So yesterday on The View during their hot topics segment of the show, Raven Symone said she did not agree with the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill. Here are her words exactly:
“No offense to everyone that’s going to be mad at me for saying this, I don’t like that idea. I think we need to move a little bit forward. Let me just preface that I understand the history, I get it, trust me, I was taught, I was in that culture. … I would’ve chosen Rosa Parks… I would have chosen someone that is closer to the progression that we’re doing now. I know you have to understand history so you don’t repeat it, but that doesn’t happen in our world, because we still repeat history of hating other cultures over and over again. I would choose a different woman, no offense.”
Really!?!? To say you’d rather have Rosa Parks than Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is just silly. How could you even debate anyone over Harriet Tubman?
There are very few people in the history of America that have lived a life as impactful as Harriet Tubman. As a child she was a human scarecrow. Yes those existed, as early as age three slave children were brought to the fields to bake in the hot sun and ward off animals. She overcame so much from her head injury to escaping slavery and working with abolitionists. A leader in the Civil War and in her later years in women suffrage. She worked alongside many great people in history like Fredrick Douglas, Robert Gould Shaw and Susan B. Anthony.
Her life exemplifies patriotism and humanitarianism which is as close to “the progression that we’re doing now” as possible.
My point is there is no tree without roots. There would be no Rosa Parks, no NAACP, no civil rights movement, no Martin Luther King Jr., without the works of Harriet Tubman. I feel like so many people want to believe slavery is this ancient dark part of American History, when in fact slavery ended just 150 years ago. Harriet Tubman died just 102 years ago and her life and dedication to the progression of America is still unmatched.
Raven Symone is the same person who told Oprah she’s not African-American because she can’t trace her roots back that far. Therefore, she’s “colorless,” just American. Whether she realizes it or not, by saying that she outwardly negated the plights of so many African-Americans before her like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.
Raven Symone seems quite misguided. Just because slavery ended 150 years ago, doesn’t make the works of Harriet Tubman any less relevant than Rosa Parks. Just like because you don’t know what country in Africa your ancestors came from doesn’t mean your not African-American. I would urge Ms. Symone to read Harriet Tubman: Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton to see how much we can learn from the life of Harriet Tubman. Her guiding principles and commitment to progression is one we all should mimic today
We all can have our own opinions and there is nothing wrong with that. But don’t say Harriet Tubman isn’t close to today’s progression when in fact she symbolizes it. In the wake of Ferguson and Baltimore, standing up for what is right no matter the opposition is what Harriet Tubman stood for and still lives on today. Wanting to see Rosa Parks on the $20 bill is fine but don’t so boldly disagree with the Harriet Tubman decision. Commemorating one of the great leaders of American History who paved the way for so many is a great thing. Rosie Perez had the right response. Raven can take some notes from her co-hostesses and maybe read a few more books.
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