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Eleanor Roosevelt, Bessie Coleman and others to be featured on U.S. quarters

Eleanor Roosevelt will be among five women to be featured on the backs of U.S. quarters starting next year.
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Eleanor Roosevelt will be among five women to be featured on the backs of U.S. quarters starting next year.

The U.S. Mint has announced the next five women to appear on the backs of coins as part of the American Women Quarters Program authorized by Congress.

The latest coins, to be available in 2023, will feature aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman; journalist and suffragist Jovita Idar; composer, chanter, dancer and entertainer Edith Kanaka'ole; first lady, author, reformer and leader Eleanor Roosevelt; and America's first prima ballerina Maria Tallchief.

The program is designed to highlight the accomplishments of female trailblazers from different eras of American history whose contributions come from a wide spectrum of fields and from a diverse array of backgrounds. The law does now allow any living person to be featured on the coin designs.

This is the second iteration of a series the mint will be issuing with different reverse designs each year during a four-year span from 2022 through 2025.

"The range of accomplishments and experiences of these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country," said Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson in a statement. "I am proud that the Mint continues to connect America through coins by honoring these pioneering women and their groundbreaking contributions to our society."

The first batch of coins recognized the accomplishments of poet Maya Angelou; astronaut Sally Ride; actress Anna May Wong; suffragist and politician Nina Otero-Warren; and Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

The front of the new coins will depict a portrait of George Washington which was originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser in honor of his 200th birthday. Though her work was originally recommended for the 1932 quarter, it was ultimately passed over.

The coins will be available for sale online starting next year.

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Jeff Dean
Jeff Dean is the 2021 Military Veterans in Journalism intern for NPR reporting for the Business Desk and Newsdesk teams.