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For the first time in American history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on United States currency.
In celebration of the U.S. Mint and Treasury's 225th anniversary, the new $100 coin was unveiled on Thursday featuring Lady Liberty as a black woman.
Since the passage of the Coinage Act in 1792, all coins are required to feature an "impression emblematic of liberty," in either words or images. Until the new coin designed by Justin Kunz was unveiled, Lady Liberty had always been depicted as a white woman.
“As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty’s representation,” said Elisa Basnight, U.S. Mint chief of staff, at a ceremony unveiling the new coin. “We live in a nation that affords us the opportunity to dream big and try to accomplish the seemingly impossible.”
The new 24-karat gold coin, which is set to be released in April and is meant primarily for collectors, is one of a series of new, diverse commemorative coins the Mint will unveil in the coming years.
Future depictions of Lady Liberty, according to the Mint, will also feature designs to represent Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Indian Americans, and others “to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.”