U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Mdcalled for swift implementation of the U.S Treasury Department’s plan to redesign the $20 bill to feature abolitionist and Marylander Harriet Tubman. In July 2015, Senator Mikulski helped introduce the Harriet Tubman Currency Tribute Act of 2015 together with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), which would have directed the U.S. Treasury to feature Harriet Tubman on American paper currency by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
“It is long past time that a woman be featured on American currency. I helped introduce a bill to honor Harriet Tubman on the front of the $10 bill by 2020, in time for the centennial of the 19th Amendment,” Senator Mikulski said. “The Treasury Department is now saying women will be on the back of the $10, and that Harriet Tubman will be on the $20, but we don’t know when that will happen. Women have waited long enough. I urge fast action by the Treasury Department to recognize the lasting legacy of Harriet Tubman.”
Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, where she spent nearly 30 years as a slave. She escaped slavery in 1849, but returned to the Eastern Shore several times over the course of 10 years to lead hundreds of African Americans to freedom in the North. Known as “Moses” by African American and white abolitionists, she reportedly never lost a “passenger” on the Underground Railroad.
Early in the 113th Congress in 2013, Senator Mikulski helped introduce the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park Act to establish national historical parks in Maryland and New York to honor the life of abolitionist and Marylander Harriet Ross Tubman, the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. The tenants of that bill were passed by Congress and signed into law, establishing a National Historic Park in Maryland tracing Tubman’s early life on the Eastern Shore, where she was born and later escaped from slavery. That law also established a National Historical Park in New York to commemorate the later years of Tubman’s life where she was active in the women’s suffrage movement and established a rest home that provided for the welfare of aged African Americans.
In 2012, Senator Mikulski was presented the Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award by the Maryland African American Tourism Council for her work to promote the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, including her persistent efforts to establish Harriet Tubman National Historic Parks as well as a Harriet Tubman National Monument on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.