Fifty cent is getting blacker than ever, and we’re not talking about the rapper. The United States Mint (Mint) just announced their 2025 American Women Quarters Program honorees, which include two iconic Black women: Ida B. Wells and Althea Gibson.
This is the fourth and culminating year of this Program, which began in 2022, and in total it has honored 20 women who have greatly impacted our country’s history. Famous Black author Maya Angelou was the first to be featured on a coin in this Program.
Born into slavery, Ida B. Wells would go onto become a civil rights activist, feminist, journalist, researcher, and educator. Wells was an outspoken critic of segregation, an anti-lynching advocate and also prominent fighter for Black women’s suffrage. During her lifetime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wells was founded numerous civil rights organizations, including co-founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
As her contemporary Jackie Robinson did with baseball, Althea Gibson did in tennis by “breaking down color lines and paving the way for equal opportunities.”
In 1950, Gibson was the first African American to compete at the U.S. National Championships, historically besting Barbara Knapp in the first round. During her career, Gibson won 11 titles and appeared in 19 major finals, which included Wimbledon, U.S. and French Open championships in singles and doubles. In addition, a decade later, Gibson also “became the first African-American to compete on the women’s professional golf tour in 1960.”
In a statement, Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said, “It’s a privilege for the Mint to connect America through coins, and to tell our nation’s story through honoring the women in this amazing program.”
“The pioneering women we have recognized are among the many in our nation’s history who have made significant contributions and championed change in their own unique way,” Mint Director Gibson continued.
Under Public Law 116-330, Janet Yellen, the first woman Secretary of the Treasury consulted with the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum to select the awardees.
The quarters’ designs featuring the five honorees will be revealed next year.
The other three honorees selected this year were Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, pioneering astronomer Dr. Vera Rubin, and disability activist Stacey Park Milbern.