Cuban-American Celia Cruz to Become First Latina Face On a US Coin

The quarter-dollar, which will be minted in 2024, will be in free circulation as part of the country’s American Women Quarters series

Photo: IG Celia Cruz.
February 11, 2023 | 01:00 PM

Bloomberg Línea — The United States Mint has announced it will honor Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz by having her face grace a quarter-dollar coin in 2024, making her the first Latina to appear on the country’s currency.

The addition of the singer (1925-2003) is part of the American Women Quarters Program, which seeks to highlight the influence of women in various fields. The coins will be collectible and in free circulation.

The program launched in 2022 and will continue until 2025, issuing five new designs each year. The other side of the coin features George Washington, although with differences from previous designs.

Cruz was chosen because she is a cultural icon and one of the most popular Latina artists of the 20th century. The Cuban-American singer was known as “The Queen of Salsa” and won five Grammy Awards, a National Medal of Arts, and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy.


Watch a video from the US Mint about the coin collection:

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The coins coming in 2024

The American Women Quarters honor women who have made contributions to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, the humanities, science, space and the arts.

Among those who have also been chosen to appear on quarters are:

  • Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002): the first woman of color to serve in Congress, where she fought for racial and gender equality, affordable child care and bilingual education, most notably with the passage of Title IX, later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Education Opportunity Act.
  • Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919): A Civil War-era surgeon, women’s rights advocate and abolitionist. Captured by Confederate troops on suspicion of espionage, she was held as a prisoner of war for four months. Walker is the only woman to have received the Medal of Honor.
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985): a poet, writer, activist, lawyer and Episcopal priest, as well as a staunch defender of civil rights, who fought against racial and sexual discrimination. In 1966, she co-founded the National Organization for Women with Betty Friedan and other activists.
  • Zitkala-Ša (1876-1938): also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, she was a writer, songwriter, educator and political activist for the right of Native Americans to US citizenship and other civil rights that had long been denied them.

“All of the women honored have lived remarkable, multifaceted lives and have had a significant impact on our nation in their unique ways,” said US Mint director Ventris C. Gibson.

“The women were pioneers of change during their lifetimes, never giving in to the status quo imparted during their lifetimes.

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