History was supposed to be made this year when Harriet Tubman was set to be immortalized on the new US$20 bill. However, the new note has been delayed for technical and security reasons and is now set to be released in 2028. Whether the note will still have a place for this historic figure remains to be seen.
Harriet Tubman was an American political activist. She was born into slavery, escaped and then saved numerous others from a life of slavery. She broke laws at the time that were discriminatory, unjust and racist. She is and was a hero. If Tubman’s image was to be placed on the new $20 bill it would be the first African-American to ever feature on a US note and the second woman ever. Martha Washington was the first woman to ever feature on a note.
The note has come under some controversy in recent times. One of the most notable reasons is that if Tubman was to feature on the front, Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States would have to be moved to the back. Andrew Jackson faced considerable criticism during his presidency for being a slave owner. He is estimated to have held 200 slaves and famously did not release them to freedom in his will. He faced several other related controversies for his massacres of Indian villages, executions of deserters and more.
While many see controversy in Tubman taking the place of an American president on the US$20 bill. Perhaps the real controversy is that she should have to share one with such a man at all. Of course, America has its history, George Washington had an estimated 317 slaves as well. It is easy to look at these practices in the modern-day and point out how atrocious they are but Jackson faced criticism for his actions at the time of his presidential campaign. He was not a leader or influencer of positive action and should not be represented on the $20 note any longer, back or front.