It’s looking increasingly like the amazing success of the musical “Hamilton” might have saved Alexander Hamilton from being taken off the $10 bill in 2020. This is both a miraculous (what are the odds there would be a hit play about Hamilton at just this moment?) and salutary turn of events.
Speculation now is that Andrew Jackson, a much more controversial figure, might eventually be take off the $20 in order to make way for a woman. But it’s unclear who should replace him.
Because neither Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Harriet Tubman could garner the 1,237 delegates necessary to win this honor outright (joking, of course), might I propose a relatively obscure “white knight” alternative to these deserving ladies?
Sybil Ludington was a 16-year-old girl who went on a dangerous “midnight ride” on April 26, 1777, to call out her father’s militia to defend Danbury Connecticut against the British. Ludington rode twice as far as Paul Revere (approximately forty miles), but—thanks to a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem—it was Revere (not others who made similar valiant rides) whom history best remembers.
Bestowing this honor on Ludington would correct this historical oversight. It would also avoid a potentially contentious debate between supporters of other deserving and more famous female historical figures.
And lastly, picking this heroine of the American Revolution would also be a good reminder that average Americans, regardless of sex or age, are summoned to do great things for the cause of freedom.
Let’s put Sybil Ludington on the $20 bill.