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Harriet Tubman $20 bill not going over well with Trump fans, other garbage humans

Get used to this face, Trump fans; you'll be seeing a lot of it
Get used to this face, Trump fans; you’ll be seeing a lot of it

It’s too bad the US Treasury threw a big wet blanket on Trump fans’ celebrations of the Great Orange Hope’s big New York Primary victory yesterday.

Did I say “too bad?” I meant “ah hahaha ha ha ha.”

Anyway, on Twitter the people you would imagine would be most upset by the Harriet Tubman $20 bill are, well, the most upset.

Apparently libertys sees “freeing slaves” as some sort of crime against humanity. But sees actual crimes against humanity as something worth celebrating.

And then there were those who pulled out the n-word. No, not that n-word. This one:

Don’t worry. There were plenty of people who used the regular n-word as well.

If after all this you want to be reminded just how completely badass Tubman really was, here’s her story, as recounted by a very drunk person.


147 replies on “Harriet Tubman $20 bill not going over well with Trump fans, other garbage humans”

Maybe because I live in an oasis of blue, but the southern public school system did OK for me. We got plenty of Tubman, Truth, and Turner. We were taught that the Civil War was about the economics of SLAVERY and a state’s right to OWN PEOPLE. I actually seem to recall my history books being… uncomfortably thorough in depicting both slavery and the many ‘Indian removals’

Back to back bills are actually pretty cool sounding. Wish this fucker wasn’t still on it, but hopefully this opens up the option for Anthony and Stanton and Douglass and King. Maybe some non genocidal white dudes too! Like maybe…
Twain or…
Dollar worthy portraits, right there

Regardless, I’m excited

I adored Harriet Tubman as a kid, so I’m kind of giddy. I went to an all girls school, so lucky me actually learned about kick-ass women throughout history. I was totally obsessed with Harriet and Helen Keller (okay, so I missed her rather… troublesome opinions on eugenics, but that stuff isn’t usually included in biographies directed at kids).

Anyone else find it funny that the musical Hamilton is getting a lot of credit for this change being put on the $20 rather than the $10? Guess the musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (seriously, that’s a real thing!) just wasn’t quite as effective… Gee, what a shame /sarcasm

In my K-8 school we only used textbooks for a few subjects, like math and spelling. I don’t think I learned history from a textbook until my US history class in high school. That’s probably why I knew about abolitionist heroes, the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and the genocide and oppression of indigenous Americans when I was a kid.

I guess I was pretty lucky to go to a kind of hippyish school.

I’m not sure if my school or any other in Minneapolis is still like this now that everything is so much more standardized. I hope it’s still like that.

@Bluecat Like so many Americans you have your information about Britain scrambled. Somersett’s Case, 1772, was settled in favour of escaped slave James Somersett, in a ruling which (among others) effectively declared slavery in England to be contrary to English Common Law. Formal abolition of the institution within the UK followed in 1807.

However, I’ve just read that he’s staying on the back, so the $20 should be karmically neutral. He’d be quite pissed that he’s on the back of some paper money with a black woman on the front. That makes it pretty sweet, too.

Kinda makes you hope there’s an afterlife just so people can know how their legacy turns out.

Shockingly, Donald Trump has come out in favor of keeping Jackson on the $20.

Donald Trump says he opposes replacing President Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The Republican presidential front-runner calls it an act of “pure political correctness.”

Trump — during a town hall Thursday on NBC’s “Today Show” — said he’d prefer to leave Jackson on the bill and place Tubman’s image on another denomination instead.

As he puts it: “Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill.”

He says Tubman is “fantastic,” but that Jackson has “been on the bill for many, many years” and “really represented somebody that really was very important to this country.”

Gee, I wonder why virtually no POC and a significant majority of woman voters want nothing to do with him.

Formal abolition of the institution within the UK followed in 1807.

Well, formal abolition of the slave trade happened in 1807 (and ended up contributing to the War of 1812 a few years later, as it encouraged the British to raid American shipping looking for illegal slaves). Slavery itself wasn’t really formally abolished until 1833, which was when that was actively applied to the rest of the British Empire. Portions of the Empire had their own patchwork of laws before that, of course: for example, Upper Canada (aka Ontario) passed a law in 1793 that banned the import of new slaves, and granted freedom to children of slaves at 25. It didn’t free existing adult slaves, but guaranteed that the practice of slavery would eventually end. (And needless to say, there was massive political opposition to even that lukewarm approach.)

You could also claim it wasn’t really abolished in the British Empire until 1843, when the few allowed exceptions in the 1833 law were removed.

