Americans cheered the announcement three years ago that Harriet Tubman would be the new face on the $20 bill, making her the first African American to grace U.S. paper money and one of the few women.
The final design of the bills was to be ready in 2020, in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walked back those plans before the House Financial Services Committee. He testified that the redesign effort has been delayed to 2028, when, as he said, it will be another treasury secretary’s responsibility.
He said the treasury department’s efforts to foil counterfeiters had more important priorities than redesigning the $20 bill, but that excuse rang hollow to us.
The current face on the $20 bill is Andrew Jackson, who President Donald Trump admires. During the 2016 campaign, Trump criticized the Obama administration’s Tubman decision, calling it “pure political correctness” and suggesting Tubman go on the discontinued $2 bill.
But we think its symbolically important to replace the seventh president, a slave-owner responsible for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, with a former slave, “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, abolitionist leader, Civil War combatant and suffragist.
Tubman was a legitimate American hero and she deserves to be on the $20 bill as promised.
Images used on a country’s currency reflect the values of its people.
Changing the face of the $20 bill isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of moral correctness.
It’s time for Mnuchin to do an about-face. Put aside politics and prioritize the $20 redesign as Americans expected him to do.