Trailblazers are the leaders who shape history, and they change our beliefs about what is possible. Whether their achievements are large or small, in the public eye or known only to a select few, they expand the possibilities for all of us. The United States Mint salutes some of these African-American pioneers.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery but gained his freedom at the age of 20. He never received any formal education, but he achieved national fame as an author and orator. He became a popular abolitionist speaker in the U.S., Great Britain, and Ireland. His two books on his life and experiences as a slave were best sellers.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Coretta Scott King
Internationally regarded as a champion of civil rights and nonviolence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked tirelessly to improve the lives of African-Americans suffering from injustice and prejudice. Together with his wife, Coretta Scott King, he mobilized a Nation to take action against institutional racism and segregation. King’s charisma, oratory skills, and commitment to nonviolent protest continue to inspire generations of activists.
We honor the Kings’ legacy, bravery, and dedication every January and February on his birthday and during African-American History Month, but their influence and impact on the Nation and world are felt year round.
President Barack Obama
The most important leadership position the United States offers is the Presidency. A young Barack Obama quickly demonstrated his skills as a leader in local politics and community organizing. He served in the Illinois State Legislature and later won a seat in the United States Senate. In 2008 he made history by successfully winning election as the country’s first African-American President.
2018 American Liberty
The 2018 American Liberty One-Tenth Ounce Gold Proof Coin™ features a young African-American woman wearing a crown of stars and continues the series begun in 2017 when this modern interpretation of Liberty first graced American coins and silver medals.