I say yes to Harriet Tubman on the $20

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)

Harriet Tubman was gun-toting abolitionist and a Republican. If she were alive today she would be a huge supporter of the 2nd Amendment and the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. Putting her on the $20 bill will be a constant reminder of the racist roots of gun control laws in America. In Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero her biographer Kate Clifford Larson says:

Harriet Tubman carried a small pistol with her on her rescue missions, mostly for protection from slave catchers, but also to encourage weak-hearted runaways from turning back and risking the safety of the rest of the group. Tubman carried a sharp-shooters rifle during the Civil War.

Gun control was a historical method to control and subjugate blacks and Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill might spred the word on that. Knowing that gun control was a method of oppression of blacks to make it easier for the KKK to hang them should be more widely known and appreciated.

In an article titled, “The Secret History of Guns” published in the September 2011 issue of The Atlantic, Adam Winkler writes,

INDISPUTABLY, FOR MUCH of American history, gun-control measures, like many other laws, were used to oppress African Americans. The South had long prohibited blacks, both slave and free, from owning guns. In the North, however, at the end of the Civil War, the Union army allowed soldiers of any color to take home their rifles. Even blacks who hadn’t served could buy guns in the North, amid the glut of firearms produced for the war. President Lincoln had promised a “new birth of freedom,” but many blacks knew that white Southerners were not going to go along easily with such a vision. As one freedman in Louisiana recalled, “I would say to every colored soldier, ‘Bring your gun home.’”

After losing the Civil War, Southern states quickly adopted the Black Codes, laws designed to reestablish white supremacy by dictating what the freedmen could and couldn’t do. One common provision barred blacks from possessing firearms. To enforce the gun ban, white men riding in posses began terrorizing black communities. In January 1866, Harper’s Weekly reported that in Mississippi, such groups had “seized every gun and pistol found in the hands of the (so called) freedmen” in parts of the state. The most infamous of these disarmament posses, of course, was the Ku Klux Klan.

By all means, let’s put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

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