It looks like Andrew Jackson is out and a new face will be gracing the $20 U.S. bill.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced on Wednesday (April 20) the portrait of Harriet Tubman will be featured on the front of the new $20, as well as plans for new $10 and $5 notes.
In an open letter, Secretary Lew said:
“The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old. I have been particularly struck by the many comments and reactions from children for whom Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy. You shared your thoughts about her life and her works and how they changed our nation and represented our most cherished values.”
While it’s not unprecedented to change banknote designs, the last time the face on U.S. paper currency was changed was in 1929 when Alexander Hamilton moved from the $1,000 bill to the $10, bumping Andrew Jackson from the $10 to the $20, and displacing Grover Cleveland from the $20 to the $1,000.
Many have lobbied for Andrew Jackson to be pulled from the $20 note due to the fact that he supported and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which relocated a number of Native American tribes to what is now Oklahoma in what’s often referred to as the “Trail of Tears.” The year 2020 is also the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote and is another reason some have called for Jackson’s replacement to be a woman.
While Lew noted that Tubman’s “incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates,” there are some who are less than thrilled with the announcement.
Former GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson told Fox Business that he disagreed with the decision and felt that though he “loves Harriet Tubman,” she should be honored in a different way, like being placed on the rarely circulated $2 bill instead, The Huffington Post reported.
“Andrew Jackson was the last president who actually balanced the federal budget, where we had no national debt,” Carson explained. “In honor of that, we kick him off of the money.”
Lew confirmed that the final designs for the new $20, $10 and $5 bills will be unveiled in 2020.