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Amid Federal Delays, Hogan Advocates for Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill

Image via harriet-tubman.org.

Add Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) to the number of political leaders pushing the U.S. Treasury to move forward with a $20 bill featuring an image of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Hogan sent a letter Tuesday morning to Treasury Secretary Steven. T. Mnuchin saying he is “incredibly disappointed to hear” that the redesigned bill, originally set for release in 2020, could take nearly another decade to reach general circulation.

Announced in 2016 by the Obama administration, the bill’s release in 2020 would have coincided with Maryland’s commemoration of women’s suffrage and the “Year of the Maryland Woman.”

Mnuchin said in May that the redesign would be postponed until at least 2026, with circulation beginning two years later.

Hogan asked Mnuchin to reconsider the delay “and instead join our efforts to promptly memorialize Tubman’s life and many achievements.”

“Harriet Tubman’s countless contributions to our nation transcend race, gender, nationality, and religion. She dedicated her life in selfless service to others and to the cause of freedom,” Hogan wrote. “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.”

Some of Maryland’s federal lawmakers have also decried the delay.

In February, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) joined Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in introducing the “Harriet Tubman Act of 2019,” which would direct the Treasury secretary to feature Tubman on all $20 bills printed after Dec. 31, 2020.

The lawmakers said they fear the Trump administration is stalling the effort.

“When it was announced that Harriet Tubman’s likeness would appear on the redesign of the twenty, it was an inspirational moment for women and girls, and the African American community,” the congressional lawmakers said in a statement. “…“Harriet Tubman’s fight for equality and freedom embodies the American spirit and she deserves to be featured beside our founding fathers. Our currency should finally reflect the important role women, and women of color, have played in our nation’s history.”

Last month, Cummings and Katko were joined by Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Elise M. Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) in sending a follow-up letter to Mnuchin urging action.

“As a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, Harriet Tubman played a critical role in some of the most significant efforts in our country’s history to ensure the basic rights of all Americans,” the group wrote to Mnuchin. “In consideration of her continued role in inspiring individuals of all backgrounds to pursue freedom and equality, we believe that memorializing Tubman on the $20 note would serve as a fitting tribute to her life and legacy.”

The lawmakers also asked for an updated timeline on progress for the redesign.

Tubman was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the 1820s. After escaping slavery, she helped rescue and lead others to freedom as an abolitionist and political activist. Her image on the $20 bill would replace that of President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder.

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