correction: Earlier versions of this article incorrectly said Harriet Tubman “led thousands” of slaves to freedom. Historians say Tubman led more than 300 people to freedom; the Underground Railroad she was part of helped thousands.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday urged the federal government to immediately put Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill, writing that the former Maryland slave who led hundreds of others to freedom “more than earned her place among our nation’s most pivotal leaders.”
During congressional testimony, he said the new $20 bill instead would be in general circulation in 2028, citing security concerns that had prompted the government to release redesigned $50 and $10 bills first.
In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump derided the proposed Tubman currency as “pure political correctness” and objected to replacing Jackson, whom he has described as a hero. He suggested Tubman grace a $2 bill instead.
The postponement in Washington comes as Maryland has enhanced its monuments to the famed conductor of the Underground Railroad, including a visitors center that opened in 2017.
A 125-mile self-guided tour has three dozen stops along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where Tubman was born, enslaved and later worked as an abolitionist. Murals honoring Tubman in Cambridge, Md., are being completed.
“I hope your department will reconsider its decision and instead join our efforts to promptly memorialize Tubman’s life and many achievements,” the governor wrote to Mnuchin.
Hogan said a bill featuring Tubman would enhance Maryland’s 2020 centennial celebration of suffrage.
“Much of our progress as a nation — most notably in the struggle for freedom and equal rights — can be attributed to the sacrifices of this American hero,” Hogan’s letter said.