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The legacy of Md. native Harriet Tubman

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 18:15:36-04

The $20 bill you have in your wallet right now will soon look a lot different.  Harriet Tubman, the famous activist and anti-slavery advocate, has been chosen to be the new face of the bill.

She's been called brave, a leader and a visionary. Tubman was even  nicknamed "Moses" because of her deep devotion to God.
 
The abolitionist who was born into slavery died a free woman in 1913, and she will soon be known to anyone holding a $20.
 
Heroic. Fearless. Determined. Slave.   
 
All words used to describe Harriet Tubman. Now, she's set to be commemorated on the $20, a first for an African American.
 
"I was floored," William Jarmon said. "When a child comes to you one day and asks for some money to go to the movies more than likely you're going to give them a 20 dollar bill and on that 20 dollar bill you will have Harriet Tubman's face." 
 
Jarmon runs the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's an area Tubman called home, where her legacy is strong and it's expected to only become stronger once the bills start to circulate.
 
"The history of slavery which is known throughout the country and the world but it will also show a woman that was fearless who was dedicated to the fact that she wanted to be free." 
 
Jarmon and many others say the decision to showcase Tubman is progress.
 
"Sometimes history does not repeat itself. We become more aware of who we are and what we are and it shows that we are a multi cultural people," he said.
 
Throughout history, Tubman forged ahead as an African American woman and a crusader in the anti slavery movement-most notably as a conductor for The Underground Railroad.
 
"Even though she had married a free man, she left him, left her parents, learned how to conduct herself as an individual who could not read, could not write, but who was willing to use her common sense to rescue people," Jarmon said.
 
The museum may not get droves of visitors, but soon the world will know her face and see the value of her convictions.
 
"It's about time. Whoever came up with this really knew that it was time not only for an African-American but a woman,"  Ann Thayer said.
 
"I think it's awesome, it's about time we had a woman on paper money and Harriet Tubman is a great place to start, said Carolyn Fort.
 
Her presence in the wallets of millions could also be the start of a conversation about a dark part of the country's history, while also teaching the importance of unity.
 
"Her whole story is so inspirational. It will be great to talk about and teach kids and why is this person here and why are we honoring her," Thayer said.
 
Tubman, a Maryland native,  replaces president Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20. Jackson will be on the back.
 
The women's rights advocate also served as a Union Army spy during the Civil War.
 
Unveiling is set for 2020, the centennial of the 19th amendment establishing women's suffrage.
 

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