The US is Honoring Harriet Tubman

Celebrating an American heroine just in time for Black History Month.

Feb 3, 2021
The US is Honoring Harriet Tubman | Celebrating an American heroine just in time for Black History Month.

Harriet Tubman is a true American heroine. Known as the “Moses of her people,” Tubman escaped slavery and helped  many others achieve freedom through the underground railroad. But you may not have known that she was a soldier, spy, and nurse in the Union Army in the American civil war. It is because of Tubman’s life’s work that she is being honored by having her face on the front of the $20 bill.

This wonderful idea was first proposed in 2016 and was supposed to be introduced in 2020 on the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote, according to Fast Company. But the process was halted by then treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin who said that adding more security features to the US currency was more important than redesigning the bill.

Now, with the new administration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters in a press briefing on January 25, 2021 that the administration is exploring ways to speed up the process. She said, “The treasury department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” Ms. Psaki said. “It’s important that our money reflect the history and diversity of our country.”

While some critics complained about replacing former president Andrew Jackson’s likeness from the bill, preliminary designs obtained from the New York Times show Tubman’s face on the front and a statue of Jackson on the back.

The treasury department has not yet announced a date when the new bills will be released but the announcement was just in time for Black History month which began on February 1.  Observed in the US and Canada in February and in the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands in October, the commemorative month was first celebrated in 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio.

Just six years later, Black History month was proclaimed by then president Gerald Ford in honor of the US bicentennial celebrations. Black history was celebrated all across the US in educational settings, community centers and this created an increased interest in the history of Americans that was long silenced.

Today, even with social distancing, it is easy to celebrate the month. You can visit historical places online with virtual tours according to Momma Wonderlust. You can visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that takes visitors on a trip through time beginning from slavery to segregation to today where you can celebrate the first black president Barak Obama and the first black women vice president Kamala Harris. Or there are art museums, dance museums, and many historical sites to visit.

You can also read books or watch movies about black history to your children and help them learn about Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream, Rosa Park’s courageous ride, and about Harriet Tubman who risked her life to lead others into freedom.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.