Black History Month is always a welcome time to learn about our great historical figures, but one bank is getting a somewhat harsh lesson on the proper use of the imagery of our ancestors. Black-owned OneUnited Bank has debuted a card that features the great Harriet Tubman in a pose that should be familiar to many, but some folks on Twitter have noted that the use of the Underground Railroad conductor’s image in this fashion is the opposite of Black excellence.
According to the bank’s website, the limited-edition Harriet Tubman debit Visa card is part of the company’s intention to celebrate Black History Month. OneUnited commissioned Miami, Fla. artist Addonis Parker to deliver a painting of Tubman doing the Wakanda salute from Black Panther for the card’s front image.
OneUnited writes of the card, “Harriet Tubman not only escaped slavery, she made nineteen missions to bring 300 others, including family and friends, to freedom. She also served as an armed scout for the Union Army and was an activist in the struggle for women’s voting rights. Given her profound impact on American history, she deserves to be placed on the $20 bill.”
The site goes on to note that the card is part of a larger Black History Month initiative and to promote two related campaigns in #BankBlack and #BuyBlack along with a “Right To Vote” programming schedule lined up.
Via Twitter, OneUnited, which is located in Miami, Los Angeles, and Boston, endured some harsh criticism from folks who believe that the idea of Tubman’s image being used wasn’t exactly the best choice.
We’ve included some of those replies below.