@Bluecat Like so many Americans you have your information about Britain scrambled.

I read your whole comment. Point taken, but this bit was unnecessary.

As for me, this is actually the first time I’ve even heard of Harriet Tubman and learned her story. Holy shit, what a badass. Mad respect for this woman.

@ Jenora Feuer. I never said abolition was a simple thing, and it’s true slavery hung on in corners of the Empire until at least the 1830’s. The landmark 1772 court ruling stands though, and by the end of the 18th Century slavery was effectively illegal inside the UK proper. It rather undermines the credibility of Alex Hayley’s Chicken George being sent to England to study breeding fighting cocks. Such a man would have been able to claim his freedom. The story is set at a time when a number of Black American boxers were thriving as both contestants and boxing masters in England, often advertising their origins as former plantation slaves.
Rant over. Harriet Tubman is a good choice for the new banknote.


I’m pretty sure bluecat is from the UK.

Also, no need to be a douchebag.

I don’t think John Brown is good choice to share the $20 bill with Tubman. My biggest problem with him is the cold-blooded way he murdered people who never owned slaves when he was in Kansas.
I would prefer someone like William Lloyd Garrison, Elijah Lovejoy or Cassius Clay (1810 to 1903).
Or John Quincy Adams, who has some pretty good credentials in the fight against slavery.

I was rooting for Shirley Chisholm, but I’ll happily take Harriet Tubman! I wonder why the shitlords aren’t taking this opportunity to complain about Lincoln keeping his place on the $5 yet.

But those tweets! I have completely run out of even to cannot at this point.


One of the great things about being a supermarket cashier is the conversations you can gave. I remember one lady who was from Andrew Jackson’s state. She referred to him as “Our first redneck President”, so I assumed she was not a fan.

While I was a cashier at a U.S. craft chain, right after Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell, this happened to me: I had finished ringing out an older woman, probably in her 60’s, and she turned to me as she was leaving and said, apropos of absolutely nothing we had discussed during the transaction: “But… Hobby Lobby won! Yay!” And she did a little fist pump, too! I kind of side-eyed her and grunted “Mm-hmm.” This did not satisfy her, apparently, because she did it again! The exact same way, as if I hadn’t heard her. This time I turned to her and said, in the most dead-pan, disapproving manner I could muster “Yes. They did.” Then I turned and called the next customer. She caught my drift that time, because she harrumphed and flounced out the door, which made me feel a bit better. But I *SO* wanted to scream at her “If Hobby Lobby’s anti-women crap makes you so happy, then WHY did you have to bring your small-minded bullshit HERE you bigoted so-and-so??”

I used to get so tired of biting my tongue at work. So yeah, I don’t miss cashiering much at all, myself.

Yeah, I nearly spat out my drink when I read that one.


but teachers have an habit of saying its partially fault of the africans (they sold the slaves) and that Princess Isabel “freed” them for her own will. So a lot of white people don’t feel bad about slavery at all, cause black people sold the slaves and white people eventually “freed” them. Its just so disgusting.

Yup, that line’s popular here too, only replace ‘Isabel freed them’ with ‘thousands of white soldiers died to free them’.

Would I own slaves if I was born back then?

Probably not; hardly anyone actually did, proportionally speaking. Indeed, most non-slaves were considerably worse off economically than they would have been in a non slave-based economy, and a lot of them knew it. Of course, a lot of them thought that the solution was to become a rich slave owner, and fuck everyone else, which is still a common motivation for poor conservatives.

Could I, could we be all monsters in the right conditions? Or are we monsters already and don’t notice? We try to be good, but is that enough?

Kinda all of the above. You own things that were made by slave labor as we speak, and so do I. It’s basically impossible to participate in economic life and not have this be true. On the flip side, now as in the past, there’s a limit to what any individual can do about it, other than continue to advocate for political reforms that would abolish slavery once and for all.
@ mockingbird

think that there was some truth to those motivations (apologies if I’m wading into what’s already a fraught conversation – I’m working my way backwards through the comments while drinking coffee), at least as far as then-contemporary perceptions go – the North wasn’t brimming with abolitionists and there were plenty in the South who would rather have seen slavery quietly “go away”.

