Should MLK Jr. Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill?

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf argues that placing King's face on U.S. currency makes sense on many counts. He also argues that "Old Hickory's" racist legacy makes him the best candidate to be removed to make room.

We can all understand the value of a dollar, both fiscally and figuratively speaking. But how do you quantify the value of having one's face on a piece of currency? Many nations honor past leaders, innovators, and other figures of cultural import by slapping their visage on coins and bills. In the United States, the distinction is reserved -- with several exceptions -- for past presidents and founding fathers. While you'll never hear an argument that Abraham Lincoln ought not be featured on American currency, some of those other names are associated with a much more checkered past.

In a new article titled "Ditch 'Old Hickory' and Put Martin Luther King on the $20 Bill," Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic suggests Americans do just that. The argument in favor of placing MLK on U.S. currency is sound; he was a beloved icon as well as a symbol for peace and justice:

"The case for putting him on money is not just elevating a man simply for the sake of diversity. Yet it would address the fact that, but for racism, our money would've long been more diverse. The only loser here would be the historic figure kicked off of a bill."

Andrew Jackson, despite his indelible role as war hero and presidential populist, is marred by a legacy that looks more mottled and pocked with each passing year. "Old Hickory," as he was called, is the historical face of Native American displacement and genocide. Friedersdorf notes that he amassed a fortune as a slave trader. His policies were considered racist even during his presidency, drawing the ire of figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Take a look at Friedersdorf's piece (linked below)and let us know what you think in the comments.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo credits: Jackson: Gary Blakeley / Shutterstock; King: Orhan Cam / Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less