Since the moment when one little girl asked President Obama where the dollar bills with women’s faces were, it has been the initiative of one women’s group to guarantee that a woman’s face is on America’s “pocket monuments.” In the recent polls taken by Women on 20’s, votes show that most would want to see Harriet Tubman on America’s bills, meaning that she may soon be the new face of the $20 bill. Though there were many other prestigious women who were in the running to be recognized on currency, Tubman may have perhaps won the vote.
As many know, Tubman was a major part in the movement for abolition of slavery. She escaped slavery in 1849, according to her biography, and she then led many through the path known as the Underground Railroad, so they too could be free. She worked hard to ensure that none of her family was left behind in the life of slavery and even saved thousands of non-relatives, before the end of the Civil War, when slavery was abolished.
This is why she was selected as one of the possible contenders to be featured on the $20 dollar bill. Though Women on 20’s has been behind the rallying, President Obama had also previously stated that it might be a good idea to have a women’s face on American currency. After all, as New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen has stated, paper currency reflects the values, traditions, and history of Americans. Others in Congress agree that this movement could be a positive reflection on America.
Choosing which woman would get the honor of being on the $20 dollar bill, instead of Andrew Jackson, was a difficult decision for many. There were many choices for voters who wanted to weigh in on the decision. Other possible choices were Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, Sojourner Truth, and more. Tubman led with 118,328 votes, with Eleanor Roosevelt in second, and Rosa Parks in third.
All of these women were nominated for their achievements and many, like Beyonce, were first considered for their role in encouraging young girls and women to aspire to greater things. Overall, the goal was to come out with a face that was well recognized, reflected on America’s history, and held the spirit of a role model. Though currency often changes and is not as high of an award as many of the aforementioned women received in their lifetime, it is an honor that means much to women in America now.
Executive Director of Women on 20’s, Susan Ades Stone, said that currency is like pocket monuments to the great figures in history. She pleaded to Americans to join their virtual march and send petitions to President Obama using the hashtag #DearMrPresident, the group’s signature for the petition. The group has been working hard to get a women’s face on a $20 dollar bill before the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.
Given their hard work, and with the most recent polls, Tubman may soon be the new face of the $20 bill. Many things must be done in Congress before this can happen, but Women on 20’s is positive that they, along with American supporters, can make the change happen. Senator Shaheen said that the Treasury would have to convene a panel of private citizens who would have to recommend that Tubman be on the $20 dollar bill, when she introduced the bill in Congress.
So far 352,431 people voted in the Women on 20’s campaign. They are hoping to see a women’s face on the $20 bill very soon and with the vote, Harriet Tubman may be the first women honored on such bill in America’s currency. Powerful women have long been a part of history. Perhaps it is time that they be recognized in a way that circulates the nation, time after time.
By Crystal Boulware
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