, the centennial of the 19th amendment, with a new administration behind this effort we may soon see this great American hero on the twenty-dollar note. This proposed change has the power to highlight the history of the United States while representing the diversity of our citizens.