There are many current news reports about the inevitable decision to portray the first woman on our paper money. It’s about time! However, in my humble opinion, it shouldn’t be a highly-publicized, politically-driven woman. We’ve endured more than two centuries of money featuring pictures of male politicans on our bills and coins. Let’s not honor another politician just because she’s a famous woman.
I suggest the new $10 bill should feature an unheralded heroine who dedicated her life to nurturing her children. My valiant mom, Minnie Malinsky Sherman, came to America in 1905 at age 10 to escape ethnic persecution in Czarist Russia. She spent the next ten years in the garment industry, the infamous sweatshops that paid pennies an hour for 60-hour work weeks.
At age 20, she married my father, Benjamin, and within a decade bore him three children. Ben operated a neighborhood retail store, where Minnie combined long hours of motherhood with even longer hours in the store. When her children were ages eight, six and four, and after many months of bedridden illness, 34-year-old Ben died. It was 1929, the year of the Great Depression.
Maybe a very appropriate reason Minnie’s picture should be on the $10 bill is that as a new widow she qualified for $10 in weekly welfare (called relief in those days). It wasn’t nearly enough, so she returned to sweatshop labor. For the next decade, she bravely combined motherhood with the daily demands of making enough money to feed, clothe and nurture her growing children.
I believe her struggles were just as noble as the deeds of those male American heroes whose faces appear on our current bills and coins. Therefore, I proudly nominate the late, great Minnie Malinsky Sherman to replace Alexander whatsisname on the next $10 bill.