Harriet Tubman wins $20 bill contest; new museum opens this weekend

harriet tubman women on 20s org
(Photo: WomenOn20s.org)

For those who thought they’d never see a Black president in their lifetime, did you ever believe you’d live to see a woman’s face on their banknote? Well, we bet you $20 that you definitely never thought you’d see the face of a Black woman, an abolitionist at that. The Women on 20s started an online petition asking for a replacement for former President Andrew Jackson, while also organizing the poll. Harriet Tubman won with 118,328 votes, while FLOTUS Eleanor Roosevelt was the runner-up.

Women on 20s has secured more than 600,000 voters in the online campaign. The next step is to convince President Barack Obama to guide the Secretary of the Treasury’s pen to make the change.

This writer isn’t at all surprised. As of late, Tubman is all the rage. Dubbed Black Moses, Tubman guided more than 300 slaves on the “Underground Railroad,” a network of secret escape routes and safe houses utilized by Black slaves in the 19th century.

On Tuesday, May 12, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged HBO and its parent company Time Warner, to film their upcoming Tubman biopic, starring “How to Get Away with Murder” star Viola Davis, at the abolitionist’s historic home in Fleming, New York.

Harriet Tubman museum Twitter
Harriet Tubman museum Twitter

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Tubman Museum will officially open to the public on May 16. Founded in 1981, Macon’s Tubman Museum is the largest museum in the Southeast dedicated to African American art, history and culture. The Tubman Museum is transitioning from its current location, an 8,500-square-foot building to a new 49,000-square-foot facility.

The new Tubman Museum is located in the heart of downtown Macon in the Cherry Street Plaza and will house five primary exhibitions:

  • Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her people combines historical documents and photographs with works of art that address the legacy of Harriet Tubman as an abolitionist, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and an activist for the rights of African Americans and women. The exhibit includes works by 20th century masters Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, John Biggers, and William H. Johnson, as well as by younger contemporary artists, and a mix of academic and outsider art. The exhibition features works loaned from the Spelman College Museum of Art, the DuSable Museum in Chicago, and the Hampton University Museum in Virginia. This exhibit will be on view through January 2016.
  • Black Artists of Georgia brings together collections of both academic and self-taught artists that confront cultural assumptions. Seeking to dispel stereotypical ideas about the subjects, media, imagery, and intentions of so-called “Black Art,” this special exhibition celebrates the diversity of contemporary visual expression found within the community of African American artists in Georgia. Black Artists of Georgia features 49 works, executed in a variety of media, from 40 different artists, including Kojo Griffin, Romare Bearden, and Ana Bel Lee.
  • The History of the Dream is a series of textile panels from a collection of over 130 commissioned works of art by prolific fabric artist, Wini McQueen. These selected works pay homage to the individuals, institutions and organizations that have made a positive contribution to the quality of life in Macon, Georgia, and who were instrumental in the founding and development of the Tubman Museum.
  • From Africa to America is a chronological mural made up of nine panels by Wilfred Stroud. Each panel explores and celebrates a different era in African American history.
  • From the Minds of African Americans celebrates the ingenuity, as well as the perseverance and creativity of African Americans by highlighting inventors of items like the Super SoakerTM and the gas mask.

Normal operating hours of the Tubman Museum will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. Adult tickets are $10 and child (ages 3-17) tickets are $6. Memberships start at $20 per year and include unlimited free admission for one year, a 10 percent discount at the gift shop and access to special events.

The new Tubman Museum’s grand opening, in partnership with the 19th Annual Pan African Festival of Georgia, will begin on May 16 at 11 a.m. with a ceremonial parade from the old building to the new Cherry St. location. After the procession reaches the new Tubman Museum, there will be an opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting and remarks from Richard Keil, the founder of the Tubman Museum, along with other dignitaries. At 1 p.m., the new Tubman Museum will open its doors to the public with guided tours and educational activities. Tubman Museum grand opening festivities will also feature a free concert in the Cherry Street Plaza featuring the S.O.S. Band and a Praise Day Celebration on Sunday, May 17. During grand opening weekend, there will be a special, discounted admission fee of $5 per person for non- members (which can be applied towards the purchase of an individual, family, or upper-level membership to the new Tubman Museum).

To learn more about the Tubman Museum, go to www.tubmanmuseum.com or call (478) 743-8544. Get social with the Tubman on Twitter and Instagram @TubmanMuseum and on Facebook.
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