With the Secretary of the Treasury announcing that Harriet Tubman would be taking Andrew Jackson’s place on the $20 bill America has finally taken a symbolic step forward. A woman of color has finally broken into our currency in a meaningfully. Previous attempts to put women on currency, such as Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, have not had the lasting impact as many would hope. This is probably in part to the fact that they were both put on the dollar coin, which is not the most used of coins nor the handiest bit of currency.
But the $20? That is one of the most widely-used and ubiquitous bills used in our society. Placing a woman of color on the bill is a great mark of significance. and a definite step forward.
However, I would like to see them make more strides and include more figures on bills. I will be the first to admit that I do not know if there would be a tremendous added cost to printing a couple different bills, but if there isn’t then by all means let us have multiple figures on each bill.
Some other people that could deserve memorialization on our currency: Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor, Rosa Parks, Madeleine Albright, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, John F. Kennedy and Thurgood Marshall. Hell, President Obama should also find his way on our currency at some point.
Our currency should, apart from reflecting a monetary value, reflect American values. This means that we should expand our currency to encompass the changing and milestone accomplishments and leaders of our nation. Important leaders in the struggle for Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Chicano Rights, Asian Rights and Gay Rights should all at some point be reflected on our currency. As should Important milestone leaders. The first Presidents of a minority group or oppressed group such as the first women, racial minorities, sexual minorities and religious minorities should be represented in our currency.
As our country changes so too should our currency. This currency is a tangible reminder that the country has changed and is capable of changing and becoming a better nation. Hopefully Harriet Tubman’s placement on the $20 dollar bill will increase the pressure to diversify our money more.