Their images will appear on $20 and $5 bills, a first for Blacks but it is some years away
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday announced redesigns of the $5, $10, and $20 bills with the image of Harriet Tubman, a Union spy and a leader of the Underground Railroad that led hundreds of slaves to freedom, being placed on the front of the $20 bill, which circulates 7.9 years, longer than other banknotes except the $50 and $100 bills.
Tubman replaces Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, a slaveholder who persecuted Native Americans. His image will be placed on the back of the $20 bill.
Secretary Lew also announced that the redesign of the $5 bill will include historical events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. These images will include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, and opera singer Marian Anderson singing at the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 before 75,000 people after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Anderson to sing in Constitution Hall because she was African American.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who arranged for Anderson to give a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, will also have her image placed on the back of the $5 bill.
The front of the $5 bill will continue to feature President Abraham Lincoln. Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, will remain on the front of the $10 bill due to the outstanding popularity of the musical “Hamilton,” which was written by and stars Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical won a Pulitzer Prize this week.
Lew will put a vignette of suffragettes on the back of the $10 bill. The new $10 bill design depicts the 1913 women’s right to vote march. Images on the bill will honor Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul for their contributions to the women’s suffrage movement.
The Treasury Department worked on the redesigns over the last 10 months and even considered the idea of creating a $25 bill, according to Lew, who announced the redesigns last June.
The final redesigns for the three bills will be unveiled in 2020 and should be available before 2030.