One of the two commemorative coin programs authorized for the coming year will mark the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The program will feature a silver dollar with a maximum mintage of 350,000 pieces.
The authorizing legislation provides that the designs for the coin “shall be emblematic of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution to civil rights in America.” The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recently reviewed design candidates and gave their recommendations. The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), who will receive surcharges raised from the sale of coins, also expressed their preferences.
The United States Mint had provided a slate of 15 different obverse and 10 different reverse designs for the 2014 Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar, which can all be viewed in this article.
The CFA and UNCF had recommended the obverse and reverse design candidates shown above (click for larger version). The obverse is intended to be symbolic of all marches that helped to galvanize the civil rights movement. The CFA did recommend reducing the size of the inscription “LIBERTY” and adjusting the composition to move the protester’s sign from the coin edge. The UNCF recommended that the diversity of the people depicted should be increased.
The recommended reverse design features a graduation cap and tassel and is intended to represent the initial thrust of the civil rights movement when the NAACP challenged the “separate but equal” doctrine with Brown v. Board of Education. The partial quote “…for All of God’s Children.” is in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The CCAC opened their discussion of the design candidates with the Chairman calling emphasis to the design requirements from the authorizing legislation, which called for the designs to both commemorate the act itself as well as its contribution to the nation. Chairman Marks said that the contribution “is something that could not have happened prior to its enactment.” Accordingly, he felt that the designs depicting the protests did not commemorate the act or its continuing contribution.
Following additional discussion, the CCAC recommended the obverse and reverse designs shown above. The obverse depicts the March on Washington inside a silhouette of the Liberty Bell with reverberating bands and the inscription “Let Freedom Ring…” The throng of people by the reflecting pool would have been Martin Luther King’s view from the Lincoln Memorial. The rays beyond the Washington Monument represent the dawn of the bright day of justice as quoted by Dr. King in his speech.
The reverse design depicts three intertwined flames symbolizing freedom of education, freedom to vote, and the freedom to control one’s destiny. The design was developed based on the quote by Dr. King, “They get the fire hose. They fail to realize that water can only put out physical fire. But water can never drown the fire of freedom.” The CCAC did suggest that the cauldron at the base of the flames should be enlarged or emphasized.
As in the past, I wanted to give Mint News Blog readers the opportunity to vote on their preferred designs. Since there is such a large number of different candidates, I have included three voting options: the recommendations of the CFA & UNCF, the recommendations of the CCAC, or another combination.
Results from 2014 Native American Dollar Design Poll
I wanted to follow up on the previous post which allowed readers to vote on designs for the 2014 Native American Dollar. To recap, the theme for the design is Native American hospitality which helped ensure the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition. There were a total of seven different candidates and the various groups tasked with reviewing these designs offered five different recommendations with no single design recommended by more than one group.
Voting from readers was similarly divided with five different designs receiving at least 10% of the overall vote.
The largest percentage at 26.51% was captured by design #1 commemorating the relationship between the Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark through the offer of horses. This was the recommendation of the National Congress of the American Indian.
The second highest percentage of votes at 24.59% was captured by design #8, which depicts Sacagawea carrying a basket of corn for barter with Lewis and Clark seen in the background. None of the groups who reviewed designs had recommended this alternative.
Next at 16.79% was design #2 showing the friendship and mutual respect that developed between Lewis and the Mandan Chief.
This was followed by 15.61% of the votes for design #6 featuring a depiction of Chief Cameahwait warning Lewis of the unpassable river route through the mountains and instead recommending a land route further north. This had been recommended by the CFA.
Finally, at 10.75% was design #3, depicting a Native American man offering a pipe and his wife offering provisions, which was recommended by the CCAC.