The U.S. Mint for the First Time Will Put This Face on a Coin

January 13th 2017

Mike Rothschild

For the first time in its 225 year history, the United States Mint will be issuing a coin that depicts a black woman and there are some people who aren't happy about it.

On its new 24-karat commemorative coin, the persona of Lady Liberty will be a woman of color, and the new coin, issued to mark the Mint’s 225th birthday, will be the first in a series representing, "Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States," according to a press release from the Mint.

The coin will have a face value of $100, and according to the Mint's Facebook page, only 100,000 will be made which can considerably classify it as a collector's item rather than an actual money that will be in circulation with the rest of the country's currency.

But it still represents another step in the direction of making American money more inclusive.

Given the controversy that followed the last time the U.S. Treasury tried to make U.S. money more diverse, when Harriet Tubman was announced as the next great American on the $20 bill, it shouldn't be a surprise that this move has already elicited backlash, as well.

Lady Liberty Coin Facebook Comments

While a number of social media users who commented on the Mint's Facebook page lauded the coin's design and inclusiveness, others derided it as ugly, politically correct, a waste of government money, part of "Obama's agenda" and historically inaccurate.

On this last point, at least, those who make that claim actually have little to stand on as Lady Liberty is not a historical person, and never has been one. She's the female figure portrayed on the Statue of Liberty, who is the personification of the Roman goddess Libertas. The Statue was never meant to symbolize any one person, but the concept of freedom in America and the world. Indeed, the face was said to be based on that of the sculptor's mother.

As Roman gods aren't real, it's simply not accurate to say that a depiction of them can be "wrong."

Lady Liberty Coin Facebook Comments


Much like the "controversies" over black Stormtroopers in "The Force Awakens" or a black Santa Claus at the Mall of America, these are fictional characters being portrayed in a non-traditional way, rather than breaches of historical accuracy fueled by rampant political correctness.

While it might displease traditionalists, a black Lady Liberty is no different than other cultural depictions that have kept up with the changing times.

The new coins are expected to be released in April.