The federal government is looking for ways to speed up the release of $20 bills bearing the image of Harriet Tubman, replacing President Andrew Jackson, and it can’t happen soon enough.
President Barack Obama first proposed putting the slave-turned-abolitionist, who helped dozens escape slavery, on the bill. “Technical printing issues” slowed the process, and the Trump administration didn’t support putting Tubman on a bill, suggesting she be featured on the $2 bill, which is not in print.
In addition to her work on the Underground Railroad, Tubman also was a spy, scout, nurse and cook for the U.S. Army and, later, was involved in the women’s suffrage movement.
On the other hand, Jackson was a slave owner and was largely responsible for the deaths of thousands of indigenous people, having signed legislation which led to the Trail of Tears, forcing tens of thousands of Native Americans from Georgia to Oklahoma. Many died on that brutal journey.
Certainly, honoring Tubman in any way would be a symbolic statement of unification to women and the Black community. Putting her on money would help bring her to the forefront of American history, especially in light of the importance of commerce in this country.
Not that Jackson should be forgotten. Hardly a leader in the arena of decency, the seventh president should be remembered truthfully for subjugating non-whites and playing a role in the near extermination of Native Americans. A good way to do so would be to eliminate his portrait from something we see daily — money — and replace him with a woman who dedicated her life to helping others.