by Analisa Novak
Harriet Tubman will now be the face you see every time you touch a $20 bill. It was announced last week that the United States Treasury Department decided to give former President Andrew Jackson the boot and put African-American-Abolitionist Tubman on the face of the new $20 bill.
This decision represents so much to both women and African-Americans.
Not trying to down Jackson’s reputation but he was a sub-par president to say the least. He didn’t accomplish the things others featured on currency such as Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. He also represents a part of American history often sugarcoated. Jackson was co-executor of the “Trail Of Tears,” a forceful Native American relocation event.
This event lead to thousands of lives being lost in death marches and even more once they reached the camps. Native Americans were starved, exposed to diseases and separated from their families. Jackson probably wasn’t a barbarian and was a victim of the time he was living in. At this time, Indians and Americans were at war for territory. Jackson also owned slaves, which was extremely common during early American history.
But while Jackson represents a dark part in our countries history, Tubman represents the essences of this country’s moral.
Tubman willingly sacrificed her life and put herself in danger every time she led slaves to the path of freedom. She never once let fear interfere with her ideals. She, as an African-American woman, is the ideal person to put on the $20 bill because she represents progress, not oppression. African-Americans have always and to this day continue to deal with the repercussions of slavery.
Even if it was abolished many years ago, the discrimination has remained in our society. Women were also discriminated against in our country’s history and they continue to feel discrimination in many aspects. Even though this country has many historical women whose accomplishments can be featured, only two have been selected. Martha Washington and Sacagawea are the only women who have ever been on currency, both in coin versions.
No women up until Tubman was ever featured on a dollar bill – and I also think that speaks the volume of the inequality women receive. When we finally received the honor of being on currency, we were put on a coin.
No African-American leader has ever been featured on any currency, even though most revolutionary leaders we have had happen to be African American.
Tubman is the perfect person to represent the democracy of this country and the people that have been oppressed throughout our history.
She was the face of change during the days of the Underground Railroad and is now the face of a nation that is working hard to stop any remnants of our oppressive history.