Success! 5 Reasons Harriet Tubman Is a Great Choice for the $20 Bill

You want a woman on the $20? Okay, you’re getting a woman on the $20!

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew just made the announcement that we’re finally getting our first woman on paper currency. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson when the $20 bill is redesigned in 2020.

The decision is not just a stroke of good fortune – it’s the result of the efforts by activists calling for this change. Thenon-profit organization Women on 20sstarted a Care2 petition signed by over 60,000 activistsasking for – you guessed it – a woman on the $20 bill.This was after more than 600,000 people took Women on 20s’ poll and chose Tubman as the best choice for the $20.

Additionally, over 30,000 Care2 members asked Secretary Lew to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 billon a separate petition. It’s great to see that both of these petitions proved successful!

Originally, a woman was slated to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, but the unexpected popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton seems to have provided the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury with a stay of execution. It’s a fine turn of events considering that Jackson was a violent, spiteful and terrible president anyway.

Plus, Tubman is a fantastic choice for a number of reasons:

1. She Was a Smart and Brave Protector of Liberties

It probably goes without saying, but Tubman’s legacy of freeing slaves is nothing short of remarkable. Over the span of a decade, Tubman managed to save at least 300 blacks from slavery by quietly and carefully escorting them to the North.

Tubman proved that she was courageous by returning to the South 19 times in order to free more slaves, despite wanted posters calling for her arrest. Moreover, she proved herself to be intensely clever and resourceful by managing to evade capture during all of these trips. She famously never lost a single person on her guided trek toward freedom.

This country prides itself on being a land of liberty. No single liberty can be more essential than the kind Tubman was able to secure for the 300 “passengers” on her trips through the Underground Railroad.

2. She Was a Slave

It may seem redundant to talk about how Tubman was a slave after talking about how she helped free her fellow slaves, but this point goes deeper than that were putting a former slave on our currency.

Though slavery hasn’t been erased from U.S. history books, it’s a subject that Americans today don’t often give enough consideration to. This country kidnapped and enslaved a race of people, and that’s an embarrassing, dreadful part of history that we need to be reminded of more frequently.

The economy of this country was largely built on the backs of slave labor. Good people, like Tubman, were reduced to pieces of property and exploited in the most inhumane way. I think it’s totally appropriate to be confronted with that reality each time you go to an ATM.

3. She Advocated for Womens Rights

While Tubman’s name is synonymous with racial equality, she devoted much of her later years to promoting equality for women, as well. Looking at Tubman’s own fearless actions, it only makes sense that she would consider women just as capable as any man.

Historians debate whether it’s fair to call Tubman a “leader” in the suffrage movement, but she often spoke alongside other big names like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Tubman’s speeches on progress and equality were acclaimed by audiences, which is a particularly impressive accomplishment for a woman who never learned to read or write.

4. She Was a Spy for the Union Army

At the time of the Civil War, Tubman wanted to aid in the effort to defeat the South, and, like other women at the time, volunteered her services as a nurse. She did well in this role, but thought her talents were being underutilized, so she pitched the idea of becoming a spy to army commanders.

Surprisingly, her offer was accepted. As a diminutive black woman, Tubman was able to sneak around plantations, gathering intelligence from the slaves. She would later return with troops to burn down plantations and disrupt the South’s commerce, all the while freeing slaves who could then join the Union army.

The Union Army may have failed to recognize her as a war hero, but Tubman does have the unsung distinction of being the only woman to lead male soldiers in the Civil War.

5. She Was a Righteous Rule-Breaker

Somehow, Americans today have fallen into the mentality that being patriotic means following the law and obeying authority. On the contrary, so many of our most impressive historical figures were nothing like that, with Tubman being no exception. While it’s easy to say that Tubman did the “right” thing now, at the time she was considered an outlaw.

It’s exciting to see a willfully disobedient person heralded as a hero. Not all laws are just, and Tubman proved herself to be a true patriot by refusing to accept an unfair system. She’s a rebel who fought for change by breaking the rules what a great embodiment of the American spirit.

I literally cannot think of a more fascinating, accomplished American man or woman, black or white that deserves this honor. Good call, U.S. Treasury Department!

Photo Credit: Public domain


Christine J
Christine J9 months ago

It's sad that there's more slavery globally today than in Harriet Tubman's day. It's just not out in the open. We must keep fighting it though.

Elisa F
Elisa F9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah H1 years ago

Thanks, but I think we should leave it the way it is.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran1 years ago








Elaine W.
Past Member 1 years ago

I am glad that this is going to happen.