The US Mint has announced that Pauli Murray, a black nonbinary civil rights activist, lawyer, poet, and priest, will be the first black queer person to appear on a US quarter. This historic moment will take place in 2024, as Murray joins a group of pioneering women being honored on the coin, including Patsy Takemoto Mink, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Zitkala-Ša, and Celia Cruz.
Murray, who was born in 1910 in Baltimore, is a trailblazer in the fight against sexism and racism. They were assigned female at birth, but they questioned their gender identity and are now understood as nonbinary. Murray became a lawyer and civil rights activist, making significant contributions to the legal fight against discrimination. Their book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, was described by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as the Bible for civil rights litigators.
Murray’s appearance on the quarter is a historic moment, representing progress for the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color. The US Mint’s decision to honor Murray is significant in recognizing the contributions of queer people and people of color to American history. It also marks a significant moment in the fight for representation, inclusion, and equity in America.
In a press release, Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said, “The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives. By honoring these pioneering women, the Mint continues to connect America through coins which are like small works of art in your pocket.”
The decision to honor Murray on a US quarter is a powerful statement that celebrates the diversity and contributions of all Americans. It is a step towards greater representation and inclusion, and it acknowledges the important work of activists like Murray in the ongoing fight for equality and justice.