$20 Facelift: Will A Woman Replace Jackson Instead Of Hamilton?

Monday, April 18th 2016, 12:13 pm
By: News 9

Sources tell CBS News the Treasury Department may end up adding a female face to the $20 bill, not the $10 bill.

The agency originally planned to announce which woman would be appearing on the $10 bill by the end of last year, but that proved to be more controversial than expected. Millions of people weighed in and now the redesign has gotten a redesign of its own, reports CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman.

Last June, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced a woman would be joining Alexander Hamilton on the newly re-designed $10 bill, he couldn't have predicted a Broadway musical would complicate his plans.

The smashing success of "Hamilton" brought newfound fans of the founding father rallying around the first treasury secretary-turned-pop icon. Now people familiar with the process tell CBS News that Lew is expected to announce Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 note, and a scene of women throughout history will be added to the back.

"Alexander Hamilton is one of my heroes. He's not leaving our money," Lew said to Charlie Rose in an interview last month.

But that's not all. He's expected to announce a woman who will eventually be on the front of the $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson -- what some might consider a far more prestigious placement.

"We're going to put a woman on the face of our currency. And this is not just about the $10 bill. This is about a whole series of bills," Lew told Rose.

It wasn't just the musical that derailed the original plan. There was also an outpouring of negative reaction on social media and input from groups like Women on 20s, which wrote an open letter to Lew last week saying: "Relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus. The Rosa Parks analogies are inevitable."

The civil rights activist is one of many candidates for the face of the new currency. Other possibilities include the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

While any decision is now bound to be controversial, one person who said they'll be pleased: "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who visited Lew last month. Miranda tweeted that he was told, "You're going to be very happy."

While an announcement is expected this week, Treasury officials would not comment. Because of the intricacies of the currency redesign process, it won't be until after 2020 when the new $10 bill goes into circulation -- and so the $20 bill would be well after that.