Joe Biden is moving forward with plans to put American hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
Goodbye, slave-owning Andrew Jackson, and hello abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman. After Donald Trump delayed the process, Biden’s administration is reportedly moving forward with replacing Jackson’s face with Tubman’s face on the $20 bill, a White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during her Monday news briefing. The Washington Post reports that a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed the change.
This change will make Tubman the first Black person to appear on American paper currency. And it’s been years since we’ve seen women on American currency; Martha Washington appeared on a $1 bill in the 1890s, and Pocahontas was pictured in a group photo on the $20 bill in the 1860s, Reuters reports.
Derrick Johnson, the chief executive and president of the NAACP, said in a statement: “Harriet Tubman lived at a time when Congress, the Supreme Court, and our nation was abhorrently paralyzed over whether it was legal to allow one person to own another. In a true act of liberty and independence, Tubman freed herself from slavery, only to return south 19 more times, risking her own life and freedom, to save her family and hundreds of others from a life spent in slavery,” he said.
“The legacy of Harriet Tubman and other Black Americans who built the nation we know today must be recognized and celebrated in our schools, culture, and currency. The NAACP applauds the Biden administration’s announcement to change the design of the $20 bill to commemorate the full story of the significant figures in our history.”
The move is finally happening five years after Barack Obama announced plans to have Tubman on the bill in 2016. But Trump thwarted the move, sharing his admiration of Jackson and even suggesting that Tubman should just appear on the ceremonial $2 bill. He called the decision to have Tubman on the $20 bill “pure political correctness.” “Andrew Jackson had a great history,” Trump said in 2019, “and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill.”