The White House Is Reinstating Plans to Replace Andrew Jackson With Harriet Tubman on $20 Bills

Harriet Tubman photographed by Benjamin Powelson in the late 1860s.
Harriet Tubman photographed by Benjamin Powelson in the late 1860s. / Emily Howland Photograph Album, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division // No Known Restrictions on Publication

In April 2016, secretary of the treasury Jacob J. Lew unveiled plans to remove Andrew Jackson—who enslaved scores of Black Americans and forced thousands of Native Americans off their land during his presidential tenure—from the $20 bill. Jackson would be replaced with Harriet Tubman, hero of the Underground Railroad.

The conceptual design of the new bill was expected to be finished by 2020 to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Though The New York Times revealed an image of it in June 2019 (three years after the design had reportedly been completed), 2020 came and went without any official announcement of the design change, and it became apparent that the project had been delayed.

Now, according to CNN, the White House is hoping to accelerate the process and produce new $20 bills bearing Harriet Tubman’s likeness sometime soon. “It's important that our notes, our money … reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman's image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, January 25.

There’s no word yet on when exactly we’ll get to see the new design, or how soon we can expect the new money to enter circulation; a treasury department spokesperson told The New York Times that she had nothing to share about a possible timeline. Also as-yet-unanswered is what will be on the reverse side of the bill; Lew’s 2016 announcement said it would feature both the White House and an image of … Andrew Jackson. Since the new administration hasn’t announced any details, it’s still possible that could change.

[h/t CNN]