Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

President Joe Biden is taking steps to resume efforts to put the 19th-century abolitionist leader on the $20 bill.

In April 2016 the US Treasury announced that a new design of the $20 bill would feature a portrait of Harriet Tubman, famous for risking her life to lead slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The unveiling of the new bill had been timed by the Obama administration to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not move forward with the decision by the Obama administration. Instead, in 2019, Mnuchin announced a delay in redesigning the $20 bill in order to redesign the $10 and $50 bills first to improve security features to thwart counterfeiters. The new bill design, which was expected to be made public in 2020, would be unveiled in 2028.

Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, stated, “It is important that our …. money reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that. We are exploring ways to speed up that effort.”

The image of Andrew Jackson, who has been featured on the bill since 1928, will be removed from the bill. President Biden has replaced Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office with one of Benjamin Franklin, who appears on the $100 bill. These bills are known to some as “Benjamins.” Obama once said he hoped the new $20 bills would come to be known as “Tubmans.”

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