Obama Administration Moves to Add Women, Blacks to $5 and $10 Bills

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, file photo, a woman holds a sign supporting Harriet Tubman for the $20 bill during a town hall meeting at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. A Treasury official said Wednesday, April 20, 2016, that Secretary Jacob Lew …
AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson

Now that Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew has confirmed his agency’s decision to replace President Andrew Jackson with black Republican Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, the Obama administration is looking to place more leaders of the women’s suffrage movement onto the back of the $10 bill and plans to add black civil rights leaders onto the back of the $5 bill.

The Los Angeles Times reports, “The Obama administration [is] under pressure to add diversity to the currency,” continuing:

Lew’s compromise is to replace a picture of the Treasury building on the back of the $10 with leaders of the suffrage movement — Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott.

The back of the $5 bill will also be redesigned to include opera singer Marian Anderson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

According to Politico:

“Due to security needs, the redesigned $10 note is scheduled to go into circulation next,” Lew said Wednesday. “I’ve directed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to work closely with the Federal Reserve to accelerate work on the new $20 and $5 notes.

“Our goal is to have all three new notes go into circulation as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we protect against counterfeiting through effective and sophisticated production,” Lew said.

The Obama administration wants the 2020 unveiling of the newly designed $20, $10, and $5 bills to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Without offering specifics on exactly when the final changes will be made, Lew said, “The two things most important are the security of our money and getting this process to move as quickly as possible.”

Lew’s initial plan to replace Alexander Hamilton with a woman on the front of the $10 bill was met with overwhelming pushback, especially on social media, and underscored the need for a course correction.

“There are a number of options of how we can resolve this,” Lew said in July 2015. “We’re not taking Alexander Hamilton off our currency.”

Nearly a year later, Lew was lauding those same critics.

“It was an evolutionary process,” Lew said Wednesday. “For me, personally, there was a kind of an ‘aha’ moment in July when it became clear that going bigger would give us the ability to tell more stories.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson.


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