Now that Joe Biden has moved into the White House, the 46th President of the United States and his administration are moving ahead with steps to celebrate the contributions made by Harriet Tubman and feature her image on the $20 bill.
The initial change to the bill, which currently has the 17th President, Andrew Jackson on the front, was first announced during the Obama administration in 2016 but was later halted by former President Donald Trump, USA Today reports. Jackson was a well known slave owner of hundreds of slaves in his day and also responsible for the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Native Americans.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that Biden’s administration is exploring ways to speed up the effort and said that it is critical that the country’s currency can reflect both the history and diversity of the United states.
According to CNBC, the new design for the $20 bill was first scheduled in alignment with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020, which granted women the right to vote. However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the department needed to first prioritize new security features on the bill.
"The primary reason we've looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues," Mnuchin said during a 2019 congressional hearing. "Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028. The $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand.
As of 2021, no women or people of color have ever been permanently pictured on the front side of U.S. currency. The last time a portrait on a U.S. bill was changed dates back to 1929, after Alexander Hamilton was put on the front of the $10 bill, replacing Jackson. Jackson was then moved to the $20 bill in 1928.