In a long-awaited announcement, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew confirmed on Wednesday that notable Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the United States $20 bill. The new design is expected to be in general circulation by 2020.
Tubman’s appearance on the $20 bill was a late change in a long-term plan to place a woman on a piece of paper currency. Originally, the $10 bill, featuring Alexander Hamilton, was proposed as the best bill to change. Due to complaints relating to Hamilton’s instrumental role in the founding of US finance, however, the decision was made to displace Jackson instead. The former president, however, will not lose his place on the bill entirely. Instead, he will now feature on the side of the bill opposite Tubman.
Tubman, who was born a slave in 1822, escaped to the north before becoming the Underground Railroad’s most noted conductor, leading many other escaped slaves to freedom in the north. Tubman also acted as a spy for the Union army during the American Civil War. In later life, she acted as an advocate of the women’s suffrage movement.
The $20 bill redesign is expected to come in conjunction with alterations to the $5 and $10 to incorporate updated counterfeiting safeguards into the bills. The $10, however, is still likely to chance, as its reverse image of the US capital building is expected to be replaced with an image containing several prominent leaders of the suffrage movement. Definitive designs and release dates have not yet been announced.
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