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King Center Says Decision to Put MLK on $5 Bill Is a ‘Historical Turning Point’

Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo courtesy of

Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo courtesy of

Officials from the King Center in Atlanta say they’re honored to hear Martin Luther King Jr. will appear on the newly designed $5 bill, WSB-TV reports. Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department declared plans to make changes to the $5, $10 and $20 bills.

President Abraham Lincoln will remain on the front of the $5 bill, while MLK will be featured on the back, along with acclaimed opera singer Marian Anderson and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Per the U.S. Department of Treasury website, the note will “honor historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in service of our democracy.”

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address November 19, 1863 and called for a “new birth of freedom,” according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Modern Money website. In 1939, a time when concert halls were segregated, Anderson performed in front of 75,000 spectators at the Lincoln Memorial. She and first lady Roosevelt had teamed up in the fight for civil rights. Fast forward to 1963 when Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” from the very same spot.

“Juxtaposing Dr. King’s image and other iconic voices of freedom on one side with President Abraham Lincoln on the other poignantly symbolizes the connection between the promise of a nation, the fulfillment of that promise, and the never-ending generational struggle to reach our promise,” Dr. Bernice King said in a statement.

This announcement comes on the heels of the decision to put Black abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the face of the $20 bill. Her image will replace former President Andrew Jackson, who is being moved to the back of the bill. Changes being made to the $10 bill will commemorate the history of the women’s suffrage movement, according to The new note will feature images of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott and Alice Paul beside the treasury building. The front of the bill will retain the likeness of Alexander Hamilton.

Dr. Bernice King calls the changes a “historical turning point in America and the world” for the contributions of iconic American figures to be celebrated on U.S. currency.

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