What Will The New Harriet Tubman 20 Dollar Bill Look Like? Probably Pretty Darn Amazing — PHOTOS
After news that Alexander Hamilton would be staying on the 10 dollar bill (sorry, Susan B. Anthony), it was announced that the first woman to appear on U.S. currency would be abolitionist and human rights activist Harriet Tubman. So, what will the Harriet Tubman new $20 bill look like? The currency relaunch might not roll out for years, but in the meantime, there are a few artist renderings of what the new bills might look like floating around the internet so far.
After initially presenting a plan that would place Susan B. Anthony on the face of the $10 bill to commemorate a century of women's suffrage, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew decided to take a step back and gauge the reaction of the public — which is what inspired him to think bigger.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Secretary Lew didn't necessarily expect that Tubman would be featured on the new $20. However, "the story of Harriet Tubman in so many ways is a powerful one about how an individual can change the course of this country by dint of their own actions and their own determination,” Lew told the Journal. Tubman not only worked to free slaves on the Underground Railroad, she was a life-long advocate for human rights and social justice.
President Andrew Jackson, the current occupant of on the front of our $20 bills, will not disappear completely from view Lew said; Jackson's portrait will be moved to the back of the banknote. Another artist's rendering of a possible, if traditional, 20 dollar note featuring Tubman.
Since few photographic images exist of Tubman, it is highly likely that an artist will be commissioned to create a likeness of Tubman to feature on the $20. A bold, avant-garde choice could use this 1947 sculpture of Tubman by Frederic Jean Thalinger as a base image.
Whether or not the addition of Harriet Tubman to the face of the $20, and the concurrent update of the $10 and $5 bills, will also signal a broader stylistic change in the look of U.S. currency is another unresolved question. As new anti-counterfeiting measures are implemented, the look and feel of modern paper currency has undergone some pretty dramatic upgrades, depending on where you live.
With years to go until the new design featuring Tubman is rolled out onto the $20, some might say it's too little, too late. However, the move to make American currency more truly representative of the history of the country is a laudable effort.
Image: Wikimedia Commons (1)