In the past 24-hours, the number one trending topic on all social media channels has been a black woman… who was born a slave… and died over a hundred years ago. No marketing expert alive could have predicted Harriet Tubman’s newfound celebrity.

Once the U.S. Treasury announced that the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad was replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, social media records started shattering.

  • Within hours of Wednesday’s announcement the number one trending topic on Google was Harriet Tubman, with more than one million searches
  • Harriet Tubman became the top-trending hashtag on Twitter shortly after the news broke on Wednesday, with more than 100,000 tweets and mentions online
  • And, Twitter was buzzing with nearly a half-million Tweets by dinner time:
    • Some were thoughtful: “Slaves were America’s most sought-after currency for 400 years. Perhaps today is fitting. We shouldn’t forget, but we do.”
    • Others noted that the historic commemoration of Tubman doesn’t eradicate the country’s problems with race: “#HarrietTubman on the $20 is cool. Next step: Putting billions of $ into institutionalized forms of reparations for Africans in America.”
    • And some Tweets were just plain hilarious: “Pay me my money in Tubs”

    The changes announced for the $5, $10 and $20 bills mark the biggest overhaul of the look of U.S. currency since 1928, when the current system of “dead presidents” was designed. And we can all agree that social media will never see another swell like the one ignited by the soon-to-be current face of currency.