There is a current campaign to literally change the face of money. Or I should say change the face on money.
The Women On 20s campaign aims to convince the current administration that it’s time to put a woman’s face on paper currency. They believe the change would promote full political, social and economic equality for women. Organizers hope to make the change by 2020 which marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.
According to the Women on 20s campaign while women have been on U.S. currency in the past, a woman’s image has never been on widely circulated paper bills:
The nation’s most famous suffragist, Susan B. Anthony, became the first woman to have her portrait on American coinage, not counting Lady Liberty, when President Jimmy Carter signed the law ordering a change in size, weight and design of the large Eisenhower one-dollar coin in 1978. But fewer than 800 million were minted before the public got sick of mistaking them for quarters. Congress then replaced the beleaguered silver SBA with a gold-colored dollar depicting another legendary woman, Shoshone Indian guide Sacagawea, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition. That coin appeared January 27, 2000. But when the change was ordered, Congress had decreed that the SBA dollars remain in circulation. Still, neither coin saw popular use.
Their target is Andrew Jackson, our seventh president and the image on the $20 dollar bill. He’s an easy target since he is known for playing a large part in the passage of the Indian Removal Act that led to the death of thousands of Native Americans from exposure, disease and starvation during the Trail of Tears mass relocation. He was a supporter of the institution of slavery and owned slaves, which was the source of his wealth. The Hermitage was Jackson’s 1,000 acre cotton plantation that relied completely on the labor of enslaved Africans. At the time of his death, he owned 150 people who lived and worked on his property. And he was also a critic of the central banking system and paper currency.
The slate of nominees for Jackson’s replacement was chosen from a list of 100 women by jurists who were asked to consider both achievement and obstacles overcome. They are considered “distrupters,” women who led the way and dared to think differently. The list of finalists includes: American environmental movement founder Rachel Carson, leaders of the suffrage movement Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman.
As we near the end of Women’s History Month, I think it’s only appropriate that I cast a vote as well. Harriet Tubman is my pick. Abolitionist, humanitarian, suffragist, Union operative, she freed herself from slavery and then led 19 missions back into slave territory to rescue hundreds of others. There was a $40,000 bounty for her capture. Replacing Andrew Jackson’s face with hers would definitely bring satisfaction and unquestionable joy every time I spend a $20.