I know that a lot of you are excited that they are considering putting Harriet Tubman on the $20.00 bill. Many of you feel like this is a great honor, and I understand your viewpoint. I just feel differently. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am appalled at the idea, and that this is a slap in the face to black women everywhere. We are not so simpl-minded. Araminta Harriet Ross is our ancestor, and we know better. Nice try, but Harriet Tubman’s face on a dub is not honor.
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery alone in 1849. Planning to leave with her brothers, they feared for their lives and decided to return to the plantation. With a $300.00 bounty on her head dead or alive, Harriet would find freedom in Philadelphia. Our worth has always been trivial in America. As they contemplate putting our ancestor’s face on the $20.00 bill there is a wage gap, and it’s not the .22 cents to the dollar that white feminists like to talk about.
Currently in the state of North Carolina, African- American women only earn 62.7 cents to every dollar made by white men. We can tell by that extra 15.3 cents our white counterparts make on every dollar that there is not only a gender gap, but a race gap. To see the gap in your area click here. Harriet Tubman was about the liberation of her people. So, unless you are talking equal pay, leave her name out of it.
In 1850, there was a fugitive slave law passed. The law made it legal to capture slaves in the north and return them to the south. In response to the law, Harriet Tubman did what any good conductor would do; she re-routed the freedom train out of the U.S. and into Canada. Over the span of her life, she was responsible for helping many other slaves travel “The Underground Railroad” to freedom. Harriet Tubman was not a woman of symbolism, but a woman of action. Putting her face on the $20.00 bill is symbolic. Traveling from the south of the U.S. all the way to Canada was not symbolic… so keep your symbols.
In 1858, Harriet connected with John Brown. John Brown was a white American who believed the only way to abolish slavery was through armed insurrection. Harriet supported him and his methods. It was said she helped him plan the attack on Harper’s Ferry. That attack would lead to John Brown’s capture and hanging.
Harriet praised his efforts by calling him both brilliant and a martyr. Harriet fought against the American capitalist system of her time, and wanted to see slaves rise to freedom. Why don’t they add an unknown slave to the $20.00 bill? Now that is fair representation. I am certain Harriet Tubman would not want her face or work connected with the history of the worthless American note.
America has a history of dwindling down Harriet’s worth to $20.00. During the civil war Harriet joined the Union Army as a cook and nurse. Shortly afterwards she was promoted to armed scout and spy. Harriet Tubman was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. The raid she led would free well over 700 hundred slaves in South Carolina.
Harriet Tubman was only given $200.00 for her services the Army. That is only 10 $20.00 bills. She never received the rest of her military pay. In addition, when she applied for her pension even with the support of generals she was denied. Here is the real disrespect-initially she was paid a widow’s pension of $8 a month for the service of her second husband, It was later raised to $25 a month, but Harriet only received $20 a month until she died in 1913. So with all due respect for Harriet Tubman, please don’t put her face on your money.