History & Now, News & Events

We may finally see Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

words by: Kai Acevedo
Feb 6, 2021

The Biden-Harris Administration is putting some money where its mouth is. As promised, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and crew have been hard at work since their first day in office. Aside from signing 30+ executive actions that have focused on things such as COVID relief, economic recovery and racial equity, Team Biden has had its sights set on finally putting an image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

 

“We are exploring ways to speed up that effort,” unveiled White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said that it’s important that the U.S. currency is “reflective of the history and diversity of our country.”

 

 

A $20 bill designed with the likeness of Tubman was approved in 2016 and was originally expected to hit the streets in 2020. However, the release of the bill was reportedly delayed by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to appease Donald Trump. The impeached president had suggested that the former slave who risked her life on several occasions to lead dozens of enslaved African-Americans to their freedom would be a better fit for the barely used $2 bill.

 

A spokeswoman from the Department of the Treasury —which is responsible for producing the country’s currency and coinage— confirmed that a new version of the bill was “underway.” It isn’t clear, however, when the final product will see the light of day. Whenever the redesigned $20 note does arrive, it’ll mark the first time a woman has graced a U.S. bill since the late 1800s.

 

“Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy,” wrote Jacob J. Lew, the Secretary of the Treasury from 2013 to 2017. Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman became a leading abolitionist, a spy for the American government and arguably the most celebrated conductor on the Underground Railroad.

 

Photo via Twitter/@NumbersMuncher