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Choice is clear for face of new $10 bill

Goodbye, Alexander; hello, Alexandria…or whomever.

Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s very first Secretary of the Treasury (1789-1795), has had his face featured on a $10 bill since 1928.

However, old Alex – well, actually, deceased Alex: he died in 1804 – will soon disappear from the face of a “ten-spot.”

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that the $10 bill is the next in line for a complete redesign. He said that Alexander Hamilton’s time has passed and the occasion called for a complete change of face.

Make that change as the face of a woman.

Yep, for the first time since 1891, a female’s face will grace the front of America’s legal tender. The last was former First Lady Martha Washington, who was on a $1 Silver Certificate.

Lew, who by law makes the decision, said the redesigned $10 bill will be in circulation by 2020. I guess it’s no coincidence that 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment being added to the United States Constitution, a law that gave women the right to vote.

Secretary Lew said he must abide by the ages-old criteria when it comes to choosing whose face will stare back at us when we are handing over our hard-earned cash to make a purchase. The lone criterion is that the person chosen must be dead.

Putting a woman’s face on printed currency is a brilliant idea, especially considering it’s the fairer sex who controls the purse strings of a household (well, at least in mine, anyway).

We’ve previously attempted to honor women by placing their faces on America’s money. However, on both occasions, we didn’t take too kindly to that effort – not because of the two women chosen – Susan B. Anthony (whose face was on silver dollars minted from 1979 through 1981, and a second chance that went south in 1999); and Sacagawea, the famous Indian guide who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition (on gold-colored dollar coins in 2000). We didn’t like those newly designed coins because of their size. Dollar coins are typically larger and carry a bit more weight. For some odd reason, the U.S. Treasury at that time opted to mint smaller dollar coins. People were confusing them with nickels.

Now the question is which female will be featured on the new “ten-smack”?

I guess Hillary Clinton and Caitlyn Jenner are out of the question…both for the fact that neither is dead, and in Jenner’s case….well, you know.

Some are favoring Alice Paul, who took the lead on an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) back in the early 1900’s. Her dream of the ERA never materialized in her lifetime, but in 1920 President Woodrow Wilson backed the passage of the suffrage campaign by women and the 19th Amendment became law.

Others say the redesigned $10 should bear the face of Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange; or Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. There’s also a big push to have either Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman, both famous for their Civil Rights efforts, on the new “tenner.”

As of June 22, I’m launching an official campaign to have the late Blanche Joyner Bryant (1929 – 2004) featured on the new ten dollar bill. She makes for an ideal candidate….she was born on the most famous financial day of the year (April 15); she served as the longtime bookkeeper at Hill Chevrolet-Pontiac in Murfreesboro; and was the trusted treasurer at Ashley’s Grove Baptist Church for decades.

But, most importantly, she was my mom, and taught me all about the importance of making wise financial choices and saving money.

Mr. Lew, if you need a photo of my mom, contact me by either means shown below.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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