A new commemorative $100 gold coin from the U.S. Mint has taken the internet by storm.
The U.S. Mint announced the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, featuring Liberty as a black woman, will be released on April 6, the Associated Press reports. On one side is the woman’s head in profile with a crown of stars and the Mint’s founding year, 1792, as well as the year 2017; on the other, an eagle in flight.
In the coming years, the Mint plans to give this new version of Lady Liberty a few diverse friends.
“The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms-including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States,” reads a press release from the Mint.
The coins are worth $100 and they will also feature this dynamic but somewhat exasperated-looking bald eagle.
Here are some fun facts about coins: The “heads” side is called the obverse, and the “tails” side is called the reverse. The study or collection of coins is called “numismatics,” so the engraving and design of coin faces is called “numismatic art,” and sounds like one of the most fascinating jobs ever.
The other is the presidential coin, which features different presidents on the obverse side, and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse. So is it really a depiction of a woman, or is it a depiction of a statue, which is non-living and thus genderless? We’re already dealing in the abstract, so it’s best not to worry about it.
Following the Associated Press’ report, the news outlet received harsh backlash from Conservative Twitter users because Liberty is portrayed as African-American on the coin, according to Raw Story:
[Associated Press] The discrimination of white people by the [Obama] administration continues
[Associated Press] doubt lady liberty talks at top volume in movie [theaters]
[Associated Press] That’s fine. But if they do one with a Latina on it, it better come with papers…
[ Associated Press] I’m surprised that it’s not a MUSLIM
[Associated Press] this administration doing everything to change history, including changing Lady Liberty from what the French sent us. Pathetic racism!
[Associated Press] I wouldn’t pay a dime for it. This proves that the Obama’s are racist
Here is a not-as-fun fact: There is only one coin in circulation that features a person of color. It’s the Sacagawea dollar. The Sacagawea dollar is also one of two coins in circulation that features a woman (the Susan B. Anthony dollar was retired in 2000, though obviously it’s still accepted as payment).