After the campaign to adorn U.S. currency with the likeness of abolitionist Harriet Tubman languished on the shelf the past four years, the effort suddenly has been resurrected.
President Joe Biden indicated through his White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, that he is resuscitating the drive to put the immortal Tubman on the $20 bill.
Biden’s predecessor, CNN reports, wasn’t feeling Tubman replacing former President Andrew Jackson on the tender and dismissively characterized the move to honor Tubman as “pure political correctness.” The former president then suggested that Tubman be placed on the $2 bill, which has long since been retired from the printing process.
The current administration, however, explains why this move is a necessary commemoration of an American hero.
“It’s important that our notes, our money — if people don’t know what a note is — reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” Psaki told reporters on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Tubman, whose remarkable life was played out in the Oscar-nominated movie Harriet, is arguably the most revered abolitionists of all time. She was born into slavery in Maryland. She eventually escaped to Pennsylvania in 1849 but then decided to return to the state more than a dozen times to free scores of other slaves using the famed Underground Railroad.
Later, when President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation played a role in the commencement of the Civil War, Tubman served as a Union Army spy, nurse and scout against the Confederacy. She even served as a cook.
A change agent who was always trying to move the culture forward, Tubman was active in the woman’s suffrage movement in her later years. It eventually would give adult females a right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment.