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Andrew Jackson Should Not Be On $20 Bill

March 6, 2015

This week as I woke up one morning a conversation about the $20 bill was taking place on Wisconsin Public Radio.   In short, a nonprofit group called Women on 20’s suggested that it is now time to retire the face of  Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill and replace it with a bill featuring one of several prominent women from American history.

The fact we have no women on currency at this time makes part of the reasoning quite clear.  But as my mind that morning was adjusting to daylight and the harsh reality of another bitterly cold Wisconsin morning my mind jumped to a small fact that perhaps should have been added to the mix if for no other reason than the irony it held.

From my knowledge of history the bank wars that were central to his time in office should make all aware he was not the one most suited to have his face on any currency.  He was not a fan of paper money and had I already drank some morning coffee would have added these views on the call-in portion of the show.

Now that it is Friday afternoon and the week slows down I come back to this topic I had noted with a yellow sticky slip should be posted about on my blog.   While Jackson remains a colorful personality to read about it has been my belief that his lapses in judgment as a solider, landholder, and national leader should undercut any reason to consider him the only one who should be placed on the $20 bill.

There are many who talk of the “Trail Of Tears” as a reason Jackson should never have been placed on the bill, and why he should not stay.  I have perhaps more reason than most to feel this to be the case.  My relatives were on the infamous “Trail Of Tears”.

My Grandma Schwarz was 1/12th Cherokee, and I am 1/48th.   I am most proud of being first cousin, 6 times removed, from Chief John Ross.  He was also known as Guwisguwi (a mythological or rare migratory bird), and was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Native American Nation from 1828–1866.  My Mom’s side of the family always spoke with pride about their heritage.

It is with that same sense of history that I reject the idea that Jackson remain on the $20 bill.

Conversely on my Dad’s side there were those like Uncle Vernon who never wanted to know too much about the Native American links to our past on his side of the family.  When pressed about genealogy matters he often stated his concern about researching the past as “you never know when you will find a ****** in the wood pile.”    That racism and lack of curiosity was shameful.

That type of racist thinking ebbs away with the passing of time–thankfully-and we are left to examine our Native-American heritage with pride.

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