On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced that in 2020 it will introduce a new $10 bill—one that features a woman instead of Alexander Hamilton. The new bill will reach consumers’ wallets just in time for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted American women the right to vote.
Treasury has not yet selected the woman to grace the bill. Secretary Jacob Lew has asked the American public to weigh in on the decision. Should it be Eleanor Roosevelt? Or maybe Wilma Mankiller? Let us know your choice in the poll below. Need a refresher on why each woman would make a great candidate? We’ve provided a case for each choice.
Eleanor Roosevelt gave new meaning to the term “First Lady.” She wanted to ensure that her post was not just one of elegance, but one of action. When the U.S. entered World War I, she volunteered with the American Red Cross and Navy hospitals. After her husband, 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was stricken with polio, she traveled the country and reported back on the state of the nation. She became FDR’s “eyes, ears, and legs.” In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt held her own press conference (making her the first First Lady to do so) and only allowed women reporters to attend. Roosevelt continues to be remembered as a staunch advocate for both women’s and human rights.
Harriet Tubman is among the most celebrated “conductors” of the Underground Railroad. From 1849 to 1860, she made 19 trips to the South, escorting over 300 slaves to freedom. Tubman never lost a passenger. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke highly of Tubman, saying “I know of no one wcontinuedho has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than [Harriet Tubman].” Her work even after the days of the Underground Railroad. She worked as a cook, nurse, and spy for the Union during the Civil War.
Rosa Parks became the public face of the civil rights movement when, in 1955, she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. In her autobiography, she writes, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true…. The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” The bus boycott began on the day Parks was convicted of violating “Jim Crow” segregation laws. It didn’t break until over a year later, when the Supreme Court deemed bus segregation unconstitutional. Parks continued to advocate for civil rights until her death and became the first woman in American history to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, an honor typically reserved for military officers and elected officials.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony is best known for her work as an advocate for women’s suffrage. For years, she fought for the ratification of a constitutional amendment that would grant all American women the right to vote. Other organizations often tried to take the state-by-state route. Anthony appeared before U.S. Congress from 1869 to 1906 to appeal for passage of the amendment, to no avail. She died in 1906, 14 years before the 19th amendment was ratified. The amendment was named in Anthony’s honor.
Sojourner Truth was a prominent supporter of both abolition and women’s rights. Her powerful voice helped carry her message. She was known to say things like “Give ‘em land and an outset, and hab teachers learn ‘em to read. Den they can be somebody.” and “It is hard for the old slaveholding spirit to die, but die it must.” Her most famous speech, “Aint’ I A Woman,” remains one of the most cited pieces of feminist prose over the past century.
Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to serve as the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief. During her 10-year tenure, Mankiller worked to improve the nation’s health care, education, and governmental structure. After leaving office, she continued to advocate for Native American and women’s rights. In 1998, Mankiller was officially recognized for her work with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
POLL IS NOW CLOSED