Plan for escaped slave to be featured on $US20 note revived by Biden White House

Washington: The US Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put escaped slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $US20 bill, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, local time.

The redesigned bill was initially due to be unveiled last year, but those efforts were halted by the Treasury after former president Donald Trump called them an example of “pure political correctness”.

As a presidential candidate, Trump suggested Tubman would be better-suited for the $US2 bill, a note that is not widely circulated.

This image provided by the Library of Congress shows Harriet Tubman, between 1860 and 1875.Credit:AP

Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers in May 2019 that he was focused on redesigning the bills to address counterfeiting issues, not making any changes to their imagery.

Tubman, who was born into slavery and grew up on a Maryland plantation before escaping in her late 20s, would replace Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, on the front of the $US20 bill.

Pushing for the recognition of Harriet Tubman on the US$20 bill at a town hall meeting in New York state in 2015. Credit:AP

Tubman returned to the South many times to help hundreds of slaves to freedom and later worked as a Union spy during the Civil War. She died in 1913.

There have been no women depicted on US bills since former first lady Martha Washington, who was featured on the $US1 silver certificate from 1891 to 1896, and Native American woman Pocahontas, who was included in a group image on the $US20 bill from 1865 to 1869.

Other women, including Native American interpreter Sacagawea, suffragist Susan B. Anthony and author and activist Helen Keller have been featured on coins.

Jackson has been criticised for his ownership of slaves and treatment of American Indians. In the redesign announced that had been announced in 2016, he would have remained on the back of the $US20 bill.

Treasury officials had no immediate comment.


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