We Might See Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill Sooner Than Expected

The Biden administration is exploring accelerating this process

Harriet Tubman sign
A sign marking the historic spot where American abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) lived, served and frequented in Auburn, New York.
Epics/Getty Images

In the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the US Treasury announced a few changes to the nation’s currency. The most significant of these? The new face of the $20 bill was to be abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman. Andrew Jackson, whose face is currently on the bill, is a contentious figure to many. Jackson was a slave owner and presided over the forced removal of Native Americans from their land; Tubman helped many enslaved people to freedom and contributed to the Union’s victory in the Civil War.

Initially, the design for the new $20 bills was set to be released in 2020, but the changeover was put on hold by the administration of Donald Trump — not necessarily surprising, given how frequently Trump spoke of his admiration for Jackson.

Now, the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House has prompted yet another shift on the timing of the redesigned $20 bill. According to Joanna Walters at The Guardian, the Biden administration is looking to accelerate the process begun during his former running mate’s time in office.

“It’s important that our money reflect the history and diversity of our country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. The long-awaited addition of Tubman’s portrait to the $20 bill would go a long way towards this goal — and honoring an extraordinary figure in American history.

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