Seeds: As most of us know, the history that surrounds the men who grace our currency is filled with contradictions. These men are known for believing that “all men are created equal,” but only if those men were land owning and white. These men claimed to value peace above all else, but were willing to kill and remove Native Americans from land they had occupied for centuries in order to attain such peace. Despite these contradictions, we continue to honor these men each and every day on our currency. In late 2015, in an effort to reflect the nation that the US has grown to be, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman would appear on US currency beginning in the year 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Core: This past spring, the United States Treasury announced that abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. Tubman was originally supposed to replace the nation’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, but the interest and enthusiasm currently surrounding the Founding Father due to the Broadway smash hit, Hamilton, caused the Treasury to change its mind. However, the backs of the $10 bill, along with the $5 bill, will still be subject to some changes, most of which incorporate historically prominent women into their designs.
Skin: Some have rejoiced in the progress that the currency redesign represents. Others argue that it is disrespectful to American traditions and to Andrew Jackson himself, stating that Tubman should have been given her own $25 bill instead of replacing the former President. Furthermore, some argue that the redesign is a result of the overly “PC” agenda of President Obama’s administration and that the currency should have been left alone entirely.
Leaves: While the changing of US currency will not produce an end to sexism or racism in this country, it is a meaningful symbol of progress. The “melting pot” of America is now going to be reflected on our currency. What we were and what we wish to become will now share the same bill. And yes, the United States is slowly becoming a country that would be unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers, but we have to ask ourselves, is that such a bad thing?
Food For Thought: What do you think of the changes to the US currency? Do you think that putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is a step in the right direction?