Since the beginning of our country, there has been only one woman featured on paper currency in America, and this was well over a hundred years ago. In the late nineteenth century, Martha Washington appeared on a dollar certificate, but since then, there has not been a single woman featured on the paper currency of our country. And throughout the entire lifespan of our nation, there has not been a single person of color on paper currency. This doesn’t seem right, does it? People of color and women have told just as much of our history as white men, but for some reason, they are never recognized in the same way.
The white men appearing on paper currency have cycled and changed over time, but starting in 2020, over two hundred years after the birth of the United States of America, paper currency will finally be reconstructed to celebrate a more diverse America, and a more accurate representation of our history. On the back of the 10 dollar bill will be leaders of the women’s rights movement, and on the back of the 5 dollar bill will be leaders of the civil rights movement. And after much campaigning and protest by Womenon20s, the front of the 20 dollar bill will be arguably the most important change. Though rumors have been circulating for months, it has finally been announced by the Treasury that Harriet Tubman will be the first woman and the first person of color to be featured on America’s paper currency.
This abolitionist will be taking the place of Andrew Jackson, the pro-slavery 7th president who was also responsible for the Indian Removal Act. In theory, Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson could be a very powerful and progressive statement, but unfortunately, it will not turn out as such. It has been confirmed that while Tubman will be replacing Jackson on the front of the bill, he will remain on the back. Though the models for these changes in currency will not be released for at least another four years, many are already finding themselves angry. Yes, Tubman’s appearance on the 20 will be a welcome, important change, but sharing the bill with a president who stood for everything she was fighting against? Not ideal.
But in spite of the frustrating reality that the 20 dollar bill will not be Tubman’s and Tubman’s alone, the fact that a woman of color is going to celebrated on paper currency is extremely important to the progression of the feminist movement. Though this was only a minor goal to achieve, it shows that we are making strides on the path towards equality, and that we are capable of continuing to make these strides until even the highest of our goals have been achieved.
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