Behold, the power of ‘Hamilton.’
The money in your pocket is about to get a long-awaited facelift—but not the one you were expecting.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday announced the placement of the first woman on U.S. paper currency. Famed Civil War-era abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president and a staunch opponent of central banking, on the front of the $20 bill. Jackson will remain on the back.
Contrary to a Treasury announcement in June, the $10 bill will continue to feature Alexander Hamilton, one of the country’s Founding Fathers, on the front of the bill, but the back will be updated to show five women of the civil-rights era: Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul.
The $5 bill, which features Abraham Lincoln on the front, will also be updated, with the back showing “history events that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial,” Lew said in a public letter.
“Due to security needs, the redesigned $10 note is scheduled to go into circulation next,” Lew wrote. “I have directed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to work closely with the Federal Reserve to accelerate work on the new $20 and $5 notes. Our goal is to have all three new notes go into circulation as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we protect against counterfeiting through effective and sophisticated production.”
The decision not to remove Hamilton from the $10 appears to be the result of efforts by fans and cast members of the popular Broadway show Hamilton. Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who on Monday won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play, tweeted last month that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had told him, “You’re going to be very happy” about the department’s decision.
Efforts to replace Jackson with Tubman began just over a year ago with an online campaign by the group Women on 20s. The group proposed a list of 15 women that it thought should replace Jackson on the $20 bill. Tubman topped the list, followed by Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks.
“We had been looking to this Treasury Secretary to put a woman front and center as soon as possible and powerfully inspire the quest for gender equality going forward,” Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women on 20s, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is an important step in moving us closer to that goal.”
Ades Stone called the move “a victory for the millions of American people, young and old, who cared enough about women and their worth to rally for this historic change.”
The new $5, $10, and $20 bills will be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
Update 3:07pm CT, April 20: Story changed to reflect official announcement.
Update 4:45pm CT, April 20: Added comment from Women on 20s.
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