Biden Administration Revives Effort to Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

Move over, Andrew Jackson.

Mother Jones; Getty

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Biden administration will resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced today.

“It’s important that our notes…reflect the history and diversity of our country,” Psaki said at a press conference, “and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”

The decision to replace former President Andrew Jackson with abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman has been controversial since former President Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spearheaded the effort in 2016. While it’s unclear to what extent Steve Mnuchin, who served as secretary of the Treasury under President Trump, derailed the process for getting a Tubman currency into circulation, it’s fair to say the Trump administration was not enthusiastic. In 2016, Trump called the currency swap “pure political correctness” and praised Jackson’s “great history.”

Jackson, a slaveholder and anti-abolitionist, is famous for forcibly driving tens of thousands of Native Americans from their lands in the southeastern United States in a brutal voyage known as the Trail of Tears.

Tubman had a very different life story: After escaping slavery in 1849, she guided about 70 people to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The new bill is likely to enter circulation in the latter half of the decade.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate