Pay it forward: Harriet Tubman replaces Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

(Michelle Krichevskaya / The DePaulia)
(Michelle Krichevskaya / The DePaulia)

Americans on social media this week have not been able to stop talking about one hot-button issue: the announcement that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will now be the image on the front of the $20 bill. She will be replacing President Andrew Jackson, who will be moved to the back of the bill. Despite opposition for this change, this is an important milestone for both people of color and women, since neither are featured on any American bills.

It is hard to imagine why there would be opposition for this change, considering Tubman was an incredible activist and abolitionist during the Civil War, instigating significant change and helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Jackson, on the other hand, created his legacy through the Trail of Tears by forcing Native Americans out of their homes, killing thousands in the process. It seems clear which of these historical figures deserves to have their face featured on American currency, yet many have expressed disdain for this change. Specifically, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took issue with the switch.

“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” Trump said. “I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”

Trump seems to be forgetting Jackson’s problematic treatment of Native Americans by saying that he had a great history, and is diminishing Tubman’s accomplishments by believing that she does not deserve to replace America’s troublesome seventh president.

On the flip side, many people feel that Jackson should be removed from the bill entirely and Tubman should be given her rightful place on the front and back.

“She’s only getting half of a bill?” DePaul freshman Merrick Jackson said. “That’s it?”

Tubman deserves to be on the front of the $20 bill at the very least. The fact that American currency only includes the images of white men is ridiculous and outdated. Tubman’s position on the $20 bill will provide an opportunity for inclusivity and will also eliminate the problematic Andrew Jackson from his position on the front. Hopefully in the future, Tubman could be featured on both the front and the back of the bill, since her admirable role in history deserves an honor of this magnitude. Until then, we can be happy about this change and hope for more women and people of color on bills in the years to come.