Civil rights activist Rosa Parks stood out for her courage by not giving up her seat. That’s why 11-year-old Mackenzie Hall hopes the pioneering activist wins a spot on a new $10 bill that’s expected to roll out in 2020.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently announced plans to freshen up the $10 bill with the image of a woman. The redesign will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Which notable American woman will be featured? Lew is seeking public input before announcing his selection later this year.
More than a century has passed since a woman appeared on U.S. currency, though Pocahontas and Martha Washington graced notes in the 1800s. I paid a visit to the Germantown Community Library, showing around a $10 bill and asking kids to imagine a fresh face in Alexander Hamilton’s place. They mulled it over and then soundly defended their choices.
Photo credit: Kara Painter • Pictured below: Trey and Sarah Grace Price
Thirteen-year-old Sarah Grace Price says the new bill is a symbol of equality. “Having a woman on the $10 bill will show that women are as important as men, and they can do what a man can do.” Fifteen-year-old Sarah Pugh agrees: “Picking a woman is a wise idea because everybody picks a man most of the time for an inspiring figure.”
With a proud grin, 7-year-old Matthew Price says his mom deserves the spot. His second choice is First Lady Michelle Obama “because she is proud of kids.”
Seven-year-old Madison Hall cast a vote for Harriett Tubman, “because she freed slaves, did a lot of work, and created the Underground Railroad.” “Jane Addams gave back so much to her community,” continues Pugh. “She created the Hull House, which helped immigrants who didn’t have financial resources. She took them in and gave them a place to live while they looked for work.”
With each response, I find myself happy to realize how many women these kids can name, along with their accomplishments.
Pictured below: Mackenzie & Madison Hall
“Clara Barton had courage and worked outside of the home when no one else did,” adds 15-year-ld Kritika Basu. “She helped the surgeons medically and provided a foundation for the hurting people around her.”
Rosa Parks earns several thumbs-up in my poll. “Rosa Parks fought for her race in America. She was an African American and that made her life a struggle,” explains Trey Price, age 12. “She was very brave, knowing that she could get hurt refusing to give up her seat.” Sixteen-year-old Calli Strini nods, adding, “Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed in. She has strong character for people to look up to, especially girls.”
My brief history lesson over, I find Mackenzie Hall sums up my visit best: “It shows it doesn’t matter who you are — if you fight for what you believe in, it might just happen.”