A grassroots campaign called Women on 20s
has put the idea for a $20 bill makeover to a vote, and narrowed it down to four candidates, including the civil rights icon and former Detroiter, Rosa Parks. Other finalists include abolitionist Harriet Tubman, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Cherokee nation chief Wilma Mankiller.
Why the $20? The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. (And as the organizers point out, the current face of the $20 bill — Andrew Jackson — is a somewhat ironic choice since he opposed the central banking system and paper money.)
While women have appeared on U.S. currency before, a $20 bill portrait placement would be the most prominent. Suffragist Susan B. Anthony briefly appeared on the $1 coin in 1978, and Congress updated the coin to feature the Lewis and Clark expedition's Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, in 2000. Currently, Helen Keller appears on the reverse side of the Alabama quarter.
People can vote for Parks or the other candidates on the campaign's website, womenon20s.org
. The organizers plan to present their final choice to the U.S. Treasury Department in the coming weeks.