For White Plains' Abdul Tubman, the push to get Harriet Tubman's face on the $20 is personal
For Abdul Tubman of White Plains, the push to get the face of legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman to grace the $20 is personal.
He is her great-nephew. "Being a Tubman specifically for me is more of continuing the legacy of courage, bravery,” he says.
Women on 20s years ago started the currency campaign that caught the Obama administration’s attention. Founders Barbara Ortiz Howard and Susan Ades Stone started the movement to put women on U.S. currency.
They sent a petition to the United States Secretary of the Treasury. "We said look, over 600,000 votes here. We want Harriet Tubman on the bill,” says Ortiz Howard. “This is what the people want."
Due to the campaign's timing, toward the end of the Obama administration, it was up to the incoming Trump administration to finish the job.
But there was no movement on the initiative under President Donald Trump, who at one point said, “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can come up with another denomination, maybe we do the $2, or we do another bill.”
The Associated Press reported that Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “announced a delay in redesigning the $20 bill in order to redesign the $10 and $50 bills first to improve security features to thwart counterfeiters.”
But early in the Biden administration, it seems that Tubman's legacy will soon make it onto the nation's currency.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, serving under President Joe Biden, recently announced a plan to restart the efforts to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
"It's important that our notes, our money, reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman's image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” says Psaki.
In the meantime -- while the process was delayed, Tubman stamp creator Dan Wall came up with a plan. He created a way to super-impose Harriet Tubman’s face onto the $20 bill using a stamp.
"People now have the opportunity to do what John Lewis would say 'good trouble,' where you have everyday people fighting back in such a small way that will get recirculated essentially forever,” says Abdul Tubman.
News 12 reached out to the Department of the Treasury to see if a bill of currency is still valid with a stamp in the center, but has not heard back.