Dr. Ben Carson wants to “honor those who have done great things.” But when it comes to Harriet Tubman becoming the first African-American to appear on American currency, he said hold on, not so fast.
The suffragist and abolitionist who helped free slaves through the Underground Railroad will appear on the $20 bill instead of former POTUS Andrew Jackson, it was announced Wednesday. For Carson, this just isn’t right.
“I love Harriet Tubman,” Carson said. “I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.”
“Andrew Jackson … was a tremendous president,” Carson explained. “I mean, Andrew Jackson was the last president who actually balanced the federal budget, where we had no national debt.”
He added, ““That’s no small feat.”
Carson said he’s even open to the idea of Tubman and Jackson sharing the bill, with one person on each side.
“That would be very symbolic, because Harriet Tubman was a slave. Andrew Jackson was a slave owner,” he said. “And to give them equality like that I think would be a great symbol.”
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who made the announcement about the currency changes on Wednesday, said, “I’m very excited by it and I think it’s much bigger than just honoring one woman. This is about saying that our money is going to tell a much bigger part of our story.”
While the $10 bill will see depictions of the women who fought for the right to vote, other prominent historical figures will appear on the $5 bill like Martin Luther King Jr. and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in 2020, the new bills will be unveiled and will go into circulation shortly thereafter.
Harriet Tubman once said, “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”
(Photos from left: H.B. Lindsley/Library of Congress via AP, Joe Raedle/Getty Images)