The Significance of Harriet Tubman on the $20 Dollar Bill.

Author: Linda Akele

Published: April 7, 2021

Category: Featured Articles

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Many people do not know the significance of Harriet Tubman and what she contributed to America. She has been forgotten by a lot of people and her name isn’t spoken about much today. Yet Harriet Tubman will never be forgotten by me because she was a true believer of what I call black woman power. The fact that she helped many black people is mind blowing and it is an honor to read about her. Tubman was a black woman who was a political activist and who helped lead three hundred slaves to the land of freedom. She was born into slavery, yet while enslaved, she had a desire to free enslaved people. She strongly believed that slaves should have freedom and equality without working under a “master” who treated them unfairly. Tubman’s work to free slaves continued into the Civil War – the war that ultimately led to the abolition of slavery. During the war, Tubman served as both a nurse and cook for the Union Army.

A topic that has reached the internet and social media is a discussion on whether President Biden’s Administration should put Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill. This topic is huge! This topic should be discussed further. The plan of having Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill was first made in 2016 when former President Barack Obama was in office. This plan was stopped by former President Donald Trump because he believed that Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States shouldn’t be removed from the bill. But now, President Joseph R. Biden has been elected as the 46th President of the United States, and he strongly believes that Harriet Tubman should be on the twenty dollar bill. 

Some people have taken charge of this moment to recreate and stamp Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill without a proper protocol from the Department of Treasury. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, an artist started stamping the face of Harriet Tubman one-hundred different twenty dollar bills. Unfortunately, she can now be charged with disfiguring the bill and can serve jail time.   

Ft. Note 1: Brooklyn Daily Eagle,

https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2020/01/08/in-brooklyn-harriet-tubman-is-already-on-20-bills/

There are steps in making sure this new bill is passed and ready to be handed out to the American people. When it comes to the process of passing federal  legislation  in the United States of America, there are about eight steps to this:

Step Number 1: The bill is drafted. This is to consider any new bill that wants to be proposed by the Senate, Congress, or even the American Citizens. In this case, the sponsor of this bill is the main Congress member introducing the bill while the co-sponsors are the other members who also agree to jointly sponsor this newly proposed bill. 

Step Number 2: The bill is presented to the committee. The proposed bill must be presented and discussed further.

Step Number 3: The bill goes to committee. This is where the bill will be closely reviewed by the committee of Congress members who are open to hearing new topics and looking over newly introduced bills. If this bill is not really something that is understandable, then members may ask to hold a hearing in which the person who proposed this bill will have to closely analyze it like a presentation.

Step Number 4: Subcommittee review of the bill. This is a committee that also closely reviews the bill and its purpose. A subcommittee can also make changes to the bill, but only if necessary.  

Step Number 5: Committee markup of the bill. When the hearings and subcommittee reviews are done, both the committee and subcommittee will come together to make a markup on the bill. If the amendments and changes are made, the legislators can decide whether or not to report this bill. If they vote not to report, the bill will be dismissed and no further process will be taken into account. 

Step Number 6: Voting by the full chamber on the bill. When the bill is already in the process, the members of the chamber will go straight into discussion or debate about the bill and any amendments. Next, the members will later go into voting. This will now be considered passed or not only for that chamber. 

Step Number 7: Referral of the bill to the other chamber. After the chamber of origin has passed the bill, it moves to the second chamber where the same process will be done. Additionally, if this chamber debates and cannot come to a final agreement of the bill, the bill will be dismissed. But if the bill is agreed on, there will be a final report in which the Congress and Senate comes to a conclusion to approve this report. 

Step Number 8: The bill finally goes to the president. Since both the Congress and Senate approved the report, the president of the United States of America takes a look at this bill and signs it or vetoes it. If signed, the bill becomes a law. 

Ft. Note 2 How a bill becomes a law,

https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/policy-issues/How-Bill-Becomes-Law

If the president doesn’t come to a conclusion within ten days, then the bill will become a law since the president didn’t take any further actions. The Congress can also adjourn the bill if necessary. This process is quite interesting but very detailed. If this process is moved on for Harriet Tubman to be on the twenty dollar bill, it will be expected to be printed out and distributed by the year 2025. 

The face of a black woman appearing on a twenty dollar bill will be so amazing because this shows that black people are being recognized more and more by the day. This will not only show that a black woman’s face made it on the bill but all the strength, dedication, and fight she demonstrated left a lasting mark on American history. This will be yet another win not only for black people but especially for black women. This shows black people that they can be able to change the world if they’re ready to work hard enough. 

While people are overjoyed that this change will happen, what is the legitimate change for the people? This question lingers around in some people’s heads because all of sudden this change may happen. What will this do for the American people? Indeed, this is a win in the books of history but will this stop all the killing of African American people around the world? Will this help the Black Lives Movement (BLM) gain the justice they truly deserve? Will the world magically change because of this certain piece of paper displaying a black woman? Is this piece of paper valuable enough? Many will say yes because this is money that can buy something but they don’t realize what change this can bring. 

All of a sudden Harriet Tubman should be the new face of the twenty dollar bill and should replace Andrew Jackson. What is the Democratic Party trying to hint to the American people with this change? People are often blinded by the inquiry of what the Democratic Party is trying to do or trying to say. But the American people never gave it a thought in action of why all these changes. Yes, change to make it the better but why now after so many years of actions to face? Harriet Tubman truly deserves the value of words but remember these words: why now?

Ft. Note 3 Picture by The New York Times 

Sisters laughing together

Linda Akele, Law Firm Intern

Linda is a Sophomore, Political Science major, English minor attending Howard University from New Jersey. She is very passionate about social injustice and the incarceration rate among Black/African American women and men. She is motivated and determined to find solutions in order to figure out what can be done to lower the statistics in America. She hopes to help Black/African Americans who are in prison and don’t get a chance to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Linda Akele prays to be a Civil Rights and Criminal Defense attorney one day. She is delighted to serve as an intern as part of the Neena R. Speer Law Firm to find solutions to the incarceration rate among African American people.

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