Black Caucus members applaud $20 bill tribute to Harriet Tubman

Black Caucus members applaud  $20 bill tribute to Harriet Tubman
April 28
04:40 2016

AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson, File

In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, file photo, a woman holds a sign supporting Harriet Tubman for the $20 bill during a town hall meeting at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. A Treasury official said Wednesday, April 20, that Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman on U.S. paper currency in 100 years.



The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman will be on the $20 bill. Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke to the NNPA News Wire about the historic tribute to Tubman.

One of the most important heroes in American history, Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and spy for the Union Army and a leader of the Underground Railroad. The “railroad” was a network of abolitionists, activists and other associates created in the early 1800s and utilized until shortly before the Civil War to lead an estimated 100,000 Blacks out of slavery. Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland and escaped to Philadelphia in 1849.

Starting with her relatives, she traveled by night to guide people to northern free states and into Canada. She would later become involved in the women’s suffrage movement. Tubman died in 1913 in upstate New York.

“It is so fitting and appropriate that this woman, this fighter, this warrior for freedom be on the $20 bill,” legendary civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) told the NNPA News Wire as he walked off the House floor after voting on April 20.

“I’m straight out of Racine, Wisconsin the place where the runaway slaves went, so I think she is a dynamic heroine for all Americans,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.). “Long overdue, long overdue. I am so proud,” added Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Treasury Secretary Lew also announced changes to other denominations. The reverse side of the new $10 bill will feature the historic suffrage movement and honor Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul. Lew also announced plans for the reverse of the new $5 bill to honor Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.

“The fact that this will be the first person of color is tremendous and that it will be a female is even more noteworthy,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told the NNPA News Wire on April 20, “I was one of the folks who went on the letter that start-ed the whole process,” Thompson added. “I’m excited about that.”

Thompson signed a letter dated July 30, 2015 to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asking that a woman be featured on the $20 instead of the first proposed $10 bill. The letter got the ball rolling in what would become the decision to choose Harriet Tubman for the $20 bill.

Black Caucus member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) joined Republican Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) in 2015 to introduce the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act to require the secretary of the Treasury “to place Harriet Tubman’s likeness on a Federal Reserve Note by 2017.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst and contributing writer for NNPA News Wire.

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Wali Pitt

Wali Pitt

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