Underground Harriet

A Twenty for Your Thoughts

By: Candace Lelo

Stop marginalizing historic feats.

I repeat.

Stop marginalizing historic feats.

The history of blacks in this country is deeply rooted, rich, and complex. We, as a people, literally built America in ways that beat against the chest of this nation to this day. Because of that some of us are angry that our people have not been given our just due.

It’s understandable.

There were never any reparations for slavery.

We never received our 40 acres and a mule.

Systematic racism, causing the destruction of the black family, can still be seen today.

So, because of that, some of us have chosen to remain in a self-induced apathetic funk.  Not willing to acknowledge when strides are made. They marginalize progress made in this country… much like this country marginalized our race for many years. But lest we forget, it was Martin Luther King Jr., who said the following, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

A few weeks ago it was announced that one of our most noteworthy dedicated individuals, Harriet Tubman, would replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill. Along with the predictable grumblings from racist nationalists who felt a black woman didn’t deserve to be the face of any US bill…there were grumblings from self-proclaimed black nationalist as well.

*Begin rant*

“You’re placing Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

I guess you want me to jump for joy.

Why would I do that?

Bills were used to buy negroes centuries ago. To buy Harriet when she was enslaved.

What does this mean for me? It’s a slap in the face if anything.”

*End rant*

The diatribe above sounds angry bitter and ill placed behind such a historic event. More and more it seems that every time something monumental happens concerning the black community; a negative spin has to be put on it.

Now I’m not saying there isn’t some validity to what folks are saying. One positive act does not erase the hundreds of horrendous acts that came before it. But look at the big picture: look at who Harriet Tubman was and what this symbolizes for our country.

A woman who fought for liberty will be the face of the $20 bill. It’s a reminder of how far America has come. She was a black woman born a slave.  She risked her life and fought for us to have freedom when blacks were looked at as property; not human beings.

Therefore the  $20 bill has much significance in the life of Harriet even after she was freed. That money was used to gain freedom for her parents and now that bill is a symbol of what freedom means in America.

Will Harriet Tubman’s face on the $20 bill make what’s happened in the past go away? No.

But, it will be a constant reminder to those who forgot what our country was built on—history that is not pretty but something that birthed a nation of people who learned to crawl from the bottom to the top.

Let’s stop putting wasteful energy into places that could use real energy. The time spent ranting and raving about the lack of progress in our country would be best exerted in the communities that need more action and less talk.

Be the change you want to see. Agree with it or not Harriet Tubman is the first woman and the first black person to be put on US Currency. You can take that to the bank with you!


Source : http://time.com/4301619/harriet-tubman-20-dollars/


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  1. Karen Anthony
    Karen Anthony05-16-2016

    Often people are so quick to rant rather than get a full understand of a situation; One has to ask, while you are ranting, what have you done lately to impact your community, your Country, this world?
    Rather than a negative spin on the news; I opt for a more positive one.
    Harriet Tubman is more than worthy of national recognition in this manner, what a day it will be to see this amazing woman on a $20 dollar bill. Yay!

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo05-17-2016

      Yes! Yes! Yes! I totally agree Karen. There is a lot of progress to be made but being results oriented will always get one further than complaining. There are certain things that cant be controlled in life but if we govern ourselves and take action to better our communities then there’s a much higher likelihood of consistent progression.

      I’m glad to see Ms Tubman on US currency as well.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Derek Washington
    Derek Washington05-17-2016

    I agree with most of this with the exception of who “built” America. Some of the largest economies in the country were free states.

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo05-18-2016

      The comment about building America was not just in relation to slavery though. There are plenty of inventions that black Americans were responsible for and lots of work blacks did outside of free labor that helped build this country.

      The truth is if slavery was so profitable for the nation…there wouldn’t have been a fight between the Union and the South to keep it. But that’s a whole other topic.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Destiny R
    Destiny R05-18-2016

    Great article with so many valid points. Putting Harriet Tubman on a 20 dollar bill will not change what has happened to blacks during slavery and civil rights days, but it’s something we should appreciate Ms. Tubman on. I still say fight for your rights black people. The war against us is never going to be over, but we can make some progress and be thankful for the things we have and how far we’ve come.

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo05-23-2016

      Thanks for your feedback Destiny. I totally agree!

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