The redesigned Harriet Tubman $20 bill was supposed to debut in 2020 but it may not come out for nearly a decade according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Tubman, who was born into slavery and became a noted abolitionist and political activist, was to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. She would be the first woman, black or otherwise, to have her face on U.S. currency. The new bill was scheduled to be released in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Mnuchin said yesterday that it won’t be happening under the Trump administration. Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee.
“It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term, even if I serve the second term for the president. So I’m not focused on that for the moment.”
Mnuchin said changing how the bill looks “most likely” won’t come up again until 2026, he said, and the new $20 bill won’t be printed until 2028. Mnuchin did not explain why the Tubman bill won’t be produced on his watch and wouldn’t say whether he personally supports seeing Tubman on the money.
“I’ve made no decision as it relates to that.”
In 2017, Trump pushed back on the decision, saying,
“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill.”
(Btw, Jackson was an anti-abolitionist, slave owner, and responsible for the Indian Removal Act. The Act, also known as the Trail of Tears, was a forced relocation and mass genocide of Native American nations, in part carried out to make room for plantations and expand slave ownership in the young country. Arguably our worst President, if you don’t count the current one.)
But Artist Dano Wall has made a proactive step toward getting Tubman’s likeness onto the $20 bill NOW. Wall created a 3-D printed stamp to DIY your 20s.
“I was inspired by the news that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and subsequently saddened by the news that the Trump administration was walking back that plan. So I created a stamp to convert Jacksons into Tubmans myself. I have been stamping $20 bills and entering them into circulation for the last year, and gifting stamps to friends to do the same.
This country, and its government, have a serious problem with representation. Who we choose to honor as a society affects the moral attitudes that are baked into us as we grow up. The impact that seeing the face of Harriet Tubman staring back at you from a $20 bill should not be underestimated. This sort of representation can subtly but deeply affect someone’s conception of themselves and their place in society.”
In her book, Omarosa alleges that Trump, when shown an image of Tubman, said:
Wall says he hopes to make 100-200 additional stamps to circulate as gifts, museum donations, or prizes. He says he may raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center through auctions or raffles, or mail them anonymously to public officials.
Wall invites those interested to download and print their own versionsof the stamp on Thingiverse. He says,
“I would like to see Tubman $20s entering circulation is sufficient numbers to generate conversation about the proposed, now abandoned, plan to replace Andrew Jackson with her.”
Wall told Hyperallergic,
“I’ve gotten about 400 stamps out into the world in the last year, but would like to get more into people’s hands, especially now that I feel totally confident about the product. It might sound wildly unrealistic but my ultimate goal has become to hit 5%–10% of the $20s in circulation, at which point it would be difficult to ignore.”
Wall also provides a wealth of information about the project and Tubman’s legacy on the website tumbmanstamp.com for those interested.
People other than white men built this county. And Sec Mnuchin agrees, yet he refuses to update our #currency. #HarrietTubman #MarianAnderson & #EleanorRoosevelt are iconic Americans & its past time that our 💵 reflects that. #RepresentationMatters | https://t.co/nJmhiktHPm pic.twitter.com/hKQSR3Gl8P— Rep Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) May 22, 2019