Washington — The United States Mint (Mint) began shipping the first coin in the 2024 American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program on January 2. The Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver are manufacturing these circulating quarters honoring Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray.
Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray is regarded as one of the most important social justice advocates of the 20th century. She was a poet, writer, activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, and a staunch advocate for civil rights, fighting against racial and sex discrimination. In 1950, Murray published “States’ Laws on Race and Color,” an examination and critique of state segregation laws throughout the nation. Frequently referred to as the “bible” of the civil rights movement and commonly cited as the foundation for the arguments posed in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, Murray skillfully illustrated the social implications and unconstitutionality of segregation laws.
“The first coin of the 2024 American Women Quarters Program honors the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “Reverend Dr. Murray was keenly aware of the oppression that she faced as a black woman. She lived her life and fought tirelessly as a steadfast advocate for civil rights and gender equality.”
United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Emily Damstra designed the image, and United States Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the image.
“The unique juxtaposition of text and Dr. Murray’s face challenged the way I approached sculpting the relief for this design,” said Menna. “The likeness needed to honor the surface of the letters yet still project the illusion of being in the round. I hope achieving this goal honors both the integrity of the design and Dr. Murray’s legacy.”
The reverse (tails) depicts Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray’s eyeglass-framed face within the shape of the word “HOPE,” which is symbolic of Murray’s belief that significant societal reforms were possible when rooted in hope. A line from her poem “Dark Testament” characterizes hope as “A SONG IN A WEARY THROAT,” an inscription in the design.
The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday.
Though her work was a recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design. Director Gibson said of Fraser, “I am proud that the new obverse design of George Washington is by one of the most prolific women sculptors of the early 20th century. Laura Gardin Fraser’s work is lauded in both numismatic and artistic circles. 90 years after she intended for it to do so, her obverse design has fittingly taken its place on the quarter.”
Obverse inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “2024.” The design is common to all quarters issued in the series.
Each 2024 AWQ honoree is a powerful, inspiring example of the breadth, depth, and range of accomplishments, and the experiences demonstrated by these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country. Coins featuring additional honorees will continue to ship through 2025.
View images of the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray quarter here.
Authorized by Public Law 116-330, the American Women Quarters Program features coins with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of American women. Beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2025, the Mint is issuing five quarters in each of these years. The ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through this program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
Please consult with your local banks regarding the availability of AWQ Program quarters honoring Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray in the latter part of January or early February.
This groundbreaking coin program is an excellent way to remind future generations what can be accomplished with vision, determination, and a desire to improve opportunities for all. Subscribe to the program today to ensure fulfillment of your favorite product through 2025.
About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.
Press release courtesy of the United States Mint