I was never worth one dime;
not one dime when I was a slave.
But soon, I’ll be worth twenty dollars.
You gone pass that to me in my grave?
Oh this poor old slave woman,
done did her best through all dem years;
kept ignorant and was whipped and scarred,
and that twenty dollar bill is in arrears.
But they ain’t giving that to me.
And it would be too late anyway.
I’m dead and been laid to rest.
I got no more bills left to pay.
I’ll be behind and in front of slavers;
in wallets and purses everywhere.
And the one they claimed freed the slaves,
today? Hell, he’d be a millionaire!
But did he travel in the dead of night
to free people who shouldn’t have been here?
Would he have ever had the courage I had
to fly in the face of all I had to fear?
So, put me on the twenty dollar bill.
And I hear tell Jackson, he got my back.
That ole white man behind a slave woman;
if he knew, he’d have a heart attack!
But what this should really be about,
is that as slaves, we never got our due.
So America, keep your twenty dollar bill.
It’s as worthless as your treaties with the Sioux!
Shelby I. Courtland
©2016 Shelby I. Courtland
I am not impressed! Harriet Tubman, in my opinion, would not be impressed either. The slaves are not free. And by merely placing her likeness on a twenty dollar bill, does nothing but add insult to injury. For all that Harriet Tubman did for slaves; guiding them to freedom, such as it was, I don’t think she would have stood still for having her likeness on currency backed by a government that still condones slavery to this day and who still honors slave owners by printing their likeness on the very same currency that will now depict a slave who tried to free other slaves from these very same slave owners.
America, if you want to honor people like Harriet Tubman, then do the right thing. Stop criminalizing and enslaving the very people that she was trying to free. Stop incarcerating those who Harriet Tubman would be trying to free today. Do you honestly think that Harriet Tubman would condone the mass incarceration and slave labor that is associated with it? Hell no! And you know this. This is no celebration. This is no victory. This is no recognition.
When you start dismantling the racist thug police force, when you stop criminalizing a permanent tan, when you stop sending our children from school straight into prison, when you stop gentrifying our neighborhoods, when you stop poisoning our water, when you stop turning back the clock on voting rights, when you stop systemic racism, mass Black unemployment and homelessness, then and only then will you finally start to pay homage to legends such as Harriet Tubman, but you won’t do that because that’s too much like right! And believe me, your twenty dollar ‘tribute’ to Harriet Tubman would not impress her! It is an insult if this is all that you WILL do!