Harriet Tubman Will Be on the New $20 Bill After All

A mockup of the proposed new $20 featuring Harriet Tubman.
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US Treasury

The Biden administration will look to expedite the process of putting the image of abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the U.S. $20 bill, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

New $20 notes with Tubman’s image were first announced in April 2016, under President Barack Obama, but were delayed during the Trump administration.

Concept designs of the Tubman notes were supposed to be revealed in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. In May 2019, Steve Mnuchin, treasury secretary under President Donald Trump, told the House Committee on Financial Services that the timeline had changed and the bill’s updated imagery likely would not appear until 2026 at the earliest.

Priorities have changed again with President Joe Biden taking office Jan. 20. The Treasury Department has taken steps to speed up the effort, Psaki said in a press briefing with reporters Monday afternoon.

“It’s important that our notes reflect the history and diversity of our country,” Psaki said. “Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 would certainly reflect that.”

The Tubman $20 bill came to be after Obama treasury secretary Jacob J. Lew received “thousands of responses” from Americans in support of using the image of Tubman, a former slave who later helped others escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad, on currency.