The government has announced plans to put a woman’s face on the new $10 bill. That raises a great question: What woman should be the first to have her face on our currency? What American women might be good choices?
Pocahontas, who saved the life of and later married John Smith, seems like a good choice. She would be one of the only candidates who was totally an American. She wasn’t born of immigrant heritage. There might be a problem finding any photograph or image of her that would be suitable.
If we want a native American, the women who traveled as an interpreter with Lewis and Clark on their expedition into the American west might also be a good choice. Sacagawea, the daughter of a Shoshone chief, her husband and her newborn son, traveled the entire length of the expedition. Again, finding a suitable photograph might be difficult.
Many of my choices are first ladies. I like first lady Abigail Adams, the wife of President John Adams. Today, she is designated as the first second lady and the second first lady, although those titles weren’t used in her days. She is the only first lady who was both the wife and mother of a president. She was the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.
You would have to consider Martha Washington; after all she was our initial first lady. The next first lady that comes to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt. She is, without question, the best choice. Her political activism, even after his death, was well known.
From Buzzle.com comes the following: “Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the great ladies in the history of America. She was a woman of vision and she fought for what she believed in. She was the woman behind President Franklin Roosevelt’s success. She was never overshadowed by her husband’s image. She opened numerous opportunities for women to empower them, and was instrumental in opening organizations for uplifting the downtrodden and underprivileged.
On March 7, 1905, her uncle President Theodore Roosevelt gave her away in marriage to Franklin Roosevelt. She is the only woman to be the niece of a president and later the wife of a president.
Eleanor Roosevelt worked for the Red Cross during World War I. She was active in the suffrage movement in 1921. During her husband’s term as governor of New York she opened a furniture factory, Val-Kill, in New York for unemployed youth. She was instrumental in creating the National Youth Administration (NYA) to provide financial aid to students and hands-on job training for both men and women. In 1939, she made her protest against discrimination by resigning from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
After Franklin Roosevelt’s death the United Nations appointed her their delegate. In 1946 she became the chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission. In 1948 she drafted the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It affirmed liberty and equality for all people regardless of their creed, race, or color. After resigning from the UN she became an unofficial U.S. Ambassador to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. She was instrumental in the establishment of Israel.”
In her later life she opposed the military involvement in Vietnam and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.
Another first lady that comes to mind is Jacqueline Kennedy, considered by most to be our most beautiful first lady. She charmed the world with her style and grace. She was not particularly political and hated campaigning. She transformed the White House into a museum of American history and culture that would inspire patriotism and public service in all who visited. She probably won’t be considered because she became Jacqueline Onassis and moved to Greece. Many say it was to protect her children.
Not to be overlooked is Michele Obama, the first African-American first lady.
There are others that might be considered. How about the first Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, who is certainly a worthy candidate. Our first women Astronaut Sally Ride, and our most famous female pilot Amelia
Earhart, are noncontroversial candidates, if there is one.
There are several sports figures that might be considered but only one made my list. Mildred “Babe” Zaharias, our first really famous female golfer who also excelled at basketball and athletics. She is considered by many to be the greatest female athlete of the 20th century.
They might want to wait and see if Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman president. That would make her the obvious choice. As for now, I’m for Eleanor Roosevelt.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at glynn@phonewave,net