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The Irony Of Harriet Tubman Being Chosen For Our U.S. $20 Bill

04/21/2016 at 11:44 | Posted by Brenda Matthews
By Artist: H. Seymour Squyer, via Getty Images
Photo Credit: By Artist: H. Seymour Squyer, via Getty Images

Here it is –  the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We are replacing on our American currency, a war-hero with a less-than-admirable-humanitarian record with a slave who helped others find freedom in this country, and worked for women to have the right to vote and participate in the government that rules us all.

It’s time.  Time for a change on the $20.


President Andrew Jackson has been on our U.S. $20 bill since 1928.



Aside from being our 7th President and a war hero during the War of 1812, Jackson’s history is fraught with controversy.  As a 13 year-old, he acted as a courier during the Revolutionary War and was captured and mistreated by his British captors.  Jackson grew up to be a hothead, and a notorious gambler and wagered on dice, on cards and even on cockfights. Eventually, he became a lawyer and politician. During his presidency, he signed the Indian Removal Act, resulting in theTrail of Tears.’ Jackson purchased Hermitage Plantation near Nashville, Tennessee, and owned somewhere between 150-300 slaves, according to 

Though we have mixed feelings about Andrew Jackson in this area, after all, he came from the ‘land of the Waxhaws,’ somewhere right here near the NC/SC line, though details are sketchy. We also remain painfully aware of the results of the ‘Indian Removal Act.’  Need a refresher?  Head to Cherokee, NC.


Here’s the irony of Harriet Tubman. 


Woodcut artist not listed; W.J. Moses, printer; via


Harriet Tubman was, according to Wikipedia, “An African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and a Union spy during the American Civil War. She was born into slavery in Maryland. Tubman “was beaten and whipped and injured while enslaved, leaving lasting injuries. Harriet and two of her brothers escaped slavery for Pennsylvania in 1849.

Making use of the ‘underground railroad network,’ Wikipedia continues, “Over 11 years, Tubman returned repeatedly to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, rescuing some 70 slaves in about thirteen expeditions, including her three other brothers…wives and some of their children. She also provided specific instructions to 50 to 60 additional fugitives who escaped to the north. “

Tubman also has a history here in the Carolinas.  Wikipedia say she “served as a nurse in Port Royal, (SC) preparing remedies from local plants and aiding soldiers suffering from dysentery.”

There’s more: “In her later years, Tubman worked to promote the cause of women’s suffrage. A white woman once asked Tubman whether she believed women ought to have the vote, and received the reply: “I suffered enough to believe it.“Tubman began attending meetings of suffragist organizations, and was soon working alongside women such as Susan B. Anthony and Emily Howland.


Tell me it’s not time for a woman – this woman – to be honored on our U.S. currency.


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