Wednesday, January 26, 2005

History on the Two Dollar Bill

I was reading Brad Delongs post I Am an Ignoramus...
(not), and it inspired me to post some brief information on the 2 dollar bill:

Excerpt taken from Dick Gregory's Global Watch:

"The back of the $2 bill has an engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the image is a man who has dark skin and wearing a powdered wig while sitting at the table just to the left of the men standing in the center of the engraving. This dark skinned man is John Hanson in his position as president of the continental congress.In the original painting hanging in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, the dark skinned man does not appear!!!"

This is an extremely interesting decision made by the United States in 1976, to redo the engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and incorporate that new design into the new 2-dollar bill. Which engraving is accurate? And, if the original painting hanging in the U.S. Capital is NOT accurate, isn't it, on its own, very telling as to the makeup, culture, and history of racism and intollerance in America? How are future generations supposed to know that the engraving on the 2-dollar bill, was not intended to be a duplicate of the painting hanging in the U.S. Capital? By changing the painting, is there an attempt, however accidental, to re-write history?

I would submit to you that if the signing of the Declaration of Independence is, in fact, the appropriate engraving for a 2-dollar bill, it should be left alone, and the engraving should duplicate the painting, not change it. It would indeed be a focus point for conflict, but that's how you deal with history. Be confronting it...Not by re-writing it.

Of course, have you read a 4th grade American History book lately?