THE HARRIET TUBMAN STAMP
-- TUBMAN OVER JACKSON ON THE $20 Bill
In response to the decision by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to delay replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, many people have turned to using a stamp to imprint a portrait of Harriet Tubman over Andrew Jackson on their bills in an act of ‘civil disobedience’.
Harriet Tubman stamps in action
HOW We Got Here
- On May 12, 2015, Harriet Tubman was announced as the winning candidate of a “grassroots” poll of more than 600,000 people surveyed to have her portrait on the $20 bill. The goal was to have a woman on the $20 bill by 2020, the centennial of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote.
- On April 20, 2016, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Andrew Jackson would be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, with Andrew Jackson appearing on the reverse with a redesign of the white house as well.
- Early in 2017, soon after President Trump took office, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to commit to the Obama administration’s plan to put Tubman on the $20 bill, artist Dano Wall decided to create a stamp on his 3-D printer that could be used to superimpose Harriet Tubman’s portrait on the bill.
- On May 22, 2019, after being pressed by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Mnuchin stated that the primary reason of the redesign was to combat counterfeiting issues with the $20 bill. With this reasoning, he also stated that this would be postponed until 2028. (see video below)
- After the official announcement by Mnuchin to delay the redesign, 10’s of thousands of “activists” got involved and started stamping their money, making it near impossible for the original artist to keep up with demand. In an effort to put the project above his own personal profits, Mr. Wall released his design to stamp makers all across the country in hopes of getting as many stamps as possible into the hands of the newly minted “activists”, essentially making it impossible to ignore the will of the people to honor Harriet Tubman and the larger contribution of Women in our society as a whole.
- In a cooperative effort, tapping into years of experience with creating stamps specifically for stamping on money; projects including the popular money tracking site www.WheresGeorge.com and Ben and Jerry’s Stamp Stampede, we have begun producing Dano Wall’s original design. We have included enhancements to the stamp that we have learned from years of being the “experts” in the field. The most significant being the alignment of the stamp die on the self-inking mount to make lining up the stamp simple enough that anyone can do it. We have also created practice sheets that allow users to get used to stamping before marking the money in their wallets.
See Mnuchin discuss his reason for delaying.
In the News
"There was one of two things I had a right to: liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other."
-- Harriet Tubman
An icon of courage and freedom
Harriet was born into slavery in 1822. Following her personal escape she chose to return enabling some 70 others to escape over 13 trips with the help of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War she participated as an scout and spy for the U.S. Army. She was active in the Women's Suffrage Movement.
Harriet was born into slavery in 1822. Following her personal escape she chose to return enabling some 70 others to escape over 13 trips with the help of the Underground Railroad.
During the Civil War she participated as an scout and spy for the U.S. Army. She was active in the Women's Suffrage Movement. She has become an icon of courage and freedom.
As an abolitionist, Tubman lived an extraordinary life escaping slavery and helping others to do the same.
Nicknamed “Moses”, Tubman led groups of slaves to freedom with the help of the Underground Railroad. She also facilitated former slaves to compete with the waves of poor Irish immigrants for work in the North. Since the Fugitive Slave Law transformed many Northern States into increasing hostile areas many fled to Southern Ontario for relief.
Tubman’s dangerous endeavors required spunk and ingenuity rarely seen before in women let alone women of color in an age that the practice of slavery was common place. She used the inclement weather of winter to reduce the odds of being seen and discovered.
In the war of 1812, Major Jackson rose to fame when he led the defeat of the British in New Orleans. As the seventh President, Jackson came to the office with an overwhelming popular vote with a platform based on direct representation. He was a supporter of ending the electoral college and chose to utilize his veto power instead of following Congress with policy making decisions.
Yes, it is legal to stamp or write on money. The law simply states that it’s only illegal to deface currency “with the intent to render the bill unfit to be reissued.” Since it is the goal to have bills stamped with Harriet Tubman's portrait stay in circulation, it’s legal. The United States is one of the only countries with this viewpoint and it enables you to share your political insights with your hard earned money. There are three things that you CANNOT do to paper currency: You CANNOT change the denomination — for example, you cannot add two zeros to a one dollar bill and pretend that it’s a one hundred dollar bill. That’s illegal. You CANNOT burn, shred, or destroy currency, rendering it unfit for circulation. You CANNOT advertise a business on paper currency. For example, if you own a Bagel shop, you cannot stamp “Eat at Joe’s Bagel’s” on a dollar.
Defacement of U.S. currency is regulated by 18 USC 333, which states: "[W]hoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both." There’s also a law prohibiting the use of paper money as advertising, 18 USC 475, which states: "[W]hoever . . . writes, prints, or otherwise impresses upon . . . any [coin or currency] of the United States, any business or professional card, notice, or advertisement, or any notice or advertisement whatever, shall be fined under this title." 18 USC 333 is written to prohibit the malicious destruction of currency, and 18 USC 475 is written to prevent currency from becoming a vehicle for commercial advertising, like for Burger King. Because the people who stamp their bills with a portrait of Harriet Tubman want their stamped money to stay in circulation and are stamping to express their opinions about a political issue, not to make a profit, they are good to go.
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