Women Promoted for Face of $20 Bill

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March 29, 2015

Call it crowd-sourcing for the face of money.

A nonprofit organization has launched an online campaign to get a woman's face on a denomination of United States paper money. The group, Women on 20s, has targeted the $20 bill, which currently features the face of Andrew Jackson on the front. If the group succeeds, then Jackson's face will be replaced by that of one of 15 famous American women.

The organization launched the effort, which began with a publicity campaign and the opening of an online voting forum, in March 2015, to coincide with Women's History Month.

Possibly the most famous name on the list is Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer who was a leading figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and campaigned for civil rights for decades.

The other candidates are these:

  • Susan B. Anthony, a leader in both the abolition and women's suffrage movements.
  • Clara Barton, a pioneer in the nursing field and the founder of the American Red Cross
  • Rachel Carson, a leader in the environmental movement and author of Silent Spring
  • Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress and the first member of her race to run for President
  • Betty Friedan, a leader of the 20th Century feminist movement and the first president of the National Organization for Women
  • Barbara Jordan, a pioneering Senator and orator
  • Patsy Mink, the first Asian-American in Congress
  • Alice Paul, a leading figure in the women's suffrage movement
  • Frances Perkins, the first female Cabinet member in America, serving in all four administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, a very popular First Lady and later United Nations delegate who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Margaret Sanger, a pioneer in the effort to create Planned Parenthood
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a founder of the women's rights movement and architect of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention
  • Sojourner Truth, a well-known African-American who spoke out throughout the country for abolition and women's rights
  • Harriet Tubman, a leading figure on the Underground Railroad, known as "the Moses of her people".

Jackson is the target for replacement, the group said, for his approval of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, resulting in the Trail of Tears, and for his opposition to paper currency.

The list of 15 candidates will be whittled to the top three vote-getters, and a subsequent vote will result in the most popular choice being put forward.

Women have appeared on American money. Anthony was on the $1 coin, in 1979-1981 and 1999. Sacajawea, who helped lead the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark across the Louisiana Territory in 1804, has appeared on the $1 coin since 2000. The 2003 Alabama state quarter featured Helen Keller. Martha Washington was on a $1 silver certificate in the late 1800s.

The group's goal is to get a woman on a bill, preferably the $20 bill, by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Jackson's was the last new face to appear on an American paper bill, in 1929, when he replaced Grover Cleveland. Since then, many other high-profile campaigns to alter the faces on the fronts of paper currency have not gained enough support to succeed.

The U.S. Treasury Secretary can unilaterally announce such a change, as can the U.S. Congress, by passing a bill that the President signs.

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