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D.C. Wire Exclusive: The D.C. Quarter Finalists

These three designs will be submitted soon to the U.S. Mint as finalists for the D.C. quarter. Look for a longer story on washingtonpost.com soon (we'll post the link on D.C. Wire once that story is up). Below are Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass and Duke Ellington. We want to know your opinion in the poll just below this posting.

(Update 12:27 p.m.: Here is the story on the quarters.)

banneker.jpg

douglass.jpg

ellington.jpg

By David A Nakamura  |  May 2, 2008; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  David Nakamura , Voting Rights  
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Comments

These suck. A lot. I'm all for commemorating these people, but I'd prefer it to be a way tha actually honors their achievements.

And yes, I'm still bitter about DC rolling over on the rejection of Taxation Without Representation design.

Posted by: Kevin | May 2, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Duke Ellington. It's the most DC (to me) and might give people in other areas a different perspective of what the city is about. How many people associate DC with anything other than politics and government?

Posted by: M Street | May 2, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The Banneker choice is totally PC. His connection with DC is limited to spending a few months helping survey DC's boundaries. He's an interesting figure that has been overlooked, but he's not on the same level as the other two (both of whose connections with DC are also not super strong) and his connection to DC is not nearly strong enough to say he represents DC.

That they reached back into history to choose him, instead of DC natives such as John Phillip Sousa (or just did like most states did, and the Mint encouraged, and not pick a person), is reflective of the fact that DC politicians are intent on ignoring DC's non-African American history.

The thing is, though, of the three choices, the Banneker one is the most interesting design.

Posted by: DC Res | May 2, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the Banneker design is distinctive, with the Douglass one a very close second. The Ellington coin seems both crowded and disorganized.

Posted by: Christina | May 5, 2008 5:04 AM | Report abuse

I can't see how any of these choices somehow represent DC as the back of these quarters are supposed to do. It looks like someone decided to use the quarter as an opportunity to make a race statement. This is very inappropriate. A symbol of something which we all could share in would have been far far preferable.

Posted by: Disgruntled | May 5, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

What will someone from say, Wyoming or Alaska, who has never been to DC, think of when they see these? My guess is they'll just be confused. None of these coins represent DC today, and that's a shame. Also it's too bad none have the DC flag on them--it's a distinctive design that seems to be ubiquitous around town and is really a unique flag.

Posted by: DR | May 5, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Appears this became a mission to get a black man on a coin, any black man. The powers-that-be in the District of Columbia have race compulsively on the brain, which is a very odd place to have it.
I suspect none of the three gentlemen indicated spent nearly as much time thinking about the color of their skin as DC's leaders do today.

Posted by: Duke Benjamin Douglass | May 5, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The 'Justice for All' motto is fine (would have preferred 'Taxation without Representation' though). But how is that connected to Duke Ellington or Banneker?

If it has to be a person - and I really don't know why - Frederick Douglass is the only choice. Like it or not, DC is about politics and history, and it is still a majority black city.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

One way of "getting back" at the the powers that did not authorize the Taxation Without Representation design could be for us to try to hold on to as many the DC quarters as possible so to get them out of circulation.

Posted by: MS | May 5, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Douglass seems the best choice for reasons already listed.
Ellington looks like his elbow is resting on the piano keys which seems off.
and Banneker kind of has a bit of a pirate look.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess I would have to go with Benjamin Banneker. I think DC quarter should represent what District of Columbia is or how District of Columbia came about. Like who suggested the idea of establishing a district to be the center of our nation's capitol. What about the symbol of the DC's flag? I just think it to be someone that is connected to the history of District of Columbia.

Posted by: Freeman | May 5, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Suggest a paraphrase on the Duke's coin: "It Don't Mean A Thing (If You Ain't Represented in Congress)"

Posted by: MM | May 5, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Like many other readers I don't like any of these designs. The DC quarter is supposed to represent DC, not be a commemorative coin for these individuals. I'm not sure what I would've gone with; maybe a view of the tidal basin with the Washington monument and whitehouse in the background or something.

Can they reject all of these and start over?

Posted by: Bill | May 5, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Being a DC native I would have suggested putting the Washington Monument looking towards the Lincoln Memorial. Not too political and shows DC at its very best.

Posted by: Mary | May 5, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, these are horrible.

Posted by: washingtonian | May 5, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No to Banneker- he wasn't a DC native- DC was an assignment like any of the federal workers on Capitol Hill. Elligton was born here, but otherwise had nothing really to do w/ DC. Douglass lived and worked here. Go w/ Douglass. And his phrase "Agitate. Agitate. Agitate."

Posted by: Cleveland Park | May 5, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"Banneker - he wasn't a DC native- DC was an assignment like any of the federal workers on Capitol Hill."

Doesn't that then make him the perfect representative of the DC of today?

Posted by: rickyd1 | May 5, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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