A movement is underway to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $US20 bill with the first female face on printed U.S. currency.
The list of women who the activists say should grace the bill includes abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
In order for a public figure to be featured on paper currency, the individual must be deceased by at least two years. So modern day figures like supreme court justices or cabinet level officials are out.
The effort, Women on 20s, is asking the public to vote for the top candidates from a list of 15 famous females that includes activists like Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and Clara Barton.
Barbara Howard founded the Women on 20s movement. She discussed the project in a conversation with Business Insider today.
Howard started the currency campaign after she had a moment of frustration when she realised there were no females on paper currency that she could show her own daughter. Suffragist Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, a Native American guide who assisted Lewis and Clark, have both been featured on dollar coins, but neither have gained mainstream circulation.
Howard, an entrepreneur in New York, settled on championing an effort to find a new figure for the $US20 bill since it is a denomination significance. By law, President George Washington can’t be pushed off the $US1 bill. No one else has guaranteed real estate on US currency.
According to Howard, she also thought the “mixed legacy” of Jackson made the bill ripe for a change. As the 7th U.S. President, Jackson had supported the forced resettlement of Native American off their ancestral land that resulted in a period of widespread suffering during the relocation known as the “Trail of Tears.”
“I wasn’t going to ask Abraham Lincoln’s people if they would step aside,” Howard said about not wanting to disrupt the legacy of Lincoln, who appears on the $US5 bill.
Taking a cue from the 20016 presidential election, the currency movement is currently in the primary phase. The public can now vote for three names off a list of 15 candidates.
With more than 100,000 votes in hand, the group will whittle down the list to three finalists. They will also add a fourth candidate, Chief Wilma Mankiller, after calls for Native American representation to appear on the final list.
A final ballot with four candidates will then be submitted to the public again for a vote.
Then the winning candidate will be submitted for President Obama’s consideration, in a “We the People” petition on the White House website.
In the meantime, with no female faces on her cash, Howard says she’s “using 10s and 5s” instead.
“I don’t want to use those 20s anymore,” she said, adding, “Our culture still has these unconscious symbols that don’t really speak to our integrated society. We need to have those symbols in our everyday lives so that we can embrace those things that we say we want to be.”
Here’s the full list of candidates being considered for the bill:
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Susan B. Anthony
- Harriet Tubman
- Rosa Parks
- Sojourner Truth
- Alice Paul
- Patsy Mink
- Margaret Sanger
- Clara Barton
- Shirley Chisholm
- Rachel Carson
- Frances Perkins
- Betty Friedan
- Barbara Jordan
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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