Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the new DC quarter features Duke Ellington, but I was puzzled by the US Mint's breathless assertion that it was their first coin to feature an African American. And, indeed, here's some trivia from their own web site:
The first coin to feature an African-American was the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar.
Not to mention the 1951 George Washington Carver/Booker T. coin and the 1996 commemorative silver dollar featuring Crispus Attucks, the reverse of which features three additional (anonymous) African Americans.
But, you know, whatever. How many media outlets will repeat this easily demonstrated error? Probably all of them.
But anyway, congrats to Duke Ellington, the seventh African American to appear on a US coin!
UPDATE/CORRECTION: I spoke to Michael White at the USM's Office of Public Affairs, and he assured me that their press materials stress that Ellington is the first African American to appear on a "regular", circulating coin, rather than a special commemorative, and that the error is (surprise!) CNN's.
UPDATE: CNN has