NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Andrew Jackson Foundation shared their “disappointment” Tuesday in the latest announcement from the U.S. Secretary of Treasury.
Jacob Lew has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman on U.S. paper currency in 100 years.
Tubman, a 19th century abolitionist and leader of the Underground Railroad, will replace Jackson, the nation’s seventh president whose home remains a National Historic Landmark in Nashville.
“We support efforts to diversify the representation on U.S. currency to include women and other groups not currently featured,” CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation Howard Kittell said.
“But as keepers of Andrew Jackson’s story, we are also dedicated to reminding us all why there was an Age of Jackson, who he was, and why he was revered by so many. Therein lies our disappointment,” he continued.
The foundation said it looks forward to further discussion with the treasury.
“As noted last summer, by treasury officials, Jackson too has his supporters, and no historical figure is without complication,” Kittell said, likely silently nodding toward Jackson’s history with slaves and slave labor.
“Andrew Jackson was an iconic American who was considered in his time as the second George Washington and whose own story, from Revolutionary War orphan to war hero to president, became a metaphor for the emerging American identity,” the foundation explained. “He was truly a self-made man who transformed our republic from a democracy in name to a democracy indeed. He inspired other presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and was revered by both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton among others. He also owned slaves, and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. All of these stories are on display at The Hermitage.”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander also responded to the announcement the day it came out, saying our nation’s history “is not Andrew Jackson versus Harriet Tubman.”
“It is Andrew Jackson and Harriet Tubman, both heroes of a nation’s work in progress toward great goals. It is unnecessary to diminish Jackson in order to honor Tubman. Jackson was the first common man to be elected president. He fought to save the Union. He defined an American era. He helped found the Democratic party. And he was a great Tennessean. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. gave us wise advice: ‘Self-righteousness in retrospect is easy, also cheap,” Alexander stated.