Every secession document explicitly mentions slavery and its continuance as the primary motivating factor. The slaveholding aristocracy was determined to hold onto power, economic, social, legal, and otherwise, and that was their motivation. The rest of the people living in the South didn’t really get a say. Indeed, a lot white Southerners were really, really pissed off about the whole secession thing, and even more pissed off that they were expected to fight and die to maintain the planters’ privilege. Many Southern states had more residents join the U.S. army than the Confederate army, and in the first two years of the war the Union had more Confederate deserters join up than they had casualties on the battlefield. A far higher proportion of the Confederate army were conscripts, and by the end of the war as many as 1 in 3 of their troops were AWOL. The war was not at all popular in the Confederacy, contrary to what modern racists like to believe. Not to say that the white people in question weren’t mostly racist as hell, because they totally were, but that didn’t necessarily make them fans of slavery.

…slavery was becoming economically unsustainable…But the fact remains that, at the time, the South’s agricultural economy was dependent upon slavery,

The first is more true, but these are both kinda accurate statements, and kinda not. Basically, moral arguments completely aside, slavery is a really, really shitty way to run an economy, and automatically generates a wicked high Gini coefficient, with most of the population, enslaved or not, on the wrong side of it. 99.9% of the people living in the South (and a large chunk of folks in the North; more on that later) were totally fucked by the slave economy. Small farmers had no cash crops, because they were chronically undercut by huge plantations with unpaid workforces (These are horrible for the land too, btw; huge chunks of the Tidewater still haven’t recovered from this shit, and it’s not like we’ve ever stopped doing it). Slaveholders would rent out skilled slaves, driving down wages and opportunities for free artisans and tradesfolk, and always the money filtered upwards, to pay for huge mansions, lavish feasts, and European vacations for the planters, while actual workers, slave and free alike, lived in tarpaper shacks and ate corn grits twice a day if they were lucky.

Meanwhile, slave-made products traveled North (mostly raw materials; cloth, fiber, coal, etc.), providing cheap inputs for the dark satanic mills that sprang up like mushrooms after a spring rain across New England. There, ostensibly free workers were barracked in company towns and worked the day in and day out, with the ever looming threat of their jobs going south to be done for no wages by slaves if they complained. Every union member knew that there was no point to the union in a slave nation, and whatever their thoughts on racial equality, to be union was to be abolitionist; entire locals signed up en masse when the war broke out, suspending activities until the end of hostilities.

TL;DR: The plantation economy relied on slavery, but wasn’t actually doing any good for anyone who wasn’t a slaveholder.

Maybe the fact that I’m an English major and aspiring librarian has something to do with it, but I’d also love to see famous American writers on US currency!

Andrew Jackson did a lot more than most people in American history

And most of it involved war, slavery and genocide. As someone on Reddit put it, Andrew Jackson was a big enough asshole that the Whig party (which would later become the Republican party) was literally founded to oppose him.

I have to say, I went to public school in Nevada (that used textbooks, mostly outdated), and learned all about Harriet Tubman. I may have even written a paper on her at some point, although K-6 (we had middle school there) was a long time ago…

On another topic, at least the right is consistent: they castigate Mexicans for breaking unjust laws today, and they castigate Tubman for breaking even more unjust laws two centuries ago.

Oh, and Dalilama, it’s fascinating studying the apologetics of the Civil War. Lincoln was extremely hesitant to link his opposition to succession to slavery at all, precisely because he knew how resistant many northern Whites were to the notion of Abolition. So, he chose to focus on the rule of the constitution and the importance of the states staying united rather than slavery. On, the other hand, not only the various succession documents (as you pointed out), but many of the pro-succession newspapers trumpet that they were succeeding (at least in part) to defend their ‘peculiar institution’.

Fast forward two hundred years, and the sides have completely swapped arguments. And, to make it more fun, the political parties have also swapped political bases, so the democrats still argue the war was about slavery, while republicans still argue it was about anything but 🙂

hey all I know is she stole property.

She stole property

She stole property.

She helped desperate, enslaved human beings to freedom at the risk of her own life and freedom, and this asshole calls it stealing property.

It would be a privilege to spit in this creature’s face.

Of course, in England we have a woman on all our banknotes 😉
But there have been some nastiness from MRAs about putting Jane Austen on a twenty that resulted in rape threats. Not very original for these MRA loonies, ho hum. But we currently have a fiver with Elizabeth Fry on it.

Was mostly just looking for famous historical American white dudes, who hadn’t said or done anything particularly atrocious. Rules out so, so many people. That I came up with 2 authors… I’m sure there’s a lesson in that somewhere
Also “Out, Out-” is haunting af

Why not put Marilyn Monroe on a banknote? Or Audrey Hepburn? Or Maria Callas?!! Just saying.

