Washington, D.C. — Jazz musician Duke Ellington has become the first black American to be prominently featured on a U.S. coin in circulation with the release of a quarter honoring the District of Columbia.
U.S. Mint and D.C. officials celebrated the release of the coin Tuesday during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“Like many great Americans who succeed in what they love doing, Duke Ellington was equal parts talent, hard work, passion and perseverance,” U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy said.
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born and raised in Washington. He and other black music legends, such as Ella Fitzgerald, helped establish the city’s U Street as an entertainment corridor.