by Chanelle Adams
When the US Treasury spilled the news that Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 bill, my Twitter TL broke. Black Twitter did not hesitate to respond to the decision to replace slaveholding president Jackson with slavery abolitionist Tubman, the Underground Railroad Bad Bitch herself, on U.S. currency.
Throughout the day, I saw responses to the new Tubman twenty that ranged from debates about capitalism and representation to celebrations and cynicism. But for me, the most important part about the responses is that we are represented as having many different ones. And as much as non-Black folks want to paint Black folks as monolithic and always having the same opinion about things, we don’t. Harriet Tubman’s portrait on the $20 bill is complicated and the media that covers it deserves to be nuanced enough to encapsulate the range of our experiences and reactions.
What I will say, though, is that Black people literally have been, and still are, the currency that the United States was founded upon. As conversations continue about the Harriet Tubman $20 bill, the thoughts and feelings of Black people, and especially Black women, need to remain central.
gonna be framed tubmans on errybody's grummaw's mantle. with malcolm, 2008 election newspapers, & white jesus.
— kima, keisha, & scam (@dopegirlfresh) April 20, 2016
Harriet Tubman, former slave, on currency in a country where the first capital was (still is) Black bodies.
— Carolina Bama (@Awkward_Duck) April 20, 2016
Hoodwitches! If y'all don't put the Harriet Tubman $20 on an alter for your ancestors you are slipping!
— Fleur de Lit (@NaniCoolJ) April 20, 2016
i know this was meant to be sarcastic but i really see no lies soo https://t.co/nR9Wujb6Ch
— assata taught me (@sailorfemme) April 20, 2016
— Blacknificent, Esq. (@AfroStateOfMind) April 20, 2016
It's going to take 14 years to put Harriet on the $20? I've got a friend in Chesterfield Square who can print some off in an hour..
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) April 20, 2016
We legit know Harriet's name for fighting against the very system trying to use her image on its dollar. I can't.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) April 20, 2016
I'm still processing this Harriet Tubman news.
One thing I'm sure of: I'm slapping those joints down like dominoes when I spend them.
— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) April 20, 2016
#HarrietTubman on a $20 is identical to the feeling you get when your friend owes you money but post pics on Instagram spending money. ?
— Black Intifada (@BlackShiite) April 20, 2016
Is the treasury taking suggestions? I think I want my reparations in Tubman twenties and Nat Turner hunnids. Maybe some Malcolm X fifties?
— jodi⋅kaye (@spokenELLE) April 20, 2016
PUT THAT PICTURE TYRESE PAINTED OF MALCOLM X BAPTIZING TUPAC ON THE $50 pic.twitter.com/RKNQoAGF1F
— Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) April 20, 2016
Before the phase-in, I guess I'll just have to glue Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's when I use a $20.
— Tananarive Due (@TananariveDue) April 20, 2016
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) April 20, 2016
And then we found out Tubman would be replacing Jackson on the front of the bill and he would move to the back.
Like what even is the fucking point, then, even "symbolically"? Nah, keep that overseer ass twenty. Fuck y'all.
— Mia McKenzie (@miamckenzie) April 20, 2016
Y'all gon keep the SLAVEOWNER on the same fucking bill as HARRIET TUBMAN?! LMFAO. Y'ALL GOT ME FUCKED UP.
— clarke (@radicalhearts) April 20, 2016
Tubman in the front, Jackson on the back of a currency seems like the most apt metaphor for everything in America ever tbh
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) April 20, 2016
Chanelle is Managing Editor at BGD. You can follow her on Twitter.
jackson was removed from the $20 because he didn't trust banks. harriet was put on the $20 because black women *are* the bank.
— chanelle adams (@nellienooks) April 20, 2016
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