“For Why!!??” you ask.
The answer: Perhaps because it’s about time.
In recorded U.S. history, only one woman has appeared on American paper money. Martha Washington’s picture was on $1 silver certificates back in the 1880’s. Since then it’s been all men..all the time (and not all presidents).
There is a movement afoot to put a woman on the U.S. $20 bill — and bid farewell to the face of our 7th president Andrew Jackson — a renowned American military hero. But why give Andy the ol’ shoe dance? According to the website Women On 20s, there are two reasons:
1. Jackson’s support of Congressional action to remove Native Americans from their southeastern land to make room for European settlers. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 is commonly referred to by historians and Native Americans as “The Trail of Tears”.
2. Jackson’s preference of gold and silver coin currency over the central banking system model of paper money displays — for many — the irony of having Jackson’s image on U.S. currency today.
A list of 15 women were in the first round of voting, That has since been reduced to a final four. Among those that didn’t make the cut were: veteran of the dollar coin Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist and suffragist), Clara Barton (creator of the American Red Cross), Shirley Chisolm (1st Black woman elected to Congress) and controversial choice Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood).
No…Oprah was not in the running!
Below are the four finalists — one of which will be submitted to the White House for consideration to appear on the $20 bill. The descriptions are from the Women on 20s site. They are (alphabetically):
1. Wilma Mankiller
Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and first elected female Chief of a Native nation in modern times. Her 10-year administration, from 1985-1995, revitalized the Nation through extensive community development, self-help, education and healthcare programs for the Cherokee Nation’s 300,000 citizens. Read more.
2. Rosa Parks
Saluted by Congress as the “first lady of civil rights,” she challenged racial segregation by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest, and the ensuing Montgomery bus boycott, became symbols in the struggle for racial equality and civil rights in the United States.
3. Eleanor Roosevelt
Redefined the role of First Lady. Used her newspaper column, radio and speeches to champion civil and women’s rights, often in opposition to her husband FDR’s policies. As a UN delegate and “First Lady of the World,” she drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
4. Harriet Tubman
Born a slave, she fled North to freedom, later making 19 trips back to the South as an Underground Railroad conductor, leading some 300 slaves to freedom. A nurse during the Civil War, she served the Union army as a scout and spy. She was active in the women’s suffrage movement after the war.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on who the choice should be, if there’s someone who was left out, or — perhaps — if there should even be a choice at all.
Ready.. Set.. Discuss.