A Hard-Right Wingnut’s Nightmare: Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill



By Jameson Parker / 04.20.2016


Big news out of the Treasury Department: After much debate, Alexander Hamilton will remain on the $10 bill – and instead, it’s Andrew Jackson who is being given the boot.

According to Politico , Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is set to announce two major changes to the twenty, neither of which will make America’s white supremacists very happy. First, former President Andrew Jackson will be replaced by a black woman, Harriet Tubman. Tubman was a legendary fighter against slavery and is recognized as having personally shepherded hundreds of escaped slaves to freedom in the north during her lifetime. The second change is the Treasury will be changing the $5 bill to “depict civil rights era leaders.”

Both changes reflect the recent cultural movement to acknowledge and honor the legacy of racial justice in America. It can also be seen as a bit of condemnation for the actions of President Jackson, a man whom historians are quick to point out gave America some of its most shameful actions against Native American peoples – including the forced migration and resettlement of many tribes that would eventually become known as the Trail of Tears.

Until recently, it was Alexander Hamilton who was on the chopping block. However, thanks to a resurgence of interest in the founding father’s life and legacy and the outrage over Jackson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was adamant that Hamilton would stay, even if someone else went. So long, President Jackson!

Harriet Tubman being printed on the $20 bill will be a turning point in America’s cultural identity. She represents the country at its best – humane, strong and fighting for what’s right. She will also be the first woman and first person of color to be represented on paper currency (Native American, Sacajawea is already on a less commonly used dollar coin.)

This all has to be quite a shock to the toxic white supremacists in the country who believe that white people are being erased and replaced by “minorities.” The fact that they will have to stare at symbols of racial equality each time they use a $20 or $5 bill is deeply satisfying. Or as my colleague Oliver Willis recently put it: