I’m a sentimentalist when it comes to currency. Paper bills with bright colors still strike me as fake somehow, quasi-European if you know what I mean. They just don’t feel right in the hand the way an old greenback does.
But I more than welcome news that a woman will be featured on the next $10 bill, even though it will come as a change. It’s been more than a century since Martha Washington and Pocahontas appeared briefly on paper currency. They were the only American women who ever did. That seems downright ridiculous when you think of all the contributions American women have made toward the shaping of this country.
Traditionalists can be comforted in knowing that Alexander Hamilton isn’t getting the boot from the ten. He deserves to be on there more than anyone. Hamilton was responsible for the creation of a US common currency after all. He’ll just be rotating on the bill with another great American now. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind that at all.
The US Treasury wants to hear our opinions about who should be chosen for the next ten. Lots of names come to mind — Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Adams, Helen Keller, Clara Barton, Molly Pitcher, Anne Hutchinson (a local favorite, but she could be eliminated on the basis of her parkway misbehaves!) — but, if forced to choose, I’d have to say that Harriet Tubman is my pick.
Tubman was born into slavery in 1822. After escaping bondage, that came with brutal beatings that left her with life-long dizzy spells, she repeatedly headed back south to guide others through the Underground Railroad. Tubman made at least 13 round trips beneath the Mason Dixon, risking her life and freedom each time. She liberated more than 70 enslaved black families. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this rare honor.
I may be a sentimentalist when it comes to things like currency, but I’ve got to say, when I get a Tubman Ten in my hand, it’s going to feel very right, very American, and very overdue.