Treasury: No Harriet Tubman note until Trump leaves office

The slavery abolitionist was due to feature on a redesign of the $20 note released by 2020

Harriet Tubman

DONALD TRUMP has delayed the creation of a new $20 note featuring slavery abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman.

The note, which currently features former president Andrew Jackson, was due to be redesigned with an image of Tubman’s face, making it the first note to honour a black woman.

But the new note, which was announced during Barack Obama’s presidency, has now been pushed back.

Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, told a congressional hearing this week that Tubman would not feature on the note until after Trump had left office.

“Right now, I am focused on the security features of the US currency,” Mnuchin said.

He added: “It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term, even if I serve the second term for the president, so I am not focused on that at the moment.”

The note had been scheduled to be produced by 2020, but the treasury department has postponed it to at least 2028.

Tubman was born into slavery in the 1820s. After escaping slavery, led the Underground Railroad, freeing more than 70 slaves.

Ernestine Wyatt, a distant niece of Tubman, told CNN that the decision “smacked of racism”.

She said: “To me it smacks of racist rhetoric. That’s what it smacks of. I think it’s a nice way of trying to say, we don’t want this, we’re not going to have this. Under any circumstances will we have this. It’s just another delay, and a diversion.”

On social media, people reacted to the news, many echoing Wyatt’s view.

Kristen Clarke, president and director, national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said: “The decision to block Harriet Tubman from the redesign of the $20 bill is callous and yet another attack on Black women.

“No matter how hard they try, they can’t erase our central role in American history or wipe away the contributions of our Black heroes. #HarrietTubman.”
“Make no mistake: the decision to cancel the unveiling of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is purely to pander to white supremacy. Period.

“Being ‘delayed until 2028’ is a goddamn lie. This is an attempt to make fragile white people comfortable,” one commenter tweeted.

Another said: “They don’t want Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill because she’s black and a hero and this administration is filled with racists, every last one.”

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