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Jackson might get reprieve on $20

The decision to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 with Harriet Tubman might be reversed.


At least that is the interpretation being given to recent remarks by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by supporters of Tubman.

They have begun an online petition campaign to save Tubman’s new place on the $20 Federal Reserve Note (

Replacing Jackson with abolitionist Tubman was a decision made in the spring of 2016 by then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

This had followed a process of online voting by the Women on 20s organization that had selected Tubman as the result of an online vote.

She narrowly won over First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in the 2015 vote (

Lew’s decision was part of a package of changes that were to be incorporated into the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s preparation of more counterfeit-resistant paper money designs to be introduced in the 2020s.

Lew decided that the backs of the $5 and $10 Federal Reserve Notes are also to be transformed.

He asked for five women’s rights activists be put on the back of the new $10 to replace the Treasury Building.

They are Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alive Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Lew also wanted to put Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the back of the $5.

The current $5 depicts the Lincoln Memorial.

This would not be removed so much as altered.

This historical building was the site of two important civil rights moments in history.

African-American singer Marian Anderson appeared there in 1939 as arranged by Roosevelt after she had been barred because of her race from Constitution Hall.

Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

What Mnuchin will choose to do is unknown.

He talked to CNBC Aug. 31 (

“Ultimately we will be looking at this issue. It’s not something I’m focused on at the moment,” he said.

That leaves the door open to virtually any outcome.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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