'Queen of Salsa' Celia Cruz to appear on US quarter

She was one of the 20th century's most well-known Latin performers.

February 7, 2023, 12:34 PM

The Queen of Salsa and Cuban icon Celia Cruz is the first Afro-Latina to be selected to appear on the U.S. quarter.

Cruz, who died in 2003, was selected by the United States Mint to be one of the five honorees in the 2024 American Women Quarters Program.

The American Women Quarters Program is a four-year initiative that honors the achievements and services of American women. The U.S. Mint is releasing up to five new designs each year; they began in 2022 and will continue through 2025.

Celia Cruz performing onstage for the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Sept. 18, 2002, in Los Angeles.
Michael Caulfield Archive/WireImage via Getty Images

Celia Cruz, also known as Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, was one of the 20th century's most well-known Latin performers and a cultural icon. Cruz is the winner of many distinctions and honors, including five Grammy Awards, a National Medal of Arts and a posthumous Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.

"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," said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson, in an official 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."

The other women chosen were Patsy Takemoto Mink, who was the first woman of color to serve in Congress; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, who was a Civil War-era surgeon, women's rights advocate and abolitionist; Pauli Murray, a poet, writer, activist, lawyer and Episcopal priest, as well as a strong advocate for civil rights, and Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, a writer, songwriter, educator and political activist for the rights of Native Americans.

The designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters are expected to be released in mid-2023.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove a description of Patsy Takemoto Mink as being the first Black woman in Congress.