Paper Money

Should Martin Luther King Jr. replace Andrew Jackson on U.S. $20?

Should a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. replace Andrew Jackson’s on $20 Federal Reserve notes?

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf wrote about that very topic in an online article posted June 12, as did Slate's Jillian Keenan on March 3. 

READ: Writers advocate taking Andrew Jackson's portrait off $20 FRNs, replace with Martin Luther King Jr.

Coin World took the question to its Facebook fans earlier this week and got plenty of opinions from those in favor of the change, those against it, and even those who don't think anyone should be on our currency.

Here are a few of the responses we received:

  • Timothy Benedict: "I could support that change. Change the reverse to a depiction of his I have a dream speech at Washington Monument and we have a new bill."
  • Karl Howard: "No way. Presidents only. And dead ones at that!"
  • Jas Trent: "I think mlk would say no thats why i say no. He knew it would be about his skin color and not him. He was a great man."
  • Richie Stinchcomb: "Absolutely NOT!!! Personally, I don't think anyone should have a portrait on currency. It should be a generic representation such as Lady Liberty, eagles, buffaloes, etc."
  • Kathy Leaphart: "They need to look better not worse we have such beautiful artwork why not a beautiful scene or animals not another Stoic portrait!"
  • Gary Geiser: "There are bills without a President already. Hamilton, Chase. Frankly, it is just a scrap of paper anyhow!"
  • Brad James: "No. I'm sick of Congress messing with the look of our money, it's as bad as the multicolored play money the Europeans use."
  • Wayne Kwasniewski: "Not a bad idea"
  • Mark Conway Munro: "Remove the people from all denominations and replace them with concepts such as liberty, justice, industry, rights, equality, etc. We need to hold these ideals up higher than even the best of our past elected leaders and cultural heroes who embodied them."
  • Michael Warner: "No. 'If there has to be another portrait on currency...' put him or her on a $200 bill. Leave the $20 as it is."
  • Robert Nelson Jones: "No. I would be better to create an eighty Dollar Bill instead."
  • Stephanie Welborn Owens: "MLK; while a great humanitarian, already has a street in every city and a national holiday devoted to his memory. He would not have wanted to be on money. Let the portraits of founding fathers or many of our nation's landmarks be on currency."
  • Douglas Jurgens: "We saw what happened when they put Susan B Anthony on the dollar coin. Everyone hated them and they were a wasteful endeavor. Not everyone will agree with what important figures in American history are the best to represent the whole of the country, but the pandering to special interest groups needs to stop."
  • Chuck Chinici: "We're the only major country in the world that still honors government leaders on our currency (the Queen of England is a symbol and not a government leader). I say take all Presidents and Founding Fathers off our currency and replace them with allegorical concepts of liberty or non-military events/symbols in American history (eagle, buffalo, flag, Statue of Liberty, Transcontinental RR, Lewis & Clark, California Gold Strike, Erie Canal, etc.) like we had in the late 1800s. Grant ($50) and Jackson ($20) were two of the worst presidents in our history while, although great presidents, Washington and Jefferson, both Southern plantation owners, practiced slavery. If we avoid putting historical figures, we avoid future debate over their merits. Just a thought from a 44 year U.S. History instructor."
  • Vernon Peterson: "~ Why not change the reverse side of the $5 Note, and place his "I Have A Dream" speech inside the Dome & Outside the Dome some vignettes of the Civil War..." 
  • Phil N. Molé: "Yes, as soon as possible."
  • Maximus Decimus Meridius: "I personally would rather see them all gone off of our money and replaced with a nice vignette similar to what the old rail road and mining stocks used in the early to mid 1900’s."
Add your opinion in the comment section below!

Community Comments