Back in 2014, a nine year-old girl wrote a letter to President Barack Obama. She wondered why there were no women featured on any United States currency. She mentioned many women in her letter, including Abigail Adams, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller—and Harriet Tubman. Obama praised her letter and mentioned it later in a speech. In the speech, he announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson the $20 bill.
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery and led hundreds of others to freedom along the Underground Railroad. She will be the first woman to be on the face of an American bill. But even though the announcement was made in 2016, we still have not seen a bill with Harriet Tubman’s image on it.
Why has it taken so long to redesign the $20 bill? A government committee met in 2013 and decided that most currency bills would be redesigned. They wanted to add new security features to prevent people from counterfeiting (imitating) the bills. Counterfeit, or fake, money is illegal. The $20 bill was set to be redesigned in 2030 after the redesign of the $10 bill and the $50 bill.
The Biden administration promised after he was elected that the White House would try to speed up efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. But it may take many years because of the process of redesign. The Treasury Department says that it can take six to ten years to create a single security feature. The Treasury Department also wants to make bills easier to use for people who can’t see well. But many people want the bill designed more quickly, citing how important it is to have more diversity featured on our nation’s currency.
What Do You Think? If you were re-designing currency, who would you feature on the bills? Why would you feature those people?
Photo Credit: Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo