Why Harriet Tubman Might End Up On Your $20 Bill

May 12th 2015

Laura Donovan

The legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman might be on your $20 bill in five years. The Women on 20s campaign announced Tuesday that she was the winner of the group's extensive 10-week poll to put a historic female on U.S. paper currency.

Women on 20s made headlines earlier this year when the nonprofit launched an initiative to put a woman’s face on the $20 bill by 2020, the 100-year anniversary of women's suffrage. After compiling more than 256,000 votes, Women on 20s narrowed down the competition to four candidates last month, with Tubman ultimately beating out Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Wilma Mankiller. 

Now that Tubman has been chosen, Women on 20s has emailed a petition to the White House Council on Women and Girls​ to replace former President Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. President Barack Obama must first approve the change for the Secretary of Treasury to put it into effect. Yahoo News reported that White House Council on Women and Girls Chair Valerie Jarrett and Executive Director Tina Tchen said they "would like to continue the conversation."

“We’re waiting for some kind of meeting with the White House, and I can tell you that we are already in conversation with them,” Women On 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone told Yahoo News. 

Last year, President Obama indicated during a speech that he would support placing a woman on our cash:

Tubman escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad in the 1840s, and relocated to Pennsylvania. Over the course of a decade, Tubman returned to the South nearly two dozen times to free hundreds of people from slavery. She once told abolitionist Frederick Douglass that she "never lost a single passenger."

"Harriet Tubman had an extraordinary life despite the amazing challenges she had to overcome," Stone told Yahoo News. "She was an inspiration to our voters despite the fact that the field was full of extraordinary women."

President Jackson's legacy includes signing the Indian Removal Act of 1830 into law, which removed Native Americans from their homes in the southeast. This resulted in the Trail of Tears, as thousands of Native Americans died trying to relocate to "Indian Territory" west of the Mississippi River.