Harriet Tubman on $20 bill welcomed by Chicagoans

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Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be featured on the new $20 bill, a representative of the U.S. Treasury Department confirmed Wednesday. (WLS)

Harriet Tubman is now the first woman to be the face of a bill of U.S. currency, replacing former president Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. There's no word yet when the official version will be unveiled and released, but there's a lot of excitement.

Perri Irmer, the President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side, is thrilled with the decision by the Treasury Department.

"Not only does it honor African Americans but in particular, African American women. We have played such a huge role in the shaping of this country," Irmer said.

Tubman, small in stature but brave as a giant, escaped to freedom, then went back in harm's way to rescue others from slavery, leading them along the Underground Railroad and earning her the nickname Moses.

"Her role in the Underground Railroad in her spy work, her reconnaissance for the Union Army during the Civil War, just amazing contribution that we continue to honor today," Irmer said.

The nonprofit organization Women for 20s began pushing the Obama Administration last year to feature a woman on paper currency. Tubman emerged as the top pick in an online poll of possible contenders.

Chicagoans we talked to on Wednesday say they can't wait to have the new $20 bill in hand.

"I think it would be an awesome thing to have Harriet Tubman on any bill," said Prudence Celestine.

"I think that's great they are putting Harriet Tubman and that it is not another man," said Elizabeth Scalise.

"Harriet Tubman had some influence socially on our culture so as long as a person had some influence and shape then you deserve on a currency," said Bryan White.

Other currency changes include: the back of the $10 bill will depict leaders of the suffrage movement, the back of the $5 bill will depict historical events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, and Andrew Jackson will now be featured on the $20 bill's back side.
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