Maryland Gov. Hogan to Trump administration: Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is urging the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to delay putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

In a letter Tuesday to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Hogan wrote he was “incredibly disappointed” Tubman won’t be on the $20 next year.

Treasury officials announced in 2016 during Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration that the likeness of Tubman, one of the most famous conductors of the Underground Railroad that led slaves to freedom, would be placed on the $20 bill.

The plan was to replace former President Andrew Jackson with Tubman in 2020, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. She would be the first African-American to be pictured on American currency.

But Mnuchin said last month that putting Tubman on the $20 wouldn’t be considered until 2026 — after President Donald Trump would be out of office, should he win re-election next year.

“Harriet Tubman’s countless contributions to our nation transcend race, gender, nationality, and religion,” Hogan wrote to Mnuchin. “She dedicated her life in selfless service to others and to the cause of freedom. Her unbelievable acts of heroism, courage, and sacrifice have more than earned her rightful place among our nations most pivotal leaders.

“She deserves this honor.”

This Harriet Tubman mural — and viral photo of a girl reaching out to her — are drawing powerful responses »

The White House referred questions to the Treasury Department, which did not respond to a request from The Baltimore Sun for comment.

The delay frustrated proponents of honoring Tubman, particularly U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, one of the most prominent champions of putting the famous abolitionist on the $20 bill. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, has expressed “significant disappointment” in a letter to Mnuchin.

Hogan joined their calls Tuesday to honor Tubman in what’s the latest of the governor’s occasional disagreements with Trump, a fellow Republican.

Though Hogan had courted speculation that he might challenge Trump in the Republican presidential primary next year, the governor recently announced that he decided against a presidential run.

Cummings tweeted Tuesday afternoon, applauding Hogan for calling on the Trump administration to reconsider its decision.

Tubman was born as Araminta Ross, a slave in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore around 1820 or 1821. Tubman and two brothers escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad in 1849, and she later helped dozens of others escape. Tubman also served as a spy for the Union during the Civil War and pushed for women’s suffrage. She died in 1913 in upstate New York, where she is buried.

In Maryland, Tubman is honored with the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County. Statues of Tubman and fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass have been commissioned for the State House in Annapolis. In Baltimore, a portion of Wyman Park Dell where a statue of Confederate generals used to stand was rededicated last year as Harriet Tubman Grove.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
84°