Harriet Tubman’s family ‘disappointed’ by lack of action on $20 bills

Photo: Getty Images

2020 was supposed to be year Americans would get to use $20 bills featuring Harriet Tubman, but as we come the end of 2021, Tubman’s family say they feel “disappointed” by the lack of action and unfulfilled promise.

“Our family has three nonagenarians –– women in 90s,” Michele Jones Galvin, one of Tubman’s descendants who authored a biography on the heroic activist, told Spectrum News.

“When this was talked about right out of the gate in the Biden Administration, they thought it would happen in their lifetime. We are hoping that it is done,” Gavin said.

The US Treasury Department first announced the Tubman $20s on April 20, 2016, when then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew hailed Tubman’s life’s work and bravery.

“Looking back on her life, Tubman once said, ‘I would fight for liberty so long as my strength lasted,'” Lew wrote in the 2016 announcement. “And she did fight, for the freedom of slaves and for the right of women to vote. Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates, and we will continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency.”

The front of the new $20 will bear the portrait of Harriet Tubman, whose life was dedicated to fighting for liberty. pic.twitter.com/8lAEkoD78p

— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) April 20, 2016

Galvin says the family of the famed abolitionist had been looking forward to seeing the day that she would be on the $20 bill, but the efforts were stalled under the administration of Donald Trump.

At the time Trump said the replacement was about “pure political correctness” and that the nation’s 7th president had a “great history.” That history includes signing the Indian Removal Act into law.

Photo: Getty Images

In January 2021, President Joe Biden‘s administration said it would look into ways to speed up the days set in place by Trump.

“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on January 25, 2021. “It’s important that our money reflect the history and diversity of our country.”

But there’s still no exact dates for when the bills will arrive. The next note slated for redesign is the $10, a new version of which will arrive in 2026.

“Our thought is, if in fact, you can send a man to the moon, and you can do all kinds of things, we should have the technical ability, and the technical expertise to do what needs to be done,” Galvin said.

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