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Lady Liberty

Jan. 16, 2017
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Lady Liberty is looking as lovely as ever! On April 6th the U.S. Mint and Treasury department will be celebrating their 225th anniversary by releasing their new coin, featuring an exciting surprise. 

For the first time in U.S history, the Mint coin will be debuting Lady Liberty as a black woman. With braided hair and a crown made of stars, she will be looking as patriotic as ever. 

“As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does Liberty’s representation,”said Elisa Basnight, the chief of staff at the Mint, at a presentation on Thursday in Washington.

Since the retirement of the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 2000, there has been only one other coin in circulation that features a person of color. The Sacagawea dollar and our new Lady Liberty will not only be the two coins featuring a person of color, but will also feature the only two women.

The new coin is part of a series that will be released every two years. According to a statement released by Mint, “The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms- including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others- to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.”  

This 24k gold coin is valued at $100 each and will be featuring both Lady Liberty and the classic U.S. bald eagle.  The head-side of the coin was designed by artist Justin Kunz while the reverse side was designed by Chris Costelle, featuring the eagle in flight with the motto, E pluribus unum," meaning, "Out of many, one."

The announcement and release of the 225th anniversary coin comes just in time. With the transfer of Presidential power less than a week away and the country in an escalating racial and political divide, it's important that we get to celebrate and acknowledge diversity and our country's overall progression.  

Lady Liberty is the most recognized symbol of the United States, a gift from France in 1886, she has stood tall in the in the New York Harbor, lighting the way to liberty for all with her torch held high. However, Lady Liberty has always been portrayed as a white European woman. Rhett Jeppson, the Principal Deputy Director of the Mint, decided it was time for a change. 

“Part of our intent was to honor our tradition and heritage,” said Jeppson, in an interview with the New York Times. “But we also think it’s always worthwhile to have a conversation about liberty, and we certainly have started that conversation.”

Cover Image via CNN