Focus Features’ Harriet landed one of the prized slots of award season — a screening on Capitol Hill.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the Congressional Black Caucus co-hosted a showing of the movie, a biopic of Harriet Tubman, at the theater in the Capitol Visitors Center.
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The cast was not at the screening, which was private and open to members of Congress and their staffs.
Naturally, the screening was followed by a Q&A, with part of the focus on the status of efforts to put Tubman on the $20 bill.
After the Obama administration announced plans to put Tubman on the front of the currency, replacing Andrew Jackson, the Trump administration has delayed those plans. In May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the redesign will be delayed — perhaps until 2028.
The next month, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) introduced legislation to put Tubman on the $20 bill by the end of 2022. The legislation has 106 cosponsors.
“Harriet Tubman ought to be recognized by all Americans for her leadership, advocacy, and determination,” Hoyer said in a tweet. “That is why I will continue to call on the Administration to put #TubmanOntheTwenty and honor her legacy with the distinction it deserves.”
Hoyer also was at the premiere of Harriet last month at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, along with Cynthia Erivo, the filmmakers and other cast members.
The panelists at the Capitol screening included Karen Hill, president of the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY, and Kate Clifford Larson, author and Tubman historian.
Harriet is among a number of movies that have had recent high-profile D.C. screenings. Bombshell and Motherless Brooklyn recently screened at the new theater at the Motion Picture Association.
One prestige venue that has been off the table in D.C.: The White House theater. The Obamas hosted multiple screenings there in their eight years in the Executive Mansion, including Lincoln and Hidden Figures. The Trumps have not been holding Hollywood-focused screenings — which is not at all a surprise.
I was glad to organize a panel discussion last night on the “Harriet” movie. I thank each of the panelists for joining our conversation on the lasting influence that Harriet Tubman has had in this country and in her home state of Maryland. pic.twitter.com/JjvyvuGXz5
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) November 15, 2019
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