Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will announce that Alexander Hamilton will stay on the front of the $10 bill Wednesday, Politico reported, while women’s voting rights activists will go on the back of the bill.
Meanwhile, the report said, former President Andrew Jackson will be replaced on the front of the $20 bill by anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman.
Lew once considered placing women’s voting rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony on the $10 bill, according to an internal Treasury memo reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.
Lew, however, switched course and decided to ask for public comment about which woman should be on the bill. Anthony has already been featured on a $1 coin from 1979 to 1981 and again in 1999.
“The March 2015 memo, which hadn’t previously been reported, sheds new light on a couple of long-running currency dramas,” the Journal reported.
Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, is the subject of a popular Broadway musical, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Monday.
The decision on the $10 bill has been the focus of much interest in the last week. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it’s up to Lew.
“It, of course, is not at all uncommon for the Treasury Department to consult with the White House where appropriate when making important policy decisions,” Earnest said. “But I don’t have any news to make on Treasury’s behalf, at least not today.”
On Friday, Earnest said, “Lew has demonstrated a seriousness of purpose in taking a look at what the next generation of U.S. currency would look like. Obviously, there are updates that are made to our currency based on security requirements. And the question that he has considered is when those security updates are required, should we make some changes to our currency to make sure that it better reflects the country, and certainly the role that women have played in contributing to the development of our country.
“And he has indicated that that look will result in changes being made not just to the $10, but to the $5 and the $20. But beyond that, we’ll have to wait for an announcement from the Treasury Department.”
A gaggle of federal agencies decide on currency-security features, but the Treasury Department has broad powers for the visual displays. Money can’t feature living persons. The last paper currency to print a woman’s solo portrait was a $1 silver certificate issued in 1891, which featured Martha Washington.
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