The First Afro-Latina, Celia Cruz, Will Appear on U.S. Quarter

The Cuban American singer will be seen on the U.S. quarter in 2024 among four other highly accomplished and inspirational women in American history.

Celia Cruz who is the first Afro Caribbean known as the ‘Queen of Salsa’ and is a legend and heroine in Cuban culture, has been chosen by the U.S. mint to be on the quarter. The decision is a part of The American Women Quarters Program where five new designs are revealed each year over a four-year initiative from 2022 to 2025. The designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters are to be released in mid-2023.

The American Women Quarters Program merits the achievements of American women and Cruz is chosen as one of the designs for the 2024 AWQ. The other four honorable women are Dr. Mary Edwards Walker who was a civil war surgeon and suffragette, Pauli Murray who took on so many roles as a civil rights activist, writer, lawyer, LGBTQ+ member, and the first African American woman to be an Episcopal priest, Patsy Takemoto Mink who was the first WOC to serve in the House of Representatives in 1965, and lastly, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin–originally Zitkala-Ša–was a writer, musician, political activist for Native Americans, and the co-founder of the National Council of American Indians. This roundup is wonderfully overwhelming and gives recognition to those who did a lot of firsts in the history of women in America. 

Image Credit: Michael Ochs/Archives/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Celia Cruz who also goes by Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso was born in Havana, Cuba in 1925. The singer also goes by the nickname “La Guarachera de Cuba” (a genre of music originating in Cuba) as her fame started as the lead vocalist of La Sonora Matancera in 1950. Cruz left Cuba in 1960 with the band to go on tour in Mexico and became exiled from Cuba. Cruz left the band in 1965 and became a soloist in the U.S. as she went to New Jersey to be among the rise of Latin music in the U.S.

Cuban-American salsa singer Celia Cruz (1925 – 2003) performs at the JVC Jazz Festival concert ‘Two Divas and a Lion’ at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York, July 1, 1995. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

The Cuban American singer is one of the most popular Latin music artists of the 20th century as she went on to have 23 gold records, 3 Grammy Awards, 5 Latin Grammy Awards, the President’s National Medal of Arts, and ended her career with more than 80 albums recorded. Cruz died in 2003 as she left a legacy as an Afro-Cuban artist who made many shifts in history with music as a Latin singer and woman of color as she continues to do so today. 

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