During today’s (Jan. 25) White House press conference, press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed for reporters that the Biden administration was recommitting governmental efforts to replacing former president, Andrew Jackson, with abolitionist and overall activist Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill.
The idea was initially publicized by the Obama administration, but due to several pushbacks in the Trump era, Tubman hasn’t yet been seen on America’s twenties. After being questioned about what the timeline was regarding when Tubman’s portrait would officially begin appearing on the banknote, Psaki shared that things were underway towards getting the historical icon reflected on America’s money.
“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new twenty-dollar notes,” she said. “It’s important that our notes, our money – if people don’t know what a note is – reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”
While on the surface it seems as though Harriet Tubman being the first Black person to grace one of America’s banknotes is a really great thing, some Twitter users felt otherwise.
In a post with over 8,200 Likes and 1,600 Retweets from Monday, musician Noname gave her two cents on the news of Tubman’s bill with a tweet that read “hmm i think harriet tubman would be more interested in abolishing systems that perpetuate black suffering and death. it might make more sense to distribute money to blk communities instead of printing the image of a revolutionary on it. money that the u.s has BECAUSE of slavery.“
“The u.s dollar is a symbol of white supremacy and it maintains/expands global imperialism,” the musician added. “It has been used to suppress, colonize, and murder hundreds of millions of people. our fight is not about putting black faces on blood money, we fight to destroy capitalism.”
Similarly, user @The_Acumen also shared a critical viewpoint of the supposedly new twenty-dollar bill featuring Tubman. Describing the act as “perverse,” @The_Acumen couldn’t seem to get on board with the idea of putting a woman who was formerly sold as a slave on money to be passed through America’s capitalistic system. According to her, there are better ways the government could go about honoring the legendary abolitionist.
“Unpopular opinion,” the user began. “I don’t even want Harriet Tubman on the 20 dollar bill. Honestly I think there’s some sort of perversion in doing so. A woman who was traded as capital becoming the face of capital doesn’t sit right with my spirit.”
Later, she added, “If you wanna honor Tubman there are much better ways to do so that would change the material benefits of peoples lives. Build schools, parks, a historical center, etc in her name. Putting her face on the 20 dollar bill isn’t even a feel good. It’s giving me the yucks 🤢 ”
Even though having Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill is an amazing feat, and a symbol of tolerance, perseverance, and courage for the American people to be reminded of every time they use the currency, people aren’t wrong for being critical of how and why Tubman’s portrait is being used. In fact, the points they made shine a light on how historically, Black women have often been made to stand in the forefront while others push forward political agendas. Unfortunately, like everything else in the country these days, it seems like Tubman going on the banknote is another thing we stand divided on.
Scroll through to see some other Twitter reactions to the updated news of Harriet Tubman being memorialized on the twenty-dollar bill: