The following is an excerpt from an article by Scarlett Heinbuch, a payments risk expert in the Retail Payments Risk Forum at the Atlanta Fed
My interest in coins started at a young age. My grandfather would share his coin collection with me and point out the details: tThe dimes and quarters made with real silver before 1964, and the wheat backs on the pennies (1909–58). He took pleasure in showing me the Buffalo nickel (1913–38) with the Native American image on its front.
My grandfather was proud of his Cherokee roots from North Carolina. His profile resembled the image on the coin, and I remembered feeling proud because, from my child’s viewpoint, I thought it was him.
Images on U.S. currency that reflected his heritage meant something to him, which I understood to mean that Native Americans were included and honored in our nation’s monetary system.
These memories came to mind when I saw two recent news stories about greater diversity in our inclusion initiatives. The first announced that poet Maya Angelou’s image is going to appear in a new American Women’s Quarters series, a four-year program starting in 2022. The other women will be astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, Cherokee Nation chief Wilma Mankiller, educator/women’s rights activist Nina Otero-Warren, and film star Anna May Wong.
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