Celia Cruz will start showing up in your pocket as of next year! The United States Mint announced last week that the Queen of Salsa was selected as a 2024 honoree for the American Women Quarters Program.
The program began in 2022 and will continue through 2025. It features designs in the “tails” part of the coins emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of American women and it reflects a wide range of fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
Celia, born Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso, needs little introduction for those of us lovers of this music. She was a Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century. As such, she received numerous honors and awards including five Grammy awards, a National Medal of Arts, and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
Four other women will be honored by this program next year. They are:
- 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.
According to the release, we’ll get to preview the designs of the new quarters half way through this year 2023.