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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

U.S. Treasury Department Honors Iconic Cuban-American Singer Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz, the iconic Cuban-American singer and beloved ambassador of Latin music is being honored by the U.S. Treasury Department to become the first Afro-Latina to appear in a U.S. quarter. This remarkable honor is a testament to Cruz’s enduring legacy and shows that her music and spirit continue to transcend generations.

The American Women's Quarters Program is a series of 25 circulating quarters issued by the United States Mint to honor and recognize the achievements, individual contributions, and collective accomplishments of women in the United States.

The quarters are being issued in the order in which the honorees lived and made their contributions. The program began in 2021 and is expected to last until 2025. The American Women Honorees quarters will be released in 2024.

Celia Cruz, born in 1925 in Havana, Cuba, is one of the most influential singers in Latin music. Known for her powerful voice and charismatic stage presence, Cruz was a pioneering figure who helped popularize Cuban music across the globe. She was a prominent figure in the salsa movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and she continued performing until her death in 2003.

In the 1950s, Cruz left Cuba and emigrated to the United States. Despite the hardships of leaving her homeland and beginning a new life in a foreign land, she did not let that stop her from pursuing her passion for music. She joined an Afro-Cuban musical group in Miami and eventually moved to New York City where she joined the band La Sonora Matancera. With this group, Cruz rose to international fame, performing and recording her signature style of Cuban-inspired salsa music.

Cruz’s success was not only due to her talent and charisma but also her unwavering commitment to her Cuban identity. Throughout her career, she made sure to incorporate traditional Cuban instruments and sounds into her music, often wearing vibrant Cuban-style dresses in her performances. Cruz also became a symbol of hope and resilience.

Cruz was a beloved figure who was beloved by fans worldwide. She was a passionate advocate for Afro-Latino rights, and her music often focused on the experiences of people of color. She was also a passionate advocate for the Cuban exile community, and she often used her platform to bring attention to their plight.

Now, the U.S. Treasury Department has chosen Cruz to appear on a quarter, making her the first Afro-Latina to be honored in this way. The quarter will feature a portrait of Cruz alongside a background of tropical.


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