Treasury Secretary Jack Lew made today’s controversial announcement that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Tubman to replace slave-owning Andrew Jackson
This decision to pay homage to a woman, who helped free slaves and fight against oppression of people, came with mixed feelings. Treasury Secretary Lew announced last year he planned to gather public opinion. The public spoke and Andrew Jackson is out.
Lew originally planned to keep Jackson and bump Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill. This change to the $20, Secretary Lew remarked was “kind of ‘aha’ moment where I said we’re thinking too small.” The changes will be unveiled in 2020 to coincide with centennial of the 19th Amendment. This plan to change the face of money is the most ambitious since 1929 when all paper money was redesigned.
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849. From there, she turned her energy to helping free other slaves. Her efforts freed many people through a system known as the Underground Railroad. Later in life, she was referred to as the Moses of our time.
Spending her time during the Civil War as a spy, she was always fighting for the rights of others. A woman who had already been though a life of pain and suffering, deciding to dedicate her freedom to others, she was a hero and leader.
Who wants to escape to Philadelphia?
The Underground Railroad that she used to escape to Philadelphia, which was a free state by this time, became a well-worn path for Mrs. Tubman. She said of her first moment of freedom, “When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” Her decision to go south again, defines a hero.
The Underground Railroad was more than just a secret network of safe routes from safe place to a safe place. It was also a group of dedicated people, of all nationalities, ages and social class, working in unison. These abolitionists were a collection of people who worked in secret, creating passage and protection for the fugitives on their run north to freedom. This secret society of people worked tirelessly to help others. Knowing if they were caught they would face certain prosecution or death.
Harriet Tubman took over 17 trips back to the south to help free over 300 slaves. Today’s decision to honor her on the $20 bill will certainly be a step towards recognizing freedom and equality, for all.
Not everyone is happy with the decision
It’s not even worth it mentioning the racist vitriol that inundated Twitter and other social networks yesterday. Some of the rhetoric was so vile that those that posted will surely be getting a visit from the U.S Treasury Department’s Secret Service agents. While we think that the Secret Service does most of their work being willing to take a bullet for the president, the agency investigates thousands of threats, even idle threats, when it comes to those that they are charged with protecting.
Bit of an ounce of prevention type of thing.
End of the day, replacing the man responsible for the, let’s face it, genocidal removal of the Cherokee tribe from their lands to the west on the Trail of Tears is replaceable as far as many are concerned.
Even Donald Trump had something to say, but I won’t even bother.
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