The Treasury Department, at least partially, heeded the calls of many to feature a woman on American paper currency, when Secretary Jack Lew announced June 17 that they will feature a woman’s face on the $10 bill. Now that the dilemma of “if” a woman can be featured has been solved, the major question remaining is “who?” A recent poll revealed that Americans have a clear answer.
According to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Wednesday, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt is the first choice of Americans, with 27% hoping she will secure the honor, Reuters reported. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman and explorer Sacagawea are next in line, earning 17% and 13% of votes respectively.
And, in fact, the American people’s opinion does matter: In an unprecedented move, the Treasury Department decided to allow the American people to choose this new icon in a campaign called “The New 10.”
“The response has been tremendous,” Lew says in a recent video update, noting that there have been more than 1.5 million interactions via public forums, roundtables, open houses and on social media regarding the decision.
Eleanor Roosevelt would certainly be a sensible choice given her many incredible accomplishments. The longest-serving first lady was a staunch advocate for civil, women’s and human rights; she was a member of the NAACP board of directors, served as the head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and supported countless other humanitarian efforts.
But choosing Roosevelt has racial implications as well. Whether or not to choose a woman of color for this distinction has been a contentious point of debate. While some like The Root’s Kirsten West Savali have equateddoing so would be like offering “hush money,” considering the many economic obstacles women of color in this country still face, others note it’s an opportunity for widespread representation of a largely marginalized population.
Ultimately, the choice is ours. Lew and the Treasury Department will announce the final decision “soon,” but there’s still time left to determine who the victor will be.