For the first time ever, Lady Liberty will be depicted as a woman of color on U.S. currency.
To celebrate its 225th anniversary, the U.S. Mint and Treasury unveiled a brand new $100 coin — made of solid gold — that features Lady Liberty as a black woman.
Treasury & Mint officials unveiled the 2017 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin! https://t.co/HkfcPN5Enq… https://t.co/aSNlXY6txr— United States Mint (@United States Mint) 1484248262
"As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty's representation," said U.S. Mint chief of staff Elisa Basnight at the coin's unveiling ceremony.
The coin, mostly a collector's item, is the first of a series of 24-karat gold coins that are a beautiful nod to America's diversity. The other coins in the series, the Mint announced, will feature a variety of Lady Liberty etchings, "including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States."
Since 1792, all U.S. coins have been required to feature an "impression emblematic of liberty," and what could be more emblematic of liberty than diversity?
The coins are also the latest move to make the faces on our currency more representative of the variety of important historical figures that have made America what it is today.
In April 2016, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill starting in 2020 — making her the first black woman to be featured on the front of a U.S. bill.
As the United States becomes more and more diverse, and as we continue making progress in the fight for racial justice, gender equality, and equal rights — progress that will no doubt be met with resistence — representation like this will become more and more important.
Displaying Lady Liberty — America's most enduring symbol of hope and freedom — as a series of women of color sends a clear message that diversity is as American as it gets.