The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it’s making changes to the paper currency that citizens use everyday.
The nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson, will no longer be on the front of the $20 bill, and will be replaced by the renowned abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
“It’s a good day in history to see our first African-American on a piece of paper currency,” said Hagerstown resident Dion Evans. “Me personally, I was hoping [for] Rosa Parks…but you know, now I can say ‘can I get change for a Tubman?’ instead of a 20!”
“Our country is on the right step to diversity, and it’s something different,” added his brother, Jeremy Evans.
The change has been viewed mostly as a positive one, symbolizing the effort to increase representation of women and people of color. Emilie Amt, a history professor at Hood College who specializes in African-American studies, was thrilled to hear the news.
“I think this is long overdue as a change, and Harriet Tubman is such a hero,” she said.
The Underground Railroad helped thousands of slaves escape to the northern states before the Civil War. Tubman was on the front lines, and said she never lost a passenger.
“They take inspiration, I think, mostly from their desire to be free – and sometimes from the fear of being sold or being separated from their families,” Amt explained.
Slavery may be long gone now, but its scars are still visible – and experts hope this change will help Americans remember Tubman’s place in history.
“We’re making the statement that the things that Harriet Tubman did, the struggles she had, the problems she addressed – it’s still relevant to us today,” Amt added.
Jackson’s image will now be on the back of the $20 bill. This updated version won’t be unveiled and go into circulation until 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Other changes are affecting other types of bills, as well. Suffragists who fought to give women the right to vote, like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth, will be added to the back of the $10 bill.