Home / Fall 2015 / One Issue, Two Views: Woman needed on the $20, but should it be Harriet Tubman?

One Issue, Two Views: Woman needed on the $20, but should it be Harriet Tubman?

Photo Credit: MCTCampus

Written by Tyra Mills, Social Media Editor

There are a few reasons why I think that Harriet Tubman would not want to be on the front of the 20 dollar bill. Let’s take a moment to think about why Harriet Tubman was important to history in the first place. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery around 1820 in Maryland, according to the website Mathbuffalo. In 1849, she left her free husband and escaped to Philadelphia to be free. With the help of the Underground Railroad, she successfully made it there. She began rescuing others soon after.

She became known by the plantation owners for her efforts, and a bounty of $40,000 was posted. The state of Maryland posted a $12,000 reward for her capture.

Money was the demise of Harriet’s happiness. She was born into slavery; she was not given the chance to be free and experience life the way that whites did. As a slave, she was hit once with an iron weight that nearly crushed her skull and caused her to have seizures and dizzy spells the rest of her life.

I think people seem to forget how gruesome and terrible it was to be a slave. To be captured from your native home and brought to a new land to work the rest of your life;  to be beaten, whipped, and killed if you disobeyed and sometimes, for no reason; to not be educated, treated like property and looked down upon as having no real worth. The life of a slave was no life at all. Slavery is something that we have grown almost desensitized to, because we only hear about it in February or maybe one day in our history classes. It seems like it happened such a long time ago. The truth of the matter is that it didn’t happen that long ago, and black Americans are still dealing with the aftermath of that era today.

What would make anyone think that she would want to be the face of money? Money is the reason she was enslaved. Money is the reason that she spent a vast amount of her life as a slave. The state of Maryland posted a monetary reward for her capture. Who knows what they would have done had they caught her? Harriet Tubman doesn’t need to be the face of money; she deserves more of an honor then that.

If the U.S. wants to really recognize Harriet Tubman, maybe they should implement more black history into the public school history curriculums, instead of just one chapter out of a textbook. Honor our black heroes’ history outside of February.

Written by Erin Martin, Staff Writer

Out of 15 other candidates, Harriet Tubman won a poll that listed her as the most inspiring American woman in American history. This inspired a petition to get her face on the $20 bill.

While naysayers feel like this was completely insane, they should consider some reasons behind the campaign. The Women on 20’s movement had two reasons that they chose the $20 bill versus other forms of money.

First, Andrew Jackson helped pass the Indian Removal Act, which forcibly moved Native Americans from their land; also known as the Trail of Tears.

Secondly, Jackson opposed the central banking system in the United States.

They hope to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women voting rights, while removing someone who didn’t bring any positive changes to America.

“She would be a great person to add diversity to our form of currency; it would represent how diverse America is now,” said senior Terrance Johnson.

“Harriet Tubman was a very influential person who deserves the upmost respect. I see nothing wrong with the change,” said D’Yasmine Richards, senior communications major.

Harriet Tubman helped her family and hundreds of other slaves escape to freedom. She is a woman who was just as powerful and brave as the men on paper money today. Women should be given the same acknowledgements that men in history receive. Her lasting legacy promotes life and liberty.

If the public votes and supports this decision, then why not accept the change? The act alone would represent efforts towards equality for all genders and races.

For more information on the campaign, visit womenon20s.org


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