Since last summer, many Americans have called for a woman to replace one of the men currently pictured on U.S. currency. The $10 was due for revision first, owing to the Treasury’s efforts to make bills more resistant to counterfeiting. That would have meant booting Alexander Hamilton–the first Secretary of the Treasury–off the $10 bill.
But the movement took a new twist today. Before news broke that the Treasury had selected Harriet Tubman to replace the odious Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, veteran TV journalist and author Cokie Roberts published an op-ed in The New York Times calling for none other than Elizabeth Hamilton to replace her hubby on the ten-spot. In doing so, Roberts echoed my call for the very same move in my recent story for Smithsonian!
The Treasury found a different solution–one that’s even better. Alexander will stay on the $10, as he should. Tubman, an American hero and native Marylander who risked her life to guide slaves to freedom, spied for the Union during the Civil War, and fought for women’s suffrage, will be front-and-center on the $20 bill. And Jackson, who owned hundreds of slaves and signed the Indian Removal Act, which forcibly relocated southeastern tribes to Oklahoma, will be relegated to a tiny portrait on the back of the $20.
That’s what I call progress.