The District’s Quarter Finalists

David Nakamuram, Washington Post, May 3, 2008

Duke Ellington resting his elbow on a piano. Benjamin Banneker getting ready to peer through a surveyor’s transit. Frederick Douglass sitting at a writing table.

The three final design candidates for the D.C. quarter have been completed and are nearing public unveiling by the U.S. Mint, which will ask residents for comment before selecting a winner. The designs were unveiled yesterday before a smaller audience at a breakfast meeting between Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and the D.C. Council.

Months ago, city officials submitted three other designs to the Mint featuring the slogan “Taxation Without Representation,” in an attempt to highlight the city’s lack of congressional voting rights. But the Mint rejected the designs, saying they were inappropriate. The city then developed new “design narratives” featuring musician Ellington, scientist Banneker and abolitionist and author Douglass, all of whom lived in the city.

Each of the new designs features the slogan “Justice for All,” the English translation of the city’s original Latin motto, “Justitia Omnibus,” said D.C. Secretary Stephanie D. Scott, who is overseeing the city’s submissions. Scott said the Mint will solicit public input from about May 21 through June 20, and the quarters will be minted and ready for circulation in January.

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