Be respectful and put Harriet Tubman on the 20 dollar bill as planned

May 12, 2019 at 02:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Farida Dawkins

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

May 12, 2019 at 02:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Harriet Tubman circa 1860-1875...Library of Congress

In 2016, former secretary Jacob J. Lew unveiled plans to place abolitionist and civil rights activist Harriet Tubman on the face of the $20-dollar-bill.  The initial plan was to place Tubman on the front and move former President Andrew Jackson to the back. The new faces of currency were supposed to start rolling out in 2020. As reported by The New York Times.

Harriet Tubman…A&E Biography

Nevertheless, in a statement sent to Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire it stated, “The redesign of the next currency series is still in the early stages, and neither the final designs nor all features have been finalized for the new notes,” wrote Drew Maloney, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs. “For this reason, the department is unable to provide additional information regarding the potential designs at this time.”

Lydia Washington, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is overseen by the Treasury Department confirmed that she had received no further guidance since the precedent set by Lew.

The aforementioned points to a plot by the Trump administration to unravel policies set forth by President Barack Obama.  Another would be the eradication of Obamacare, an initiative formulated to provide affordable health care for many Americans, as noted by Face2Face Africa.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary added to the mire by adding, “People have been on the bills for a long period of time,” Mnuchin mentioned to CNBC last August. “This is something we’ll consider. Right now we’ve got a lot more important issues to focus on.”

He added, “The No. 1 issue why we change the currency is to stop counterfeiting. So the issues of what we change will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes. I’ve received classified briefings on that. And that’s what I’m focused on for the most part.”

“Ultimately we will be looking at this issue. It’s not something I’m focused on at the moment.”

Is this a conspiracy or is it simply not a priority? According to the New York Times, the subject is forever being inconspicuously broached because of Trump’s “deep admiration for Jackson, a rich populist who appealed to working-class white voters when he was elected in 1828.”

Still, this has not deterred some. Senator Shaheen commented, “I am severely disappointed by the Trump administration’s failure to prioritize the redesign of the $20 bill to honor Harriet Tubman, and other trailblazing women and civil rights leaders,”

“Now that plan has been shelved without notice or reason.”

Senator Shaheen concluded, “I’ll continue to press the Treasury Department to expedite the redesign of the $20 bill and keep its promise to the American people.”

Postcard of Harriet Tubman, Nelson Davis and daughter Gertie…Smithsonian Magazine

She is not the only one.

Elizabeth Cobbs a historian and novelist, as well as Catherine Clinton, a professor and author, have developed an open letter to Mnuchin which includes the signature of 125 historians requiring his guarantee towards redesigning the bill, as recorded by The Brian Lehrer Show.

Being graced with a feature on any currency is reserved for instrumental individuals involved in the change of policies or actions that aim to better individuals on a national scale.

If former Presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson who although led the free world, were also slave owners contributing to the disenfranchisements of blacks are prominently displayed on $1 dollar and $20 dollar bills then what of Tubman, a former slave and abolitionist who freed approximately 70 slaves?

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