Dr. Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth and Marian Anderson are just among a few activist being added to American currency in the coming years. Earlier this month we were all delighted to see that Harriet Tubman had been chosen to grace the front of the new $20 bills. Now the news have broken that she will not be alone, she is being joined by many other notable Civil Rights and women’s suffrage activists.
After announcing Tubman, a former slave , would take over the front of the $20 bill the Treasury Department has announced that there will be dramatic changes in the $5 and $10 bills as well.
Abraham Lincoln will remain on the front of the $5 bill, however, the back will now feature historical moments that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opera Singer Marian Anderson and former First Lady Elanor Roosevelt will appear on the back of the $5 bill.
In case you miss the significance of these three on the back of the Lincoln bill I’ll fill you in. In 1939 after being refused to be allowed to perform at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution because was Black, First Lady Elanor Roosevelt arranged for Marian Anderson to perform at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King gave his famous ” I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. All 3 are hailed as Civil Rights activist and are appearing on the back of the bill of the president who freed the slaves and gave Black people rights as people.
Bernice King, Dr. King’s youngest daughter and CEO of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change has said
“Words cannot express how proud and humbled we are here at The King Center by the United States Department of Treasury’s announcement to add Martin Luther King Jr.’s image to the backside of the new $5 note,”
Juxtaposing Dr. King’s image and other iconic voices of freedom on one side with President Lincoln on the other poignantly symbolizes the connection between the promise of a nation the fulfillment of that promise, and the never ending generational struggle to reach our promise.”
She went on to tell reporters
He was fully aware of the connection between his struggle for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement and Abraham’s Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
.Furthermore, just as Harriet Tubman emancipated slaves and President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, my father called upon President Kennedy to issue a second Emancipation Proclamation. It is a historical turning point in America and the world when the legacies of these great emancipators are memorialized on U.S. currency.
The new $10 will also keep it’s president on the front. Andrew Jackson will remain on the front and the back will “celebrate the history of the Women’s Suffrage movement.” The back will feature Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Click to read a message from Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on these changes.
These changes to American money are historically significant. America is a melting pot and for centuries it’s citizens have had to look at it and be reminded of our past. A past where we open our wallets and see former slave owners. It’s amazing that we will now be able to look in our wallets and find American champions that we can recognize and appreciate as well. Figures on our money that instill as sense of pride.
The new bills are expected to be in circulation by 2020.
While I want to be excited I’m still apprehensive. For some reason I feel as if they will become collectible items. It seems the government is working hard to digitize our money and access to it. For some reason I fear that just after these bills get good into circulation they will be obsolete. All banking and financial transitions will be done on chips and digitally.
Hopefully I’m wrong, for now I’m just going to look at it as a step in the right direction.