Originally published on May 4, 2016 on the Huffington Post by Dedrick Muhammad.
This article was co-written with Kylie Patterson, Senior Manager at the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative
On April 20, 2016 Treasury Secretary Lew announced design plans for the new $20, $10 and $5 bills. The fanfare, mostly positive, focused on the proposed new face of the $20: abolitionist, Civil War veteran, suffragist, former slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman, who led a multitude to freedom, fought against women’s disenfranchisement and acted as scout during the Civil War, constantly fought andworked for civil rights. Placing Harriet Tubman on the face of the $20 bill is an important step in recognizing the contributions of all of those who fought for freedom in this county, which for so long denied (and continues to deny) freedom to too many of its inhabitants. Placing black faces and the faces of others who have been disenfranchised on our legal currency is a positive, albeit symbolic, step in the acknowledgement of past wrongs. But it must be accompanied by practical steps forward in addressing today’s injustices.
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