Stephanie Jones-Rogers on slavery, capitalism, and the $20 bill:
“As a historian, there is something discomforting about an enslaved woman on the front of American currency. Yes. Even an extraordinary woman like Harriet Tubman. The woman who stole herself from her owner and ran away to freedom. The conductor of the Underground Railroad who suffered from hypersomnia, which caused her to spontaneously fall asleep as she shepherded enslaved people to freedom. The woman who went back to the South during the Civil War and served as a Union spy. The woman who fought for female suffrage after the war was over.
“Yes. It troubles me to think of seeing her on American currency, and it is especially troubling that Andrew Jackson — a president whose nickname was the “Indian Killer,” who was responsible for signing into law the Indian Removal Act, and who owned 150 enslaved African Americans at the time of his death — will be on the other side…”
On Against the Grain, Stephanie Jones-Rogers (University of California, Berkeley) discusses white women slaveowners in the U.S. South and their role as slave traders:
Although white women have been largely excluded from histories of the domestic U.S. slave trade, they were in fact active participants in the buying and selling of enslaved Blacks. So argues Stephanie Jones-Rogers; she also elucidates the power slave owners had under federal and state law to go into so-called free states to reclaim runaway slaves.