Who Will Be On The $10 Bill? Hopefully The New Face Will Belong To One Of These 6 Iconic Women
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday that a woman's image will grace the $10 bill starting in 2020 — finally! It's the first time since 1896 that a woman will be the face of a paper currency (Martha Washington was on the $1 silver certificate from 1891 until 1896). For activists — and women in general — it's a long-overdue honor. Now the only question is: Who will be on the $10 bill? Hopefully, it'll be one of these iconic women from American history.
The Treasury Department chose the $10 bill because it was due for a scheduled redesign anyway. Many activists petitioned for a woman to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, but the timing of the $10 bill's redesign still seems to make a lot of sense. In 2020, the United States will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — the amendment that gave women the right to vote. I'll cheers to that.
Ultimately, Lew gets to decide whose face will join Andrew Hamilton on the bill — but he's open to suggestions, and he's given us some guidelines to follow. CNN Money reported Wednesday the Treasury Department will launch a website and a social media campaign to accept suggestions. Social media users can post with the hashtag #TheNew10 to have their suggestion considered. According to the same report, Lew wants the woman on the new $10 bill to represent American democracy. By law, the person should no longer be living. Ready to put your vote in? Consider one of these leading ladies:
1. Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony led the fight for women's suffrage. She founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 and led the group until 1900. In 1872, some 40 years before women would earn the right to vote, Anthony was arrested, tried, and convicted for voting — against the law. There are few things more democratic than voting, and there are few women more tied to the 19th Amendment than Susan B. Anthony.
2. Harriet Tubman
Throughout the 1800s, Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. She also helped Union forces to victory in the Civil War. In 1863, she led an armed expedition known as the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina. She was the first woman to lead such an expedition in the Civil War, and now she could be the first woman in more than a century to be depicted on a paper currency.
3. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt was much more than a First Lady. She was a writer, a teacher, and an advocate for human rights before, during, and after her time in the White House. She cofounded a nonprofit furniture company, she wrote a syndicated newspaper column for almost 30 years, and she served as a delegate to the United Nations, where she oversaw the development of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights.
4. Wilma Mankiller
Like some of the other ladies on this list, Wilma Mankiller has been suggested by activist groups for placement on the currency. In 1985, she became the first woman to be elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. She was also a successful author and a professor at Dartmouth College. In 1993, Mankiller was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, and later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. As a representative of some of the earliest Americans, Mankiller would be a fitting face for the $10 bill.
5. Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks is often referred to as the "mother of the freedom movement," and for good reason. Her famous refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and her subsequent arrest sparked the protests that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and symbolized resistance against segregation in American society. Parks, who has two memorial holidays in her honor, worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and the NAACP to desegregate public transportation and services within the South, as well as enact change across the states.
6. Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger popularized a fight that we still face in American democracy today: reproductive rights. In 1914, she coined the phrase, "birth control." In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic. She also founded Planned Parenthood. With reproductive rights still a hot-button issue to this day, Sanger is an unlikely choice — but it still couldn't hurt to get her name out here.
The Treasury Department plans to announce the new face of the $10 bill later this year. There's certainly no shortage of candidates and no shortage of stories to be told. Don't forget to voice your opinion on social media with #TheNew10!
Reporter Hope Racine contributed to this story.
Images: Library of Congress (3); Getty Images (3)