¡Azúcar! The one and only Celia Cruz is being honored as part of the American Women Quarters Program, joining a series of quarters featuring four other influential American women in U.S. history. The beloved Cuban-American icon will be the first Afro Latina to appear on the coin.
Born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, Cruz became one of the 20th century’s most popular Latin artists, recording more than 80 albums, winning five Grammy Awards (in addition to a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy) and receiving the president’s National Medal of Arts among other accolades.
Before her passing in 2003, she formed a deep bond with Miami, a city that became a second home to a large community of Cuban exiles like herself. Although she never lived in the city, she had a public viewing at the historic Freedom Tower after her death, where tens of thousands of people paid their respects.
Cruz will have her likeness engraved on a quarter beginning in 2024, along with:
- Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to serve in Congress.
- Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War-era surgeon and abolitionist.
- Pauli Murray, a poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest, as well as an advocate for civil rights.
- Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnie, who was a political activist for Native Americans’ rights.
The U.S. Mint created the American Women Quarters Program to feature women who have contributed to a variety of fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space and the arts. It will be issuing five new designs every year through 2025 to honor “ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse individuals.”
“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,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson in a press release. “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.”
The designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters will be released in mid-2023.