On Wednesday it was announced by United States Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew that Harriet Tubman the famed 19th century abolitionist and conductor of the Underground railroad would replace the country’s seventh President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.
See while Tubman is replacing Jackson on the front of the bill, Jackson will still be on the back of the bill alongside a picture of the White House.
Now look, when I first heard the news of Harriet Tubman being the new face of the $20 bill I had mixed feelings. On one hand, yes a win for the culture. Tubman was not only one of the most famous African Americans of her time but also one of the women who is looked at is being a pioneer for women’s rights. Win for women, win for black people. Yay!!!
Then I thought about it a bit and I had to ask myself what does Tubman being on a bill of currency really do for the people? I get that it’s symbolic and provides representation, but it made me feel the same way I did when I read South Carolina would be taking down the confederate flag from its statehouse grounds. So what happens next?
It was a tweet from one of my followers that truly put the situation into perspective for me.
Same folks who say Hilary Clinton panders to black folks don’t see how Tubman on a $20 is just the same pandering? Y’all deep
— Black Mike (@LilGarvey) April 20, 2016
He’s really a good follow if you want a young persons perspective on black life in the United States.
That tweet had me wondering, is this just the latest way to change the narrative of a country that has never answered for it’s past discretion’s?
So in some ways it might be fitting that an ex slave who spent her life trying to free slaves would share the same space with a President who had slaves. Irony or not, Harriet Tubman presence is causing a stir a century plus later.
Oh and here’s someone on Facebook explaining why slavery isn’t bad, but since illegal at the time should void Tubman from being on U.S. currency.
People are really delusional. pic.twitter.com/biM9Sos3Su
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 21, 2016