Salsa Icon Celia Cruz Makes History As 1st Afro-Latina On U.S. Quarter

Photo: Getty Images

"Queen of Salsa" Celia Cruz is set to make history as the first Afro-Latina to appear on U.S. currency.

The late Cuban-American salsa icon is among five honorees for the 2024 American Women Quarters Program, which celebrates the achievements and contributions of women across the country.

Other 2024 honorees include the likes of Patsy Takemoto Mink, who was the first woman of color to serve in Congress, Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist and lawyer, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, and Zitkala-Ša.

"All of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives, and have made a significant impact on our Nation in their own unique way," Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said in a statement. "The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives. By honoring these pioneering women, the Mint continues to connect America through coins which are like small works of art in your pocket."

Cruz was born in 1925 in Havana but immigrated to the U.S. in 1961 after the Cuban Revolution. She is known for helping to define the sound of modern-day salsa music before her death at the age of 77 in 2003.

Cruz's stage presence and voice combined with her extravagant costumes earned her 23 gold records, five Grammys, and the president's National Medal of Arts.

Designs for her 2024 quarter are expected to be released in mid-2023.

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