Celia Cruz Makes History As First Afro-Latina on U.S. Currency

Lead Photo: Celia Cruz performing at 'VH1 Divas Live' (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
Celia Cruz performing at 'VH1 Divas Live' (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
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Late Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz is making history again, not in the music industry, but in the U.S. Department of the Treasury (USDT).

Cruz has become the first Afro-Latina to be featured on a U.S. quarter. She was one of five honorees selected by the U.S. Mint, a bureau of the USDT, to be part of the American Women Quarters Program, “a four-year program that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women of the United States.”

Cruz, who is a Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Award winner, will be featured on quarters released in 2024. According to the U.S. Mint, they will issue up to five new designs each year through 2025. The program started in 2022.

Joining Cruz as part of the program are Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to serve in Congress; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War-era surgeon, women’s rights advocate, and an abolitionist who became the only woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor; Pauli Murray, a poet, writer, activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, and an advocate for civil rights who fought against racial and sex discrimination; and Zitkala-Ša (“Red Bird”), a member of Yankton Dakota Sioux. She was a writer, composer, educator, and political activist.

“All 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 U.S. Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “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 women who will be featured on the quarter for 2023 are Bessie Coleman, Edith Kanaka‛ole, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jovita Idar, and Maria Tallchief. Idar was a Mexican American journalist, activist and suffragist.

Besides finding these quarters in your loose change, you can also subscribe to the American Women Quarters Program and purchase them when they are available.