“All those other presidents on the dollar bills”

2009 April 29
by Ellen Noonan

Is the uncontested reign of white male images on U.S. currency also going to end in our lifetimes? Another collateral effect of electing the first African-American president…let the conversation about historical memory begin.

(via Ta-nehisi Coates)

Last 5 posts by Ellen Noonan

2009 April 30
Josh Brown permalink

There are several hazards inherent in this monetary commemoration issue. One already senses a brewing struggle between advocates for an iconic white woman versus an African-American man, a legal-tender echo of the split in the alliance over the 15th Amendment–not to mention, more recently, the resentment of Obama’s ascendancy over Clinton expressed by some of the latter’s women supporters. Of course, one (perhaps craven) solution is to opt for a great abolitionist woman of color such as Sojourner Truth!

That said, I fear that the other hazard confronting a great black man or white woman or woman of color who ends up on one of our slips of paper money is his/her immediate transformation–into a “dead white man”!

As for the notion that Grant is expendable among the dollar-presidents, I strongly object. Why is Alexander Hamilton not in the dismissal sweepstakes? And what about coins? We seem to have a lot of presidents hogging both our change and cash!

2009 May 8

I think Hamilton gets a free pass because of co-authoring the Federalist Papers. (I could probably list three people that would come off bills before I’d take Hamilton off) I think that any person who is not a founding figure for our nation will probably be brought into question or have their position on money thought of as being a result of the whim of the times. I think it’s time for the Lincoln to come off either the Penny of the five. It’s his call. and Washington should give up either the quarter or the dollar. Why does George get to monopolize the denominations that are used in grade school cafeterias? Put Douglass on the Quarter in my opinion. I think the symbolism woulds be much more powerful to memorialize Douglass (or Sojourner truth) in a medium where skin color isn’t the most obvious characteristic.

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