CAMBRIDGE — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants the Trump Administration to reconsider its decision to delay the release of the Harriet Tubman $20 bill.
Tubman was born in Dorchester County and lived as a slave until she was nearly 30 years old. She escaped slavery in 1849, yet risked her life to return to the Eastern Shore many times to help others in their journey to freedom.
She helped about 70 slaves escape and led them north. Some went as far north as Canada.
Treasury officials announced in 2016 that Tubman’s likeness would be featured on the $20 bill. The plan, developed during President Barack Obama’s administration, would replace President Andrew Jackson with Tubman in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Tubman would be the first African-American to be pictured on American currency.
In May, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a redesign of the $20 would not be considered until 2026.
The delay does not sit well with Gov. Hogan.
“I urge you to reconsider your decision to delay the release of the Harriet Tubman twenty-dollar bill,” Hogan wrote to Mnuchin. “Much of our progress as a nation most notably in the struggle for freedom and equal rights — can be attributed to the sacrifices of this American hero. Dorchester County, Maryland is incredibly proud to be a steward of Harriet Tubmans’ lasting legacy, but her influence reaches far beyond the borders of our great state.
“Originally slated to be unveiled in 2020, the release of the Harriet Tubman twenty-dollar bill would have enhanced our celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage and the “Year of the Maryland Woman.” I am incredibly disappointed to hear that now, citizens across Maryland and the country will instead have to wait nearly a decade for this new bill to reach general circulation.
“Harriet Tubman’s countless contributions to our nation transcend race, gender, nationality, and religion,” Hogan wrote. “She dedicated her life in selfless service to others and to the cause of freedom. Her unbelievable acts of heroism, courage, and sacrifice have more than earned her rightful place among our nation’s most pivotal leaders. She deserves this honor.”
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.-7th, pushed for bipartisan legislation in 2017 to put Tubman on the $20 bill. On Tuesday, he applauded Gov. Hogan for urging to have Tubman put on the $20 in 2020.
“Harriet Tubman fought to make the values enshrined in our Constitution a reality for all Americans —& it’s far past time that we recognize her place in history,” Cummings wrote on Twitter. “I applaud @GovLarryHogan for calling on the Trump Admin to reconsider their decision to delay the redesign of the $20.”
Mnuchin said last month the delay was prompted by the decision to redesign the $10 bill and the $50 bill first for security reasons to make it harder for the bills to be counterfeited. He said the bills will now be introduced before a redesigned $20 bill.