Eleanor Roosevelt appears to be the favorite in a poll from Marist asking participants which of six female candidates they would choose as the face for the new $10 bill. Roosevelt was in good company with other famous American women such as Amelia Earhart, Sandra Day O’Connor, Harriet Tubman, Sacagawea, and Susan B. Anthony, whose likeness has already graced a failed dollar coin experiment.
The Marist poll asked 1,249 American adults of various political affiliations and demographics via a telephone survey their thoughts on the matter and Eleanor Roosevelt received a strong lead of 27 percent followed by Harriet Tubman who received 17 percent of the vote. In May, a grassroots organization named Women on 20s that had been pushing for a female to grace the front of the $20 bill revealed that their poll of more than 350,000 people suggested Tubman was the favorite over Roosevelt.
The Secretary of Treasury announced in June that the $10 bill would be receiving a makeover, removing Hamilton and replacing it with one featuring Hamilton and a woman of distinction. While many might consider Eleanor Roosevelt to be a lesser choice among barrier breaking candidates such as O’Connor, Tubman, and Anthony, it is most likely that those people are unfamiliar with Roosevelt’s accomplishments beyond being a First Lady.
Eleanor Roosevelt was indeed married to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served a 12-year term as First Lady, but her efforts go beyond that of simply supporting her powerful husband. Eleanor was well known for her civil rights activism and support of integration, challenging her husband’s New Deal policies which she felt were discriminatory against African Americans. Roosevelt also was the first First Lady to hold her own press conference as a protest to the barring of females to presidential press conferences at the time. Eleanor only allowed female journalists to attend.
Roosevelt’s service to America did not end with her husband’s political career. President Truman appointed Roosevelt as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, and just a few months later, Eleanor became the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, playing an integral role in developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her daily syndicated column, which ran from 1935 until her death in 1962, “My Day,” captured the hearts of people around the world as she recounted her many adventures and exploits in which some declared Roosevelt “the President’s eyes, ears, and legs” because of her willingness to be in the trenches.
While the poll does not ensure that Eleanor Roosevelt will be the new face of the $10 bill, it certainly brings to light her many accomplishments. And even if Harriet Tubman were to overtake the number one favored position, it would seem it would be a fitting tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt and her principles, and Roosevelt herself would be delighted with the choice.
[Image courtesy of CSPAN.]