Harriet Tubman - Her Money, Your Money and the $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman chuckling in heaven. That's what I'd like to think as her response to the news that her face will grace the front of our new twenty dollar bill. With no small bit of humorous irony, grace, that it will.

See, in the case of Harriet Tubman, her money was your money and yours and yours and yours. I'm not just talking about her years of enslavement. Even after she was free and could make and have money of her own, Harriet Tubman gave it all away in acts both small and grand. She used it, unfailingly, for others.

Though Ms. Tubman raised many-a dollar for the abolitionist cause through her powerful public speaking and should have been paid a grand sum for her work during the Civil War (spy, laundress, nurse, cook, and recruiter), she rarely had two coins to knock together (and when she did, they were stolen off her - another story).

What she had, Harriet Tubman used to improve the lives (most quite desperate) of those around her and for years to come. To Ms. Tubman, money was important, sure, and desirable, yes. But only insofar as it could be used to forge a better world. To that end, she spent and gave and spent and gave.

Harriet Tubman was herself the beneficiary of abolitionist kindness and generosity, and she had no compunction about calling on her wealthy friends, friends such as Frances and William H. Seward, to apply resources to a just cause. And they did.

Grace. I hope that the face of this remarkable woman - courageous and wise, with a heart as big our whole darn, colorful country - will remind us that money, twenty dollars or twenty billion, is of little value in itself. How we earn it matters. And its only good is in how we choose to use it.