Not Wilma Mankiller.
I appreciate Mankiller’s contribution to the Cherokee Nation and to feminism, and to the building of a stronger relationship with the U.S. Government. However I have a problem with putting someone’s face on U.S. currency that was, in fact, an active proponent of not being part of the United States. Advocating sovereignty from the United States gives you a “no” in my book.
Hi there! Now that we have your attention, welcome to Part Two of the question of what important historical female should adorn what paper currency for the United States of America. In Part One I advocated keeping Alexander Hamilton alone, why Andrew Jackson should stay, and why Ulysses S. Grant is probably still drunk and wouldn’t care if he was on currency anyway. Now we look at my considerations for the important women in U.S. History that deserve to be on paper currency.
Looks like she agrees with me on the single lady on a single bill.
But I’m sure plenty of people bailed out when I said no Mankiller and Tubman. I’m sure the racist moniker went full Duke and some people are wondering how a horrible human being like me teaches kids. Well, let’s see. If the idea is to put someone on the bill that measures accomplishments or influence to U.S. History, then Mankiller is out (for reasons listed) and Tubman suffers from bubblitis (she’s important but not Top 10). So who makes it and why?
In no particular order….
1. Harriett Beecher Stowe
Abolitionist, feminist, member of the Underground Railroad, and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the book that energized the North in a ground-swell against slavery that set the foundation to the Civil War. Stowe went beyond influencing feminism, she helped save the United States with her prose and was the model for the ideals that all Americans should incorporate.
2. Eleanor Roosevelt
There might not be a more politically powerful woman in all of U.S. History. Hell, Roosevelt probably ranks as one of the most powerful politicians in the 20th Century period. She made the First Lady position a political powerhouse by attacking her political desires with action. Civil Rights activist, communicator with the Bonus Army, opponent of Japanese internment, draftee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and quite possibly the Chief Advisor to the President of the United States. There is even a good chance that FDR’s presidency was a team.
3. Alice Paul
Paul’s demand for political equality goes beyond admiration into legacy status when you take into account that her protests were during the First World War, and that she had a direct causal impact on the creation of the 19th Amendment. She was a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage and equal rights until her death, from chaining herself to the White House gates to demanding that women’s rights be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
4. Rosa Parks
So the argument could be made that the she was neither the first to refuse to sit in the back of the bus, nor was the act totally spontaneous. That is irrelevant. Parks was a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement and an active participant in events ranging from the death of Emmett Till, to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, to Martin Luther King, to Malcolm X, and so much more. And she did everything with passion and grace; a calm demeanor that goes beyond action to legendary symbolism.
5. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Stanton was the first real suffragette. She basically created the Women’s Movement and took it further because she brought to light issues of social injustice as well; property rights, divorce, employment, and birth control. The Declaration of Sentiments is required reading and was an excellent way to remind the U.S. that all people are created equal. Stanton also did the unorthodox move of not supporting the 14th and 15th Amendments. Why? They were not going to give women the right to vote.
There are many, many other excellent possibilities but I’m sticking with those five. Want to get the debate started? Let’s get it on!