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Salsa Queen Honored by U.S

By Joseph Green-Bishop
Texas Metro News Correspondent

Celia C

Celia Cruz, celebrated around the world as the “Queen of Salsa,” will soon have her likeness on American currency. Ms. Cruz, who died in 2003, will become the first Afro-Latina to have such an honor bestowed upon her, according to officials at the United States Mint. A coin honoring Ms. Cruz is scheduled to be released this summer.

The Grammy Award winning artist, born in Cuba in 1925, helped to make Salsa popular in the United States, Europe and in many other parts of the world. Her image will appear on the United States quarter as part of a special program entitled ‘The American Women Quarters Program’ which honors women who have made significant contributions  to American culture and social progress.

“My wife and I are very excited about Celia Cruz being honored by the United States government,” said Jimmy Sosa, the owner of Highway 10 Tire Shop in Euless. “It is fantastic that this is being done. I believe that the coin will quickly become a collector’s item.” 

The three-year program honoring outstanding American women was started by the Mint in 2022.  It will honor women for two additional years. The first quarter in the program honored Maya Angelou, making the illustrious author and thinker   the first African American woman to appear on such a coin which appeared in 2022.


Mint officials, in a statement, described Ms. Cruz as “one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century.” Like others honored, Ms. Cruz made remarkable contributions to the development and growth of American society and positive cultural  norms, said  Ventris C. Gibson, the director of the U.S. Mint, which is responsible for the production of American coins. 

Known for her magnificent voice, flamboyant costumes and incredible hair pieces, Ms. Cruz left Cuba in 1959 after the government nationalized the music business. Settling in New Jersey, it did not take long for her career to blossom in the United States. She recorded 37 albums during her professional life, and urged listeners to pursue happiness in their lives, no matter the depth of their pain.  For some she was not unlike a therapist. She performed for 60 years.

Honorees of  the coin program are selected by the Secretary of the Treasury, a panel  of  Congresswoman, and representatives from the Smithsonian. The Mint, founded in 1792, is a division of the U.S.  Treasury Department.

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