Anti-slavery figure Harriet Tubman to grace US $20 bill

  • 21/04/2016
Harriet Tubman (Reuters)
Harriet Tubman (Reuters)

Anti-slavery crusader Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American to be featured on the face of US paper currency when she replaces President Andrew Jackson on the US$20 bill.

Anti-slavery figure Harriet Tubman to grace US $20 bill

Harriet Tubman (Reuters)

The US Treasury Department announced on Wednesday she will also be the first woman on US paper currency in more than a century.

The redesigned US$20 bill will move Jackson to the back of the bill alongside an image of the White House, Treasury officials said.

Anti-slavery figure Harriet Tubman to grace US $20 bill


A new US$10 bill will keep founding father Alexander Hamilton on the front, while adding images of five women, all leaders of the women's suffrage movement, to the back.

The slew of changes gives the Treasury "a chance to open the aperture to reflect more of America's history", Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said.

The decision to replace the seventh president of the United States with Ms Tubman, who was born a slave and helped hundreds of slaves escape using the Underground Railroad, followed public outreach by the Treasury Department.

While no depictions of African-Americans have appeared on US currency, the signatures of five African-Americans have been on it.

Native American Sacagawea has been featured on the gold dollar coin since 1999, and suffragist Susan Anthony has appeared on the silver dollar coin since 1979.

Deaf-blind author and activist Helen Keller is on the back of the Alabama quarter, which was first issued in 2003.

Prompted partly by a young girl's letter to President Barack Obama about the lack of women on US currency, a social media campaign last year called "Women on 20s" began pushing for a woman to replace Jackson.

On Wednesday, the movement's leaders said they were "ready to claim victory" but only if the bill was issued by 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.

US Treasury spokesman Rob Runyan could not say when the redesigned bill would be issued.

The women last depicted on US bills were first lady Martha Washington on the US$1 silver certificate from 1891 to 1896, and Native American Pocahontas in a group photo on the US$20 bill from 1865 to 1869.