Washington: In a historic move, anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will be the first woman to appear on an American banknote in more than a century as her portrait will replace former president Andrew Jackson on the front of the new USD 20 bill, the US has said.
Tubman was born as a slave around 1820 and helped hundreds of others escape. While she will feature on the front of the USD 20 bill, Jackson's image will move to the back.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J Lew yesterday announced to add women and civil rights leaders to the new USD 10 and USD 5 notes, in a historically symbolic makeover of American currency.
In an open letter to fellow Americans, Lew announced plans for the reverse of the new USD 10 to feature an image of the historic march for suffrage that ended on the steps of the Treasury Department and honour the leaders of the suffrage movement Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul.
The front of the new USD 10 note will maintain the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, he said.
Lew also announced plans for the reverse of the new USD 5 to honour events at the Lincoln Memorial that helped to shape the history and democracy and prominent individuals involved in those events, including Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr, a media release said.
The reverse of the new USD 20 will feature images of the White House and President Andrew Jackson.
In his letter, Lew noted that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will work closely with the Federal Reserve to accelerate work on the new USD 20 and USD 5 notes, with the goal that all three new notes go into circulation as quickly as possible, consistent with security requirements.
"Today, I am excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman - Harriet Tubman on the USD 20 note," Lew said.
Last June, Lew had announced that a newly redesigned USD 10 note would feature a woman, for which he started a national conversation about women in US democracy.
"Since we began this process, we have heard overwhelming encouragement from Americans to look at notes beyond the USD 10. Based on this input, I have directed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to accelerate plans for the redesign of the USD 20, USD 10 and USD 5 notes.
"We already have begun work on initial concepts for each note, which will continue this year. We anticipate that final concept designs for the new USD 20, USD 10 and USD 5 notes will all be unveiled in 2020 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote," Lew said.