Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
Unfortunately, white supremacists have been working hard to ensure that only parts of our nation’s history are uplifted and remembered. With AP African American Studies courses and Black literature being banned from classrooms across the country, it is crucial to seize every opportunity to amplify the Black experience.
To that end, the United States Mint certainly seems to be doing its part. In January, as part of the 2023 American Women Quarters Program, it released a quarter honoring Bessie Coleman, the first Black and Native American woman licensed pilot in the United States. Designed by Artistic Infusion Program artist Chris Costello and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Eric David Custer, the coin depicts Coleman as she suits up for flight.
“Having a coin depicting the first African American and Native American female pilot honoring the life and legacy of someone who fought against racial inequality is monumental,” says Ventris C. Gibson, the current and first-ever Black director of the U.S. Mint. Gibson has been instrumental in advancing the American Women Quarters Program.