Harriet Tubman 1st Female & Black American on U.S. Currency

“There are three faithful friends:
an old wife, an old dog and ready money.” –Ben Franklin

When I was just seven years old I asked my daddy one morning during breakfast why I had never seen any of his white friends.
My daddy smiled at me and chuckled:

“Charlie, I got me some white friends, you can be sure of that!”

I shook my head in doubt.

“But daddy! I ain’t never seen none of your white friends.”

My daddy set his fork down and fell back in his chair with a wide grin.

“Charlie, son, you really wants to see yo’ daddy’s white friends?”
I smiled satisfied.

My daddy picked up his fork again and began scooping up the scrambled eggs on his plate.

“Oh! I got me some white friends alright!”
said my daddy.

Incensed by my daddy’s amusement I set my glass of O.J. down roughly next to my daddy making a loud thud to the table.
My daddy searched my eyes and the big smile soon left his handsome face.

“Charlie, you mad with yo’ daddy cause I ain’t got no white friends? Well, yo’ daddy got a lotta white friends.
I got me some white friends!”

I quickly fired back:
“But daddy, you keep telling me you do, but I ain’t seen not a ONE… where is yo’ WHITE FRIENDS…where is they?”

My daddy pushed the breakfast plate away and leaned forward toward me and he whispered.

“Charlie, I carry pictures of my white friends wit me and I carries them wit me wherever I go…now would you like to see the pictures of my white friends?”

I cried out with joy.
“DADDY! Why you never showed me these pictures before?”

My daddy reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash and very gingerly he laid out the different bills across the kitchen table. He put down a single dollar bill.

“Now, this here is my white friend named George Washington; no relation to Denzel. Now, this other white fella right here, he’s my white friend named Lincoln, and this white boy right next to him he’s my white friend named Hamilton…
now this white fella over here ($20.00 Bill) this white boy here, see this is my most popular white friend, EVERYBODY loves this white boy, especially yo’ momma.”

Then my daddy unfolded a bill very slowly and carefully and he told me in a quiet whisper of the importance of this next picture.

“Charlie, this, here white boy I got in my hands, this boy,
I swear! This white fella here is my favorite white friend in the whole wide world.
Charlie, I don’t go no where without this fella named GRANT…
everybody loves this white boy!
I’m telling you straight, I don’t let nobody part me from this white friend and I mean nobody!”

My daddy grew serious and there was a dead silence in the kitchen,
my daddy lit a cigar and blew the smoke up toward the ceiling, the smile came back to him as he probed.

“Now, son, I got a question for you… has you got any white friends?”

I stuck my hand into my pocket and all I could gather was lint.
I showed my daddy the lint in my hand and I shouted loud.

“DADDY! I AIN”T GOT NO WHITE FRIENDS!”

My daddy laughed hard and after a while there was silence again in the room.

“Charlie would you like me to share my white friends with you?
Go on son, pick one up and put him in your pocket.”

I searched for that white boy named Grant, but he was absent
from the rest of the bills. My daddy flicked an ashes from his cigar and whispered from behind a devilish grin.

“Now, Charlie I told you son, me and Grant we got a special bond
that I never want to break which keeps me from being broke.”

I looked up at my daddy as I scooped up all the bills from the table.

I smiled at my daddy and asked him one more question:

“DADDY! Was those the only white friends you had?
Cause the ones I got in my pocket is all mine now.”

The action to have Harriet Tubman featured on the $20 bill was brought about by a
campaign called “Women on 20s”; Harriet Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson.

Charles Micheaux
Micheaux Publishing

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