WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will soon be the new face of the $20 bill.
The 19th century abolitionist and leader of the Underground Railroad would replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president.
Tubman escaped slavery in 1845, then helped others to freedom through the underground railroad. She later became a member of the Suffrage Movement.
“Someone who was a freedom fighter, who freed so many people in bondage. She is… our Moses,” New York resident Charlotte Golar told CBS News’ Weijia Jiang.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Tubman’s story is truly an American story.
“Someone who grew up as a slave, remained illiterate, and through her heroism and vision and determination, helped to change the course of this country,” he said.
The move is a victory for Barbara Ortiz Howard, founder of WomenOn20s.org. But she wants the bills in circulation by 2020, the centennial of voting rights for women.
“The federal reserve has a huge stake in this and they need to put it on the front burner,” she said.
In June, the Treasury Department announced it would put a woman on the front of the $10 bill, moving Alexander Hamilton to the back. But the huge success of “Hamilton” the musical, which just won a Pulitzer Prize, may have let him keep center stage.
Hamilton’s new popularity aside, Jackson’s legacy has its own problems.
“In part because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, he was a slave owner and, moreover, there was no contemporary Broadway play about Andrew Jackson,” Alan Kraut, a history professor at American University, explained.
New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray was among several who tweeted her thoughts about the decison.
#HelloHarriet was trending on Twitter following the news.
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