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Bessie Coleman, First Black Woman Pilot, To Appear On 2023 Quarter

The US Mint announced the next five women to be featured on the nation’s quarters on Tuesday (April 5), among them is one Black and Native American woman who took flight and changed history forever.

Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman pilot, will be featured on US quarters in 2023 as part of the American Women Quarters Program. Alongside Coleman are journalist–activist Jovita Idár, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, ballerina Maria Tallchief, and hula teacher Edith Kanaka’ole.

Coleman blazed trails in the early 1900s, after she was rejected from American aviation schools on the basis of race and gender. The Texas native began learning French to attend aviation school in France, ultimately earning her license in 1921. In her life, Coleman encouraged other Black women to reach for the skies, too, performing figure eights and other daring tricks all over the country.

“The range of accomplishments and experiences these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country,” Deputy Director of the US Mint Ventris C. Gibson said 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.”

Poet laureate Maya Angelou was among the first round of women featured in the American Women Quarters Program announced in 2021. The program is set to continue until 2025 with five women being honored each year.

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