Celia Cruz, late Cuban American salsa singer, will appear on U.S. quarter this year

The U.S. Mint chose the late salsa singer as one of the five honorees in the 2024 American Women Quarters Program.

Beloved Cuban music icon Celia Cruz is making history from beyond the grave as the first Afro-Latina selected to appear on U.S. quarters. The design will be released later this year, Variety reports.

The United States Mint chose the late salsa singer as one of the five honorees in the 2024 American Women Quarters Program. Senators Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., introduced this legislation as a four-year initiative. It passed in 2020 with bipartisan support, theGrio reported.

Since then, the Mint has released up to five new designs a year, a practice that will continue through 2025.

Don Francisco Gets Star On Walk of Fame
Latin singer Celia Cruz, left, and television host Cristina Saralegui attend a ceremony in honor of Spanish television host Don Francisco on June 8, 2001 after he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

The late Dr. Maya Angelou was the first woman featured on quarters in the initial rollout in 2022. 

“These past 100 years of suffrage would not have been possible without the work of so many courageous women, whose efforts paved the way for many more to make crucial contributions to the history of the United States,” Fischer and Cortez Masto wrote in USA Today in February 2021. “Many of these admirable women will appear on these quarters starting in 2022.” 

Cruz, who died in 2003 of brain cancer at the age of 77, is regarded as a cultural icon among Latin performers of the 20th century. She recorded 37 albums and won five Grammy Awards. She received several prestigious honors such as the National Medal of Arts and a posthumous Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, Variety reports. 

The other 2024 honorees are: Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to serve in Congress; Civil War-era surgeon Mary Edwards Walker, who was also a women’s rights advocate and an abolitionist; Pauli Murray, a poet, writer, activist, lawyer and Episcopal priest, and Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, a political activist for Native Americans, according to the official announcement

“All of 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,” Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said in the announcement. “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 designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters will roll out in mid-2023.

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