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Black-American Woman, Harriet Tubman, New Face of the $20 Note?

William Jarmon was happy to learn that Black-American woman, Harriet Tubman, was chosen to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill — but disappointed that redesign might not take place until 2030.

“By that time we’ll all probably be using [electronic] cards,” Jarman, a board member at the Tubman Museum and Educational Center, said with a laugh. “We might not be using cash anymore.”

Turns out Jarmon needn’t have worried. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Wednesday said he’s asked the agencies involved in currency design to speed up changes to the $5, $10 and $20 bills.

If the Treasury has its way, the newly designed $20 bill will enter circulation much sooner than first thought, with the new designs ready by 2020.

“Our goal is to have all three new notes go into circulation as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we protect against counterfeiting through effective and sophisticated production,” Lew said in a news conference.

The Treasury said last year it would put a woman on the $10 bill, which now features the likeness of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first and greatest Treasury secretary. Tubman, an Antebellum-era and Civil War abolitionist, was seen a top contender.


The first hint Jarmon got that Tubman’s image would be added to the $20 came Tuesday night from a late-night skit on the Comedy Channel’s Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

The Treasury decided to move Jackson, the seventh U.S. president and a former slave owner, to the back of the $20 after a public campaign to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill. Support for Hamilton was fueled in part by the popularity of the “Hamilton” Broadway musical.

Tubman, a runaway slave who later helped countless others escape, will receive top billing instead.

Jarmon is happy that Tubman will grace the front of a U.S. bill. He called her a true humanitarian who worked to ensure that no one would be “under the whip” or enslaved to another person.

“She is very worthy,” said Jarmon, speaking from the Tubman museum in Cambridge, Md. The museum, situated a few miles from where Tubman grew up, is on the Eastern Shore about 95 miles from Washington, D.C.

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Written by PH

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