WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Harriet Tubman emerged as the winner of a grassroots campaign called “Women on 20s” to replace predominately white, male historical figures currently on America’s currency.

The petition from the “Women on 20s” campaign calls upon President Barack Obama to “order the Secretary of the Treasury to change the current portrait portrayed on our American $20 bank note to reflect the remarkable accomplishments of an exemplary American woman who has helped shape our Nation’s great history.”

The $20 bill – which currently features Andrew Jackson – is the target of the replacement campaign. The petition doesn’t take an “Act of Congress,” instead, it simply requires Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew to take the more than 600,000 voters into consideration.

And after the more than half-a-million votes for Jackson’s replacement, Tubman was the top pick.

Among the candidates included in the “primary round” of votes: Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

But after 256,659 voters cast ballots, Tubman, Roosevelt and Parks each amassed more than the 100,000 votes needed to qualify for a petition of their own. And the “finalist” vote, Tubman garnered 118,328 votes – narrowly beating Roosevelt’s 111,227.

Tubman, who was born in 1822 and died in 1913, was an African-American woman who was born a slave in Maryland before fleeing to the North for freedom. An abolitionist, humanitarian and a Union spy during the American Civil War, Tubman braved 19 trips back to the South as the conductor of the Underground Railroad. Tubman guided 300 slaves to freedom and was active in the women’s suffrage movement after the Civil War.

“WHEREAS, The Women On 20s campaign has fostered a renewed spirit of hope and expression for greater equality truer to our Nation’s values, voters embraced this opportunity, and further embraced Harriet Tubman and all of the candidates,” reads the petition. “Women On 20s, therefore under the authority of trust given to it by its supporters, presents herein its endorsement and verification of the campaign results honoring Harriet Tubman with the auspicious designation as the winner of this historic campaign.”

The movement to add a woman to the U.S. bank note has gained momentum in recent weeks, including Obama mentioning in a speech last month that he thought a woman on the $20 bill was a “pretty good idea” in response to a letter he received from a young girl that kicked off a #DearMrPresident social media campaign.

Benjamin Fearnow


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