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Harriet Tubman has earned the right to be on the $20 bill

Harriet Tubman has earned the right to be on the $20 bill

Harriet Tubman has earned the right to be on the $20 bill
February 13
13:00 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Jan. 25 that the Biden administration are reviving the possibility of placing famous 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, a move that was taken off life support by the Trump administration. The idea was first introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2016, who told press he wanted the $20 bill to be referred to as the “Tubmans.”

Psaki stated that the U.S. Treasury wants to speed up the process so that U.S. money reflects the diversity of its citizens. While there has been praise for Tubman to be placed on the $20 bill, there’s been also been enough criticism to counter it as well. The biggest voice of opposition came from former President Donald Trump who stated during his 2016 campaign that this was nothing more than a move of “political correctness.” Of course, this is not entirely shocking as Trump has a clear history of racism and a deep-seated love for former President Andrew Jackson. So much so that he placed a frame of the president in the oval office.

Tubman would be a much better option for the $20 bill than Jackson. Tubman is widely revered for being a “conductor” for the underground railroad, going into the south and leading as many as 300 slaves to freedom. This occurred during the span of ten years.

Jackson was responsible for the Trail of Tears, an act of removing millions of Native Americans from their land in an effort to expand territory. This resulted in the death of 4,000 Cherokees who died from disease, cold and hunger. While Jackson did take on banks to fight for the poor, Jackson was only interested in helping Americans who looked like him. Tubman saved lives while Jackson took them.

I’m not interested in the removal of white people from history. White people have done a lot for America and there are figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy who deserve the acclaim they have. While none of them were perfect, a lot of their actions benefited America. Removing Jackson is not a sign of disrespect, replacing him for Tubman is an acknowledgment of minorities who also have just as big of a part in American history.

Why is the removal of Jackson seen as disrespectful? Why are people afraid of Tubman being honored by being placed on the $20 bill? It doesn’t change the usefulness of the bill, it still has the same function as it would with Jackson. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, Grant and Benjamin are still going to be featured on their respective bills. This is not a conspiracy against white men, part of a democratic socialist agenda or a move of political correctness.

Tubman would be the first person of color and woman to have her portrait on U.S. currency. The historical significance it would hold should not be slammed or despised. It is an act of progression. However, that alone will not fix America’s problems. There is still a lot of division in America, often caused by the blatant abuse of minorities by the justice system. We are far too broken at the moment and we have a lot of issues to work on.

But, I do believe this sends a clear message to people of color that we are worthy of being recognized by our country. We have fought in wars, raised up movements and influenced culture in America today. I think the recognition of Tubman is a reward for her legacy. Without her, we would be one less American hero short.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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