Bank's Black History Month debit card featuring Harriet Tubman draws backlash online

Bank's Black History Month debit card featuring Harriet Tubman draws backlash online
© Screenshot/OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank, the largest black-owned bank in the U.S., faced criticism this week after it released a Black History Month debit card featuring Harriet Tubman.

The card stirred talk on social media, as Tubman's pose on the card confused people who thought she was doing the "Black Panther" film's "Wakanda Forever" salute. 

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OneUnited Bank's President Teri Williams told The Washington Post in an interview that the bank, which was founded in the 1960s when many big banks still rejected black people from their institutions, had been considering putting Tubman on a debit card amid the debate of adding her to the $20 bill.

“The card is really an extension of our whole way in which we’ve been communicating to our community: Black money matters and social justice is intertwined with building economic wealth,” Williams told the Post. 

The bank also explained on its Twitter that the gesture was meant to represent the sign for "love" in American sign language, not the "Wakanda" gesture.

Criticism has continued on social media despite the explanations, but Williams said she stands by the design.

"I still think the message we are conveying is a very positive message," Williams told NBC News. "But I respect the comments we’ve received."