Editorial: Let’s get a currency that looks like America

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We’re thinking Harriet Tubman, Jane Addams and Susan B. Anthony.

The key word here being “and,” not “or.”

Any one of these three great Americans would be perfect to honor on the $10 bill, replacing — not joining — Alexander Hamilton. The others would be terrific to honor on currency of other denominations, preferably bills and coins people actually use. That Susan B. Anthony dollar never took off.

On Wednesday, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew announced that a newly designed $10 note will feature the face of a woman, setting off a spirited social media debate about who that woman should be. Along with Tubman, Addams and Anthony, other top choices so far are Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Sacagawea.

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Lew left open the possibility that Hamilton would remain on the bill as well.

Seriously? A woman can’t get on an American greenback without a chaperone?

The whole debate might be less feisty if Lew made it clear that putting a woman on the $10 note wouldn’t be just tokenism — that other women would be honored on other bills.

Tubman was astounding. She was born a slave and became a leading abolitionist. Addams was remarkable. She was a founder of the settlement house movement that uplifted immigrants and the poor. And Anthony, of course, was the greatest of all suffragettes.

All three women were, in their different ways, pivotal figures in the most important story in American history, the ongoing struggle to expand civil rights.

Enough with the white men’s club in every cash register. Let’s get a currency that looks like America.

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @csteditorials

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