I recently confirmed that I have Cherokee ancestry after knowing both sides of my family had native american heritage for many years, so I’m a bit pissed that people believe that Andrew Jackson was ~such a great man~ when he committed genocide against my ancestors and uprooted everyone who was left. This tribe was scattered from what is now the deep south to Arkansas and Appalachia. With stolen land comes lost culture, leaving my grandpa and mother (both identify as mixed-race) out of contact with their roots. He robbed us of a connection and robbed this tribe of their lives. They don’t know anything about Cherokee culture. My dad is part Potawatomi and he knows a little bit, but I feel like my whole family missed out on a lot of good things that could’ve been passed down to me. I feel wronged by him and I’m very disgusted people are defending Andrew Jackson.

Oh, and as frosting on the whole shitcake, he took the South to make more slave plantations.


Oh yeah, and I forgot to add that I also thought Harriet Tubman was awesome. I was in like, 4th or 3rd grade and we watched this cartoon about her freeing the slaves. I thought she was so cool! Like, she was my favorite historical figure at the time and the first woman I heard of being influential and stuff. As someone who still identified as a girl, or at least with femininity, she was important to me. She made me wonder what other women did and why we don’t talk about women in history. I wanted to “see more girls in my books” after that.

I was involved in a summer art program thing at the community college that involved poetry and singing and painting and there was an anti-racism streak in it. We all made a mural about freedom and stuff and I painted a really blobby picture of Harriet Tubman freeing slaves by bringing them to Pennsylvania. :U

@Alan Robertshaw

Johnny Cash was the first American to learn of the death of Stalin.

(As someone mentioned cultural Marxism I’m going to pretend that was on topic)

I had to look that up in Wikipedia! For anyone who’s curious:

Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, Germany as a Morse Code intercept operator for Soviet Army transmissions. . . . He was the first radio operator to pick up the news of the death of Joseph Stalin.


The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Some days though my optimism fails and I fear it may be asymptotic.

I had to look up “asymptote.”

For the curious, here is Webster’s definition:


: a straight line associated with a curve such that as a point moves along an infinite branch of the curve the distance from the point to the line approaches zero and the slope of the curve at the point approaches the slope of the line

So it seems to be an arc that isn’t one long curve.

Alan, you’re making me think. Damnit!


We all made a mural about freedom and stuff and I painted a really blobby picture of Harriet Tubman freeing slaves by bringing them to Pennsylvania.

I’d forgotten about that, so I did a quick search and this is what I found about her own journey to freedom (before she went back to bring others to freedom):

When she finally crossed into Pennsylvania (where slavery had already been abolished), Harriet said, “I felt like I was in heaven.”

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t learn about Harriet Tubman in school. I learned about her from feminist writings. The frosting on the cake?

I went to school in Pennsylvania.

Maybe the dollar should be like the euro, with every state having the opportunity to design its own bills (which, however, would be legal tender anywhere).

For Minnesota, I propose we have a $19.99 bill instead of a $20, and put Prince (RIP) on it.

@ Kevin

Hi! Thanks for setting me straight on Somersett case, but Alan Robertshaw (our actual legal expert Brit) has already explained and informed up-thread.

I’m also British.

As I mention in the discussion with Alan, my area of historical research is the 17th century, rather than the 18th, as that’s what my book is about.

Raises interesting (interesting to me! YMMV! 🙂 ) questions about what is or should be “common knowledge”, and how it relates to what is or should actually be taught in schools.

Quite a lot of USians on here comparing how much or how little they learned in school about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

I heard of Harriet Tubman first from a reference in an American novel (Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, when some of the utopians reenact their imagining of history in which she delivers her “Aint I a woman?” Seneca Falls speech and then leads an attack on the Pentagon!), and then in references by US feminist writers.

I may be an unusually ignorant Brit and my formal study of history per se was long ago – O level in 1976 (“Modern” British history – ie the 19th Century to WW1: lots about Corn Laws and Chartism and whether Queen Victoria preferred Disraeli to Gladstone, but not word one about the slave trade, though I do remember seeing Wilberforce’s rather amusing monument in St Paul’s Cathedral) and A level in 1978, Medieval History (a little about serfdom, to be sure).

The 18th century just disappears, and most of what I learned about it was through doing a historically consecutive degree in English literature, where Swift follows Dryden and so on. Other notable omissions were things like how we came to have an empire, pretty much the entire development of colonies and their independence (or not) up until suddenly there’s a “scramble for Africa” just before the end of the period, the Enlightenment, the early stages of the industrial revolution, the American and French Revolutions, huge swathes of social change, and most of the development of modern capitalism.

