Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be the first woman to appear on front of the United States $20 bill, replacing former President Andrew Jackson.
“Today, I’m excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 note,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told reporters during a conference call Wednesday afternoon.
The decision is the latest chapter in a 10-month-old controversy that erupted after Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew tried to address gender imbalance on US currency notes. He opened up the selection process to the public just as the current face on the $10 bill was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and outrage ensued.
Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage.