Yesterday Laura came back from her walk with the biggest apple I’ve ever seen. It looks like a Honeycrisp on steroids – I think it’s about 50% bigger than a big one of those apples. She found it on the ground and somehow it isn’t bruised and there aren’t any worm holes or anything so it’s rather a mystery apple.
The other thing, or really things, she found are seven Harriet Tubman $20’s. They look super real and even though they were all wet (it drizzle-rained most of the day yesterday), they’re completely intact and now that they’re dry, they look like new.
I’ll describe the visuals in a minute but first I want to relay how frustrating it was trying to find images online. I spent a bunch of time last night scrolling through Google using the search “Harriet Tubman 20 dollar bill” and then tried again this morning with a slight variation but never did find this particular Tubman bill. I did see a cool article about someone who created a stamp of Tubman’s face that fits neatly over Jackson’s face on current $20 resulting in a useable, legal, much improved bill.
Finally, though, I noticed a web address, tubman20.com (https://tubman20.com/), in the right lower corner of the back of one of the found Tubman bills and it leads to a site where one can purchase Tubman $20’s to spread around and also explains how Steve Bannon managed to quash the development of the real Tubman $20. Although there’s zero chance it will do any good, I went ahead and signed the petition to get the improved bill back on track.
I’m not sure what to make of the fact that there’s this whole movement – or at least a pretty fancy website – promoting this righteous switch from a slave holding eugenicist to a courageous freedom fighter and nothing about it shows up in Google searches. Maybe the website and these Tubman bills are brand new, but it seems quite odd.
The bill itself is very cool and very pointed. On the front there’s an image of young Tubman holding up a lantern in her left hand and holding a pistol in her right hand, her index finger positioned as though she could pull the trigger at any second. Behind her head in large font are the words “ENSLAVED STATES” and then above this in tiny font in the outer border are the words “We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident That All Men Are Created Equal.” On the left side of the bill are cotton boles and on the right are tobacco leaves. The 20 in the lower left corner is embedded in the notice “Will be Sold. 20 Slaves” and the one in the lower right corner says “Reward! 20.” Behind the main image of Tubman there’s a faint image of a plantation with slaves and overseers in the foreground.
The back of the bill doesn’t let up in the least. The central phrase in large font says “DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA,” which is above the image of a large courthouse-like building that’s totally engulfed in flames. Underneath that are the words “Never Forget” arched across an image of children being sold away from their mothers with the dates 1776 and 1865 on either side. I’m not sure who the pipe-smoking guy filling the left side of the bill is, but Gordon (aka “Whipped Peter”) is the person depicted on the right side, the ropes of his scars covering his back plainly, painfully visible. The tiny font in the upper border of this side of the bill conveys this Tubman quote “Never wound a snake….. kill it.”
She clearly, righteously, meant business. And clearly, righteously, we should honor her and at the same time relegate your favorite bigot to the same ignominious place in history you’re about to occupy. The two of can duel it out for the “Worst, most Despicable POTUS Ever” title and rot in infamy together.
May we be safe from gaslighting White Supremacists.
May we love America enough to heal the systemic racism undergirding our everything.
May we be strong and courageous enough to see and know what needs seeing and knowing.
May we humbly accept and honor our Tubmans.