WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to urge him not to abandon plans to put Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill. Earlier today on CNBC, Mnuchin refused to commit to moving forward with the plan, which was announced during the Obama Administration.
“Those we honor on currency make a statement about our nation and our values,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to move forward to honor Harriet Tubman and make a strong statement about our nation’s commitment to equality and justice.”
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Secretary Mnuchin,
During a recent interview with CNBC, you were asked about your support for putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill. We were concerned when you refused to commit to taking this notable step to put a woman on our currency and recognize an American hero.
In April 2016, after a robust public debate, then-Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would replace President Andrew Jackson on the face of the twenty-dollar bill, whose likeness would move to the reverse side. She would be the first African-American ever on our paper currency and the only woman on our currently-circulated bills.
Tubman is fully deserving of this honor. Born in Dorchester County, Maryland as a slave, she escaped to freedom and returned to rescue dozens of others. She served the Union Army as a spy and a nurse during the Civil War and spent the rest of her life fighting for women’s suffrage, the care of orphans and individuals with disabilities, and the establishment of freedman’s schools.
While others have suggested honoring Tubman on a two-dollar bill, it is more appropriate to honor her on the twenty, which is in far more frequent use. Making this change in 2020, which is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, sends a powerful signal.
Those we honor on currency make a statement about our nation and our values. We urge you to move forward to honor Harriet Tubman and make a strong statement about our nation’s commitment to equality and justice.