WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Sources said Monday that the face of a woman may not be replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill after all, but may instead by coming to the $20 bill.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said last June that as part of the redesign of the $10 note, he hoped to put a woman on the bill. But at the time, he couldn’t have predicted a smash Broadway musical would complicate his plans.
The smashing success of the hip-hop musical “Hamilton” brought newfound fans of the founding father rallying around the first treasury secretary-turned-pop icon.
Now, people familiar with the process told CBS News that Lew is expected to announce Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 note, and a scene of women throughout history will be added to the back.
“Alexander Hamilton is one of my heroes. He’s not leaving our money,” Lew said to Charlie Rose in an interview last month.
Lew is also expected to announce that a woman who will eventually be on the front of the $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson — what some might consider a far more prestigious placement.
“We’re going to put a woman on the face of our currency. And this is not just about the $10 bill. This is about a whole series of bills,” Lew told Rose.
It wasn’t just musical, which has just won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama, that derailed the original plan. There was also an outpouring of negative reaction on social media and input from groups like Women on 20s, which wrote an open letter to Lew last week saying: “Relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus. The Rosa Parks analogies are inevitable.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., had argued last year that a woman should go on the $20 bill while Hamilton should keep his place on the $10.
“Jackson was a slave owner. He was responsible for the Trail of Tears, which forced Native American tribes to migrate westward,” he said last year.
Of Hamilton, Pascrell said: “I think he’s been underrated — to use a term that we use in sports — and a lot of folks have been overrated. And I think he’s had a lot to do with the growth of this country.”
Rosa Parks is one of many candidates for the face of the new currency. Other possibilities include the African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
While any decision is now bound to be controversial, one person who said they’ll be pleased: “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who visited Lew last month. Miranda tweeted that he was told, “You’re going to be very happy.”
While an announcement is expected this week, Treasury officials would not comment. Because of the intricacies of the currency redesign process, it won’t be until after 2020 when the new $10 bill goes into circulation — and so the $20 bill would be well after that.
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