This is what you call the confluence of mutually agreeable circumstances, or perhaps a case of serendipity, or crazy coincidence. Or maybe there is some other term to describe the emergence of two separate but related activities that you cannot possibly fathom coming together and creating cultural magic.
When WGN invited a ground of media to fly into Los Angeles in the summer of 2015 for a junket and pre-screening about a powerful and provocative TV series, “Underground,” — about slaves in Antebellum Georgia using the legendary Underground Railroad to arrived at freedom in the North — very few, if anyone, could have prognosticated that abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the Queen of the Underground Railroad, would be picked as the new face to grace the $20 bill in the same spring that the “Underground” premiered on TV.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury selected slave revolutionary Tubman to replace arisotratic slaveowner Andrew Johnson on the $20 bill, which is delicious irony to many. It has garnered very visceral reaction from social media users nationwide (and outside the country), including from many of the cast members of the “Underground” series, produced by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, that stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge and Christopher Meloni.
A quick background: For the past several months, a debate has been raging at the mammoth edifice next to the White House about who should replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. The U.S. Treasury agreed that it should be a woman. However, there has been a slight alteration in the plans.
Last month, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced this week that Hamilton will remain on the $10 bill and Andrew Jackson will be replaced on the $20 instead with Tubman.
Harriet Tubman, reportedly born as Araminta Ross, surreptitiously escaping her slave masters in Maryland and making her way to Philadelphia. Ultimately selfless and gangsta, Tubman returned several times to save her family and groups of slaves through a complex network of safe havens and safe houses. This “underground railroad” was the means for leader Tubman to risk her life to help other slaves live theirs as free people.
She continued guiding slaves to freedom despite bounties being placed on her head slave owners and the Fugitive Slave Law. When the U.S. Civil War began, Tubman went to work as a cook , a nurse, and eventually an armed Union spy.
Today, Tubman is being paid homage by many Americans and, most appropriately, by some of the cast of the “Underground” show that comes on WGN America on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET:
I’m doing my happy dance today! Harriet Tubman will be on the $20 dollar bill! If our Ancestors could see us now! https://t.co/eKyHCciN2V
— jurnee smollett (@jurneesmollett) April 20, 2016
— Amirah Vann (@amirahvann) April 20, 2016