(Washington, D.C)—Last Tuesday (April 4, 2017), officials from the U.S. Mint and the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated the release of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program coin honoring the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C.
The coin’s reverse design depicts Frederick Douglass seated at a writing desk with his home in Washington, DC, in the background. Inscriptions are FREDERICK DOUGLASS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 2017, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The coin was designed by Thomas Hipschen, Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist.
“Even at a young age, Frederick Douglass realized the value of literacy and the power of knowledge,” said David Motl, acting principal deputy director at the Mint. “This new coin honors one of the most influential African-American leaders of the 19th century, whose brilliant words will continue to inspire us for generations to come. My favorite among the many great quotes of Frederick Douglass is:
Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do
and the proper application of his powers
to things needed to be done.
Motl was joined by NPS acting director Mike Reynolds; Frederick Douglass National Historic Site superintendent Tara D. Morrison; and Tristan Breaux, district director for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Ceremony highlights included recitations of Frederick Douglass speeches by Maryland-area homeschooled students Gabrielle Sutherland and Silas Montgomery, winners in the 2016 Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest; and entertainment by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, a local ensemble that performs Civil War–era music. Hipschen was acknowledged for his work on the coin.
Authorized by Public Law 110-456, the America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a 12-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites. Each year through 2020, the public will see five new national sites depicted on the reverses of the ATB quarters issued in the order in which the sites were first established. The Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site coin will complete the program when released in 2021. ❑