This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

February 24, 2009

25-cent Duke

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 1:14 pm

Duke Ellington is the first African American to be depicted on a circulating United States coin:

2009 District of Columbia Commemorative Quarter, United States Mint image

2009 District of Columbia Quarter, United States Mint image

The District of Columbia quarter is the first of 2009 and the first in the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program. The District of Columbia, created in 1790, became the Nation’s capital on December 1, 1800. The 10-square-mile site, originally part of Maryland and Virginia, was chosen personally by President George Washington to fulfill the need for a new Federal district that would not be part of any state. The District of Columbia quarter reverse features native son Duke Ellington, the internationally renowned composer and musician, seated at a grand piano with the inscriptions, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DUKE ELLINGTON and JUSTICE FOR ALL, the District’s motto. (The United States Mint)

According to a CNN piece about the new coin, this motto was not the inscription of choice for residents of DC: “The Mint rejected the first inscription choice of D.C. voters, which was ‘taxation without representation,’ in protest of the district’s lack of voting representation in Congress.”

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