My Comments as CCAC Chair
As Black History month has just concluded and March is National Women's History month, I thought you might find interesting my comments at the beginning of the day 1 (February 28, 2023) public meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). As a reminder, the CCAC is an 11-member group authorized to submit recommendations to the Secretary of Treasury on designs of US circulating and commemorative coins and medals.
As Chair of the CCAC, here were my comments:
Using the very limited prerogative of the Chair, I will briefly share with all those in attendance the significance of this first in-person meeting of the CCAC in 2023. I want to thank former and present CCAC members and the phenomenal US Mint leadership and staff without whom we would not be here today.
Similar to the beginning of my first term as CCAC Chair, this second term also begins as this nation is celebrating Black History month. And while serving as the first African American to Chair the CCAC is of significance to me and my family, this is not the reason for my comments.
More importantly, is the recognition that within a month, the CCAC will have participated in the recognition of four under-appreciated chapters of Black history.
At the last public meeting, the CCAC reviewed the designs for the Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold medal, commemorating African American soldiers, recognized for their heroism during World War 1.
Today, as a part of the 2024 American Innovation Dollar from Missouri, the CCAC will be reviewing reverse designs recognizing the inventions of George Washington Carver, an African American agricultural scientist.
Also today, we will be reviewing designs for the Willie O’Ree Congressional Gold medal, celebrating his feats on the ice as the first African American to play in the National Hockey League and his contributions off the ice.
Tomorrow, we will be reviewing designs recognizing some phenomenal women, one of whom is Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray, an African American civil rights activist, attorney, Episcopal priest and author.
These four events underscore an increasing appreciation that Black History is American history, a phrase I saw repeatedly displayed in NYC Kennedy airport.
In summary, I am here today based upon the phenomenal support I received from colleagues and the many friends I have developed in this continuously fulfilling hobby while serving our nation by reviewing miniature canvases filled with unforgettable art, representing phenomenal chapters of American history.
Last year, I ended my comments with a quote from the first woman commemorated on the 2022 American Women Quarters, Maya Angelo: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This year, I am ending with a quote from another famous African American, former First Lady Michelle Obama: “Success is not about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in the people’s lives”
You have all played a role in making a difference in my life and making me feel valued, I pray that I can return the favor to you as well over the course of this year.
Your comments are welcomed, and I recommend that you consider visiting American Women Quarters™ Program - US Mint Catalog Online to obtain a role of Bessie Coleman quarters. Bessie Coleman was a pilot, advocate, and pioneer who flew to great heights as the first African American and first Native American woman pilot and first African American to earn an international pilot’s license. The reverse design depicts Bessie Coleman as she suits up in preparation for flight, her expression reflective of her determination to take to the skies, the only place she experienced a freedom she did not have on the ground.
Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or [email protected] should you desire more information.
Lawrence S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM
Addiction Medicine and Public Health
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Chair, Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee