Following last year’s announcement that leading abolitionist Harriet Tubman would replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Jackson apologists and outspoken Donald Trump fan Rep. Steve King condemned the change. The Treasury Department’s decision wasn’t born out of retaliation, of course, but rather from the need to better represent seminal female figures from American history on a U.S. currency otherwise dominated by former, all-white-male presidents. Hence the United States Mint’s latest announcement that, for the first time ever, it would depict “Lady Liberty” as a woman of color on one of its coins.
According to an official press release, the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin will commemorate the U.S. Mint’s 225 years of service to the country. Aside from this otherwise commendable achievement, however, the limited edition coin “is unique in that it portrays Liberty as an African-American woman, a departure from previous classic designs.” Nor will it be the last coin to do so:
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.
The release further explains the initial coin and its counterparts “will be issued biennially,” both as 24-karat gold coins and on “corresponding series of medals struck in .999 silver.” The first of the U.S. Mint’s announced, limited-edition coins will be available for purchase on April 6th.
While some detractors may balk at the coin’s limited nature, CNN notes the Sacagawea dollar is the only other coin in production and circulation that features a non-white person who happens to be a woman. No other currency produced by the U.S. Mint features a person of color, and while the Susan B. Anthony dollar is still accepted as payment, its production was retired in 2000.
As for the predictably outspoken minority of Internet trolls who aren’t pleased by the U.S. Mint’s reinterpretation of Lady Liberty, the more accepting masses on Twitter have responded in kind: