Big news! Harriet Tubman has been voted as the woman to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. It’s not official yet, but there’s a lot of potential. Andrew Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland in the 20s so why can’t it happen again? Women On 20s, the organization heading up the mission to put a woman on paper currency, is working hard to make it happen.
Over the course of the past 10 weeks, Women On 20s held a virtual poll asking America to vote for who they would like to see be the first woman on paper money. After over 600,000 votes were cast and counted, the winner was announced earlier today: Harriet Tubman is the top choice to become our nation’s first woman on a $20 bill, or any paper money for that matter.
Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses” of her time, was an escaped slave and abolitionist during the Civil War who bravely rescued her family and strangers by leading them to freedom through the Underground Railroad. She is a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope who selflessly helped others and continued her service later on in life campaigning for women’s suffrage and equality.
Why is it important to have a woman (finally) on paper currency?
“Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history,” Women On 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone told the Washington Post in an e-mailed statement.
The $20 bill was chosen because the year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote and, quite frankly, Andrew Jackson isn’t exactly worthy of the distinction.
The other contenders for the honor included a final round list of 15 iconic American women which were voted on by people from all 50 states. Primary results saw Eleanor Roosevelt in the lead, but final results revealed Harriet Tubman had pulled ahead to become the winner.
Now that America has voted, it’s up to President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew to make the update in time for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020, which is what Women on 20s is hoping will happen.
They urge everyone to stay involved and continue supporting the mission by sharing the message:
“Whether you voted or not, please consider joining our ‘Virtual March’ to the White House to bolster the petition. You don’t have to leave home to show your support. All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearMrPresident in your social media posts and you’ll be helping us amplify the call for historic change.”
Along with the winner, Women On 20s also announced that they sent a petition to the White House informing Obama of the election results and encouraging him to show his support. And there’s hope for change. It sounds like Obama could be on board.
“Last week, a young girl wrote to me to ask why aren’t there any women on our currency,” Obama said in a speech he made last year. ”And then she gave me a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea.”
The folks at Women On 20s mean business. “Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020,” Stone said.