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Black Lady Liberty to grace US coin
[WASHINGTON] The United States is set to issue a commemorative US$100 gold coin that depicts Lady Liberty - a national symbol generally portrayed as a white woman - as an African American for the first time.
The 24-karat gold piece will be released in honour of the United States Mint's 225th anniversary, one of a series of coins that will feature a racially diverse array of Lady Liberties.
The coins will "depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms - including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Indian-Americans among others," the Mint said in a statement released Thursday.
The Mint said it is issuing the coins to "reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States." The new coin will be released on April 6 featuring the bust of a distinctly African-American Liberty, with a crown of gold stars.
Underneath appear the words "In God we trust" and the dates 2017 and 1792, the year Congress created the Mint.
The coin's flip side features another potent US symbol, an eagle in flight.
"Our founding fathers realised the critical need for our fledgling nation to have a respected monetary system, and over the last 225 years, the Mint has never failed in its mission," said Rhett Jeppson, the Mint's principal deputy director.
In another move to diversify the mostly white male cast of statesmen featured on American currency, the onetime slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was named as the new face of the US$20 banknote last April, the first time an African American was picked to feature on US currency.
An open poll of more than 600,000 people strongly favoured Tubman, a hero to African Americans for her escape from slavery in Maryland in 1849 to help run the legendary Underground Railroad that enabled thousands of slaves to flee to freedom in the 19th century.