My husband is a history junkie. His undergrad and graduate degree are both in history. When the news broke this week about Harriet Tubman taking over the twenty dollar bill, of course we had to discuss it! That’s one of our things, debating and discussing hot topics in the news. He sends me daily articles and it keeps me in the loop and on my toes. He’s also been blessed with an opportunity at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Right up his alley!
His thoughts on the Harriet Tubman topic was intriguing so I wanted to share. Below are his thoughts….
“Interesting enough the iconic figure Harriet Tubman will now grace the face of the updated $20. Some may say we have come a long way, but others may beg to differ. Historians have come forth outlying the irony of placing Tubman on the twenty dollar bill along with former slave owner Andrew Jackson. Jackson who himself owned slaves, and has a etched legacy in American Society. From my perspective this paints a poor picture of the way we should honor this beacon of freedom. Furthermore, isn’t it even more ironic that this ruling is released in the midst of the ongoing presidential debate.
What I find most captivating ill of all the monetary sums in American society, there are still present remnants of the once “peculiar institution” as it was then known. For example, take a look at the back of the five cent piece (the nickel), and you would see Monticello, the home of George Washington. The plantation site that its owner, the 1st President of the United States actively participating in the institution of slavery.
Is this progress? When blacks have the most spending power in this country yet own next to nothing in our own communities. I personally do not think this it is progress, possibly something that is well overdue. Will we see the same thing happen to the $20 dollar bill as we saw with the Susan B. Anthony coin? Only time will tell. –JaMarcus Underwood