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The US government on Thursday issued a new commemorative collector coin featuring Lady Liberty depicted as a black woman – the first time in history that the famed symbol of Americana is portrayed as an African American.
The 24-karat gold $100 coin was unveiled to mark the US Mint and Treasury’s 225th anniversary.
The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin shows the woman’s head in profile with a crown of stars.
It features the year of the mint’s founding, 1792, as well as 2017.
The mint says the other side of the coin will depict an eagle in flight.
It was designed by Justin Kunz, an accomplished artist and illustrator whom the mint has commissioned for past works on coins, according to its website.
‘As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty’s representation,’ said Elisa Basnight, US Mint chief of staff.
‘We live in a nation that affords us the opportunity to dream big and try to accomplish the seemingly impossible.’
The new edition will be released for public consumption in April, according to NBC News.
It is the first in a series of coins that will show Lady Liberty as a minority.
Future coins will show her as an Asian America, Hispanic American, and a Native American ‘to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.’
The mint’s announcement divided users on social media.
Some hailed it as an appropriate and long overdue nod to American multiculturalism, while others said it was the latest attempt to impose political correctness as part of a culture war against the country’s heritage.
‘Will there be a Caucasian version as well? To represent all diversity?’ one Facebook user asked.
‘There already is a Caucasian version,’ replied another commenter. ‘It’s called the American Gold Eagle. Plenty of White depictions of Liberty to go around.’
One Twitter user celebrated the unveiling by superimposing a photo which appears to represent a black woman holding a lamp in place of the Statue of Liberty – the iconic sculpture that stands in New York Harbor.
The Twitter user employed the hashtag ‘BlackGirlsRock’ to drive home the point.
Others were not impressed.
‘You keep the ugly thing,’ another Facebook commenter wrote, using all capital letters. ‘Not for this American.’
‘Maybe you aren’t American then because America is melting pot of color – better get used to it!’ said another Facebook user in response.
‘Don’t try and make me feel something I don’t need to,’ the commenter replied. ‘Yes, the USA is a melting pot but just doesn’t include color.’
‘Lady Liberty doesn’t need an upgrade. She is just fine as she is.’
‘Get off your high horse or should I say get you head out of space and leave the coinage the way it is…There is nothing wrong with it, liberal.’
Another Facebook user found joy in others’ indignation, writing: ‘Y’all white people stay mad, haha.’