Nineteenth century abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Tubman will be both the first woman in a century and the first African-American to be featured on U.S. paper money.
The announcement has rewarded the efforts of nonprofit group Women on 20s, whose lobbying efforts created a national movement to feature a woman on the $20 bill as soon as 2020, the 100th anniversary of American women being given the constitutional right to vote.
On April 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew broke the news during a conference call with reporters.
“Today, I’m excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 note,” Lew said, according to Politico.
Lew elaborated that there would be new designs unveiled for the $5, $10 and $20 bills by 2020, but only the note featuring Jackson will have a radical redesign, The Huffington Post reports.
The back of the $5 bill will incorporate the image of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech before the Lincoln Memorial, complementing the image of President Abraham Lincoln on the face of the note.
Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, will remain the face of the $10 bill but the back of the note will feature leaders of the women’s suffrage movement.
The Treasury Department had originally considered replacing Hamilton with a woman on the $10 bill, which kicked off a public outcry.
In August 2015, over 60 U.S. members of Congress penned an open letter to Lew expressing disappointment that he would consider replacing Hamilton.
“[It] is a disappointing message that Alexander Hamilton, one of the most influential interpreters of the U.S. Constitution, a passionate advocate for the abolition of slavery, and the founder of the nation’s financial system, will be removed from our currency while President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder responsible for the Trail of Tears, fierce opponent of the central banking system and paper currency, retains his place on the $20 bill,” the lawmakers wrote.
Another outspoken advocate for sparing Hamilton has been Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Broadway blockbuster “Hamilton,” which reintroduced the founding father into the public consciousness.
Upon hearing the news that Tubman would replace Jackson, Miranda said that Hamilton would be proud.
“What I’ll tell you is that the first person to put women on currency was Alexander Hamilton,” Miranda told Fox News Latino. “He put Lady Liberty on the earliest U.S. currency … So I think he’d be thrilled that women are being represented in our currency.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced her approval of Tubman’s inclusion by tweeting “A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman.”
The redesigned $20 bill is currently scheduled to be instituted in 2030, but a spokesman for the Treasury Department has confirmed that they are trying to expedite the process to get Tubman’s face in circulation as soon as possible.