I knew something about the slave trade, though – from films and from books and from general cultural references. A few years after I left school there was a big revival of interest in it, which I think may have been reflected in the school curricula, and certainly was in exhibitions. So almost certainly Brits younger than me would be more knowledgeable about that particular historical area. (Not sure how many would know about the Somerset case, mind you).

This seems to me to be one of the advantages of having people’s faces on money – a chance to find out a bit of history you might not otherwise have much information on. It’s a little disappointing that the one woman we get on our money (apart from the Queen, who’s there by being her father’s daughter) is pretty well known already through cultural references, rip offs, “re-imaginings”, endless films and her own novels, which have never been out of print.

It would be nice if we were allowed more than one at a time, wouldn’t it?

@ bluecat

whether Queen Victoria preferred Disraeli to Gladstone

Of which one did she say “He addresses me as if I were a public meeting”?

(I went to school in Yorkshire so we didn’t do any royal history after poor old Richard III was murdered by usurpers to the throne who therefore technically don’t count.)

I do wonder if a Republican President can overturn the Treasury Secretary’s decision to change the $20 bill. Trump has already decried Secretary Lew’s decision so I know he would do his best to overturn this decision.

Just another reason to vote for the Dems this November, I suppose.

P.S. I skipped the racist tweets/comments highlighted in this post since reading them would not be beneficial to me. However, I love the fact that this website (along with others) targets racists, sexists, homophobes, etc., for well-deserved ridicule and mockery.

There only great thing about having Jackson on the $20 was that he hated paper money and made it his personal mission to destroy the Federal Bank.

Karma. \o/

hey all I know is she stole property. Jackson gave Indians a new home. Tubman was a criminal

I’m late to the party, but DAMN. Referring to people unironically as property? Jackson gave Indians a new home?! Just… my brain cannot even process that.

You’d think right-wingers would be happy about this. They’re replacing a Democrat with a gun-toting Republican.

My brother or sister-in-law posted a meme to this effect on Facebook. (I assume mostly because they’re in favor of gun-totin’ and anything anti-Democrat is a plus.)

Also, thanks David for including the Drunk History segment on Harriet Tubman. Drunk History is my favorite show and I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen. I’ve learned so much from it. (Including that Harriet Tubman was a spy for the Union army.)

Hu’s On First
April 22, 2016 at 1:57 am

Maybe the dollar should be like the euro, with every state having the opportunity to design its own bills (which, however, would be legal tender anywhere).

For Minnesota, I propose we have a $19.99 bill instead of a $20, and put Prince (RIP) on it.

Sadly, I shudder to think what the Deep South states would come up with for their money. Probably a mix of Aryan Jesus and Famous Racists (“I’ll take ‘Categories I Never Want to See on Jeopardy’ for a $1000, Alex”).

The “Ain’t I a woman” speech was by Sojourner Truth. (The version usually taught is apparently embellished a good deal from what she actually said.)

I never knew how many people literally thought taking enslaved people to freedom was “criminal.”

Like I guess…technically…according to totally unjust laws…that we don’t even have anymore…and that were all about allowing people to OWN human beings…

I shouldn’t even be surprised, but I am.

must be a private conversation since my reply was erased. Its fine as long as people are either ignorant and think it is great to put a person on the 20 who is completely and utterly undeserving or ignorant to fact that Jackson was not quite a hero. I conclude that the moderator here is not looking for real truth nor fact but just trying to make anti-Tubman factions look stupid and positive ones look good. You wont change the real truth and that is smart intelligent people know that black are much more racist than any white person and this is why blacks bring it up every second when I don’t even think about it. In fact I think the moderator here is a racist black ignoramus.

@ Alan – William Ewart Gladstone – which is an anagram of “Wild agitator. Means well” as Lewis Carroll discovered.

My O level history teacher told us a lot of gossipy things of this kind. Apparently after having dinner with Mr Gladstone Victoria said, “He must be the cleverest man in the world,” and after having dinner with Mr Disraeli she said “He made me feel I was the cleverest woman in the world”.

When I come to London on the coach I pass a statue of Gladstone which I believe was the last straw of the matchgirls’ strike – the one which was paid for by docking their wages because the Bryant and May owner thought the Prime Minister that none of the women employees could vote for or against deserved a statue.

@ Irene – you are quite right! Serves me right for taking fiction as historically accurate (and in fact Piercy’s point is that the futuristic utopians have garbled their history, but focus on the good bits – so I only got part of the joke).

Thank you, Twitter. For showing me that when Galactus chooses me as his Herald, I’m telling him to eat Earth first.

I am just going to not take any more 20 dollar bills from anyone and there is my solution to this stinking problem.

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