Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa,” will be on United States quarters beginning in 2024. Cruz represents the first Afro-Latina to receive the honor as part of the US Mint’s American Women Quarters Program.
Celia Cruz (full name Úrsula Hilaria Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso) was born on October 21, 1925 in Havana, Cuba, and died July 16, 2003 in Fort Lee New Jersey. One of the most celebrated Latin artists of the 20th century, she made a total of 37 studio albums, won two Grammy Awards, was awarded a star Hollywood Walk of Fame and even had an asteroid named after her, the 5212 Celiacruz. This year, the US government selected the late cultural icon and legendary singer as one of five women to be featured on the US quarter in 2024; Cruz is the first Afro-Latina to ever be minted on the coin. Interestingly, her estate previously minted her “likeness and essence” as part of an NFT collection for Art Basel 2022. In addition to Cruz, the US Mint will also feature four other notable women — congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink, Civil War era surgeon Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, poet Pauli Murray, and Native American writer Zitkala-Ša.
According to the United States Mint.gov, it will issue five new designs on the back of each quarter each year from 2022 through 2025 —
American Women Quarters Program is a four-year program that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women of the United States. Beginning in 2022, and continuing through 2025, the U.S. Mint will issue up to five new reverse designs each year. The obverse of each coin will maintain a likeness of George Washington, but is different from the design used during the previous quarter program.
The American Women Quarters may feature contributions from a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts. The women honored will be from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.
The American Women Quarters Program is authorized by the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-330).
Look for these quarters in your change or shop online for American Women Quarters products.
American Women Quarters
The pioneering American women celebrated on the quarters are listed below in the order the quarters will be released.
- Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
- Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
- Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
- Nina Otero-Warren – suffrage leader and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
- Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
- Bessie Coleman – first African American and first Native American woman licensed pilot
- Edith Kanakaʻole – indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions
- Eleanor Roosevelt – leader, reformer, first lady, and author
- Jovita Idar – Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist
- Maria Tallchief – America’s first prima ballerina
- Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray – poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest
- Patsy Takemoto Mink – first woman of color to serve in Congress
- Dr. Mary Edwards Walker – Civil War surgeon, women’s rights advocate, and abolitionist
- Celia Cruz – Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century
- Zitkala-Ša – writer, composer, educator, and political activist
A render of the American Women Quarters Program obverse.
The obverse of each American Women Quarters coin will feature a portrait of George Washington facing right, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser. It was the recommended design for the 1932 quarter to mark Washington’s 200th birthday, but then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the left-facing John Flanagan design.
Laura Gardin Fraser was one of the most prolific women sculptors of the early 20th century. She designed the Alabama Centennial Half Dollar in 1921, becoming the first woman to design a U.S. coin. The Mint used her George Washington design on a 1999 gold commemorative coin marking the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death.
Design Selection Process
The Secretary of the Treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. In 2021, the public was invited to submit recommendations for potential honorees through a web portal established by the National Women’s History Museum.More about the program may be found at usmint.gov.