No sooner did the U.S. Treasury Department announce that anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill than an inconvenient truth came to light.
It probably doesn’t make too much difference that Tubman was a Republican, as anti-slavery (and then pro-civil rights) Americans have always been since 1860. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican too, so that’s kind of OK, and can be kept unmentioned behind a curtain most of the time.
But the really inconvenient truth is that Tubman carried during her life as an activist, and was often shown with a rifle in contemporary depictions. She thought guns were just dandy.
Biographer Kate Clifford Larson has noted Tubman was comfortable with guns:
Harriet Tubman carried a small pistol with her on her rescue missions, mostly for protection from slave catchers, but also to encourage weak-hearted runaways from turning back and risking the safety of the rest of the group. Tubman carried a sharp-shooters rifle during the Civil War.
Harriet Tubman’s pistol and saber are on display at the Florida A & M University (FAMU) Black Archives in Tallahassee, Florida.
Brandon Morse enthusiastically proposes to put a Hollywood-ready sidearm wielding “Tubman” on the $20.
We need this. We need this as a nation. pic.twitter.com/lg2emqQwzw
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) April 20, 2016
But Guns.com has an alternative I could go for.
Tubman’s history of carrying highlights the significance of gun rights to the broader, God-given rights of black Americans, as indeed gun rights have been significant to the liberty and dignity of all Americans, and to the yeoman peoples of the West. So let’s celebrate her legacy, and be sure to remember what the dynamic of arms and the woman meant to the mighty project of ending slavery.