Lady Liberty Will Appear as a Woman of Color on U.S. Currency for the First Time in History

Maggie Mallon

By Maggie Mallon. Photos: Courtesy of Twitter.

To commemorate the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Mint, the Treasury Department is making history: by portraying Lady Liberty as a woman of color on U.S. currency for the first time.

Starting in April, a commemorative $100 24-karat gold coin depicting Lady Liberty as a black woman wearing a crown of stars will be minted. Though the coin will be meant for collectors, it'll mark the first time that Lady Liberty, a historical symbol of freedom, will be portrayed as nonwhite. The coin, which was announced by the U.S. Mint on Thursday, will kick off a series being issued to reflect "the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States." According to the Associated Press, additional coins will portray Lady Liberty as Asian American, Hispanic American, and Indian American.

In recent months the Treasury Department has made greater effort to issue new currency notes and coins that better represent Americans of all backgrounds and acknowledge the groundbreaking achievements of leaders in the civil rights and women's suffrage movements. Last year Treasury Secretary Jack Lew officially announced plans for a redesigned $20 bill featuring abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman that will "continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency." Updates to the $5 and $10 bill will depict historic moments in the civil rights moment—like Marian Anderson's 1939 public concert at the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech—and honor the legacy of suffragettes who fought for women's right to vote.

Though it will be years until these paper notes are in circulation, it will only be a matter of months until a woman of color is featured on a U.S. coin—and that's major progress.

This story originally appeared on Glamour.

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