Tubman Back on Track to Front $20 Bill

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January 25, 2021

Efforts have resumed to put the face of famed slave rescuer Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

The U.S. Government in 2016 announced plans to put the famed Underground Railroad "conductor" on the bank note, replacing former President Andrew Jackson. A change in presidential administrations resulted in less desire for such a change. In May 2019, then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a timeline that would have seen Tubman on the $20 bill in 2028.

The new President, Joe Biden, has nominated Janet Yellen to head up the Treasury Department. (She would be the first Secretary of the Treasury in the history of the country.) The Treasury Department is expected to announce an expedited timeline soon. The 2016 announcement slated Jackson's face to move to the back of the bill, replacing a depiction of the White House. Jackson has been on the front of the bill since 1928.

Tubman would be the first woman of any skin color to appear on a mainstream American paper note. She is widely known as one of the prime movers of the Underground Railroad, a secret network of escape routes and safe houses designed to help enslaved African-Americans find their freedom in the early to mid-19th Century. Tubman was the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, traveling behind enemy lines more than 100 times to help others to freedom in the North. She was literally and figuratively a "guiding light," helping hundreds of people to find freedom away from a life of slavery.

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