The Corner

Culture

Harriet Tubman Is a Great Choice, Not a Politically Correct One

If you look at Harriet Tubman and all you see is, “African-American woman,” well then, you’re a historically-ignorant idiot.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, announcing the decision to put Tubman on the $20:

Looking back on her life, Tubman once said, “I would fight for liberty so long as my strength lasted.” And she did fight, for the freedom of slaves and for the right of women to vote. Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates, and we will continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency. 

Perhaps some of the voices calling for Tubman on the $20 just wanted any prominent African-American woman to replace one of the white males on our currency. If it was political correctness that drove this decision, who cares?  The Obama administration has inadvertently given Tubman fans of all political stripes an opportunity to tell the story of a deeply-religious, gun-toting Republican who fought for freedom in defiance of the laws of a government that refused to recognize her rights.

Historical accounts say she always carried a gun (and often an ivory-handled sword) and echoing the “Live Free or Die” Revolutionary War slogan:

“I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.”

She was a Civil War spy, carried a sharp-shooter’s rifle, used disguises, worked as a nurse at Fort Monroe in Virginia, and helped lead the Combahee River raid. (How has this not been a subject for a major Hollywood biopic until now?)

This morning, Donald Trump said the decision was “pure political correctness” and suggested putting her on the $2 bill. (Tough luck for Thomas Jefferson, apparently.) Also, last night Greta Van Susteren said the administration “went stupid, for no reason” by creating “a completely unnecessary fight.” She said Tubman deserves the honor, and perhaps her own bill, but that the move to replace Jackson will “gratuitously stir up conflict in the nation.”

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More

How a U2 Anthem Defined Generation X

In Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything... (1989), Lloyd Dobler sketches out a stumbling, uncertain-but-nevertheless-determined path for his and my generation: “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or ... Read More

How a U2 Anthem Defined Generation X

In Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything... (1989), Lloyd Dobler sketches out a stumbling, uncertain-but-nevertheless-determined path for his and my generation: “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or ... Read More
White House

The Folly of Twitter’s Fact-Check Policy

No American, not even the president, has an inherent right to a social-media account. Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter are free to ban any user they see fit. They’re free to fact-check anyone they want, to create a framework of acceptable speech, and to enforce their policies either consistently or ... Read More
White House

The Folly of Twitter’s Fact-Check Policy

No American, not even the president, has an inherent right to a social-media account. Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter are free to ban any user they see fit. They’re free to fact-check anyone they want, to create a framework of acceptable speech, and to enforce their policies either consistently or ... Read More
Sports

Welcome Back, NHL*

It looks like the National Hockey League will be the first professional sports league to officially return to action -- with 24 teams, rather than the usual 16 -- competing for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs by early July. As I understand it, the players will undergo coronavirus testing, and then gradually ... Read More
Sports

Welcome Back, NHL*

It looks like the National Hockey League will be the first professional sports league to officially return to action -- with 24 teams, rather than the usual 16 -- competing for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs by early July. As I understand it, the players will undergo coronavirus testing, and then gradually ... Read More