With the new century comes new changes to the American currency system. On April 20, 2016, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that Harriet Tubman, former slave, anti-slavery activist and operator of the Underground Railroad, will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill after decades of debate. According to the L.A. Times, Tubman will be the first woman to grace American currency in over a century and the first African American to brace a paper bill. According to USA Today, the first woman to brace paper currency was Martha Washington at the end of the 19th century.
On a different note, currency enthusiasts were left wondering what would happen to former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Rest assured, he will still remain on the back pictured next to the White House.
The $20 bill is not the only type of currency getting a facelift. Alongside the $20 bill, the $10 and $5 bills will also receive a major facelift. According to the New York Times, Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln will continue to stay on the front of the $10 and $5 bills, respectively. However, images of the 1913 suffragette march and five different women's rights suffragette portraits will be added to the back of each of these bills. The suffragettes that will be depicted include Soujourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony. The $5 bill will feature a Lincoln Memorial backdrop with Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The redesigns are being met with quarrels from either side. Recent fans of the hit Broadway musical 'Hamilton' argue in favor of Alexander Hamilton staying on the $10 bill, since Tubman was originally considered for the 10 instead of the 20. However, women's rights activists from groups such as Women On 20s and Girls Lounge argue in favor of keeping Harriet Tubman as the new bill's candidate.
The final redesigns will be finished and released in 2020 and will begin printing and publication around 2025. This long wait is due to the fact that all redesigns and considerations for the bill have to be voted in. These bills also have to be printed with serial numbers so they can be run through money counters or counterfeit checkers efficiently. Unfortunately, Lew and President Barack Obama have only a few months left in office and therefore do not have the time to pass these laws themselves. However, according to the New York Times, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has expressed confidence that his ideas will go through.
April 27, 2016