The United States Mint has selected five women to appear on 2024 quarters as part of the American Women Quarters Program.
Mint Director Ventris Gibson said all of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives, and have made a significant impact on our nation in their own unique way.
"The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives. By honoring these pioneering women, the Mint continues to connect America through coins which are like small works of art in your pocket," Gibson said in a statement.
The honorees include:
• Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color to serve in Congress. As a Member of Congress, she fought for gender and racial equality, affordable childcare and bilingual education, most notably with the passage of Title IX, which was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
• Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was a Civil War era surgeon, women's rights advocate and an abolitionist. Walker often crossed battle lines to care for wounded soldiers. Captured by the Confederate troops as a suspected spy, she was held as a prisoner of war for four months. Walker is the only woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
• Pauli Murray was a poet, writer, activist, lawyer and Episcopal priest, as well as a staunch advocate for civil rights, fighting against racial and sex discrimination. In 1966, she co-founded the National Organization for Women with Betty Friedan and other activists. Murray is regarded as one of the most important social justice advocates of the twentieth century.
• Zitkala-Ša (meaning “Red Bird”), also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a writer, composer, educator and political activist for Native Americans' right to United States citizenship and other civil rights they had long been denied. She left her South Dakota home on the Yankton reservation at age eight to attend a boarding school run by white missionaries, where her native culture and traditions were prohibited.
• Celia Cruz (Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso) was a Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century. Known as "The Queen of Salsa," Cruz's numerous honors and awards include five Grammy awards, a National Medal of Arts and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
The designs will be released in mid-2023 and the quarters should start appearing later this year.
The American Women Quarters Program launched in 2022 and will run through 2025, with the Mint issuing five quarters each year. According to the department, the ethnically, racially and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through the program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
Women featured on the quarters so far include:
• Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
• Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
• Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
• Nina Otero-Warren – a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
• Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
• Bessie Coleman – first African American and first Native American woman pilot
• Edith Kanaka'ole – indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions
• Eleanor Roosevelt – first lady, author, and civil liberties advocate
• Jovita Idar – Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist
• Maria Tallchief – America’s first prima ballerina
"This groundbreaking coin program is an excellent way to remind future generations what can be accomplished with vision, determination, and a desire to improve opportunities for all," the department said.