As one of the most important abolitionists and a key “conductor” during the Underground Railroad—making the dangerous trip multiple times—many feel her heroism and bravery should land her a spot on the bill. In fact, she won the vote of the grassroots organization, Women on 20s, which petitioned to have a woman’s face on the $20 bill.
Susan B. Anthony
The new bill will be unveiled in 2020, which coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (which gave women the right to vote). Amongst her many causes, she was an influential suffragist who was so integral to the passing of the amendment, it was named after her.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
While Justice Ginsburg (the second female justice on the Court) can’t actually appear on the bill, since law prohibits living persons from being printed on currency, there’s no question that she’s had a substantial influence on the judicial system. Ginsburg has argued historic cases for women’s rights, including United States v. Virginia, which granted admittance for women into the Virginia Military Institute.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Stanton co-organized the first Woman’s Rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York with Lucretia Mott, and later worked with Susan B. Anthony in the suffragist movement. She lectured across the country and authored several books, including three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and Woman’s Bible.
As the longest-serving First Lady, Roosevelt spent many years traveling the country, recounting her trips in her daily syndicated column “My Day.” She was the first First Lady to hold her own press conference, and only allowed female reporters—who were traditionally barred from presidential press conferences—to attend. After her husband’s death, she served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
Earning more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees for her work as a poet, author, and civil rights activist, Angelou is a popular choice for the new spot on the bill. She was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, and received international acclaim for her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Throughout her tenure as First Lady during the presidency of Gerald Ford, Betty Ford became an influential voice on woman’s rights issues and breast cancer awareness. She quickly became known for her humor and candor, and showed no fear when tackling the controversial issues of her era. She was an avid supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was designed to guarantee equal rights for women.
A prominent human rights advocate and abolitionist, Sojourner Truth fought for the inclusion of African Americans into the Union Army. She spent time volunteering and bringing food and resources into the army, and helped recently-freed slaves acclimate to a new life in D.C. In her most famous address, “Ain’t I A Woman,” she argued that women were equal in capability to men.
Best known for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, Rosa Parks is one of the most iconic figures of the Civil Rights movement. Her bold actions triggered the 381-day bus boycott, and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. In 1999, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 20 most influential people of the 20th century.
Independent and intelligent, Abigail was a highly influential confidant to husband John Adams, who frequently requested her advice on a variety of political issues. In one of many letters to her husband, she requested he “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.”