The US Treasury Department is reviving former President Andrew Jackson’s plans to replace the $ 20 bill with the image of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, after Donald Trump put the brakes on the idea.
The move underscores the cultural shift that accompanied the change of administration in Washington this month, with Joe Biden moving to honor a symbol of the struggle against slavery.
Tubman is best known for leading a series of intrepid missions to free around 70 people using the so-called Underground Railroad to help slaves escape. She would be the first African-American to feature on US currency if the plan was implemented.
“It’s important that our grades – our money. . . reflect the history and diversity of our country and the image of Harriet Tubman adorning the $ 20 bill would certainly reflect that, ”White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing Monday. “So we are exploring ways to accelerate this effort.”
Under Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, the administration of Barack Obama had plans announced to place Tubman on the $ 20 bill. The effort was ridiculed by Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign as “pure political correctness.” His Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin then put the plans waiting.
Mr. Trump is a longtime Jackson admirer and had a portrait of the seventh U.S. president in the Oval Office, which has since been removed by Mr. Biden.
The speed at which the Biden administration confirmed it wanted to move forward with plans to place Tubman on the $ 20 bill underscores the importance of racial justice issues to the new administration.
Last week Mr. Biden signed one of his first racial equality decrees, including the revocation of the “1776 commission” set up by Mr. Trump last year to provide “patriotic education” to Americans and eradicate efforts to highlight the history of slavery.
The White House announcement on plans for the $ 20 note came as Janet Yellen, former Federal Reserve chairwoman, neared confirmation by the US Senate to become the next US Treasury Secretary under Mr. Biden.
Ms Yellen, 74, was due to receive bipartisan Senate approval. She would be the first woman to hold the post.