When news spread Wednesday from the US Treasury that Harriet Tubman, a formerly enslaved black woman and American icon, will soon appear on the $20 bill — formerly the sole domain of Andrew Jackson, a slave holding president — it almost seemed like poetic justice.
But tying Tubman to American money is complicated, as Fusion contributor Jay Smooth noted in a 2015 video.
Last May, when Women on 20s, a nonprofit organization that was petitioning to put women on American money, announced that Tubman was the polled favorite, Jay Smooth argued that America's legacy of enslaving human beings for profit made Tubman an imperfect choice for the $20 bill. "What we're basically talking about right now," he said in the above video, "is honoring the work Harriet Tubman did to free us from slavery by putting her face on the reason we were in slavery."
The fact that Jackson will remain on the bill with Tubman shows America still shares a lot of this legacy today.