[JPL] Hey, can you spare a Duke quarter?
drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Jan 28 21:30:14 EST 2009
The District of Columbia quarter is the first of 2009 and the first in
the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program. The
District of Columbia, created in 1790, became the Nation's capital on
December 1, 1800. The 10-square-mile site, originally part of Maryland
and Virginia, was chosen personally by President George Washington to
fulfill the need for a new Federal district that would not be part of
any state. The District of Columbia quarter reverse features native son
Duke Ellington, the internationally renowned composer and musician,
seated at a grand piano with the inscriptions, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
DUKE ELLINGTON and JUSTICE FOR ALL, the District's motto.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born into a middle-class family in
Washington, D.C., in 1899, and started piano lessons at the age of
seven. He lived in Washington until 1923, when he moved to New York
City. He began performing professionally at the age of 17, and once he
arrived in New York, started playing in Broadway nightclubs and
eventually led his own band. Ellington made hundreds of recordings --
some with John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn, Louis Armstrong and Ella
Fitzgerald -- making him famous worldwide. Throughout his 50-year
career, he returned often to Washington to perform, frequently staying
at the Whitelaw Hotel located in his boyhood neighborhood in Washington.
Throughout his life, he received numerous awards and honors, including
multiple Grammy® awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 in
honor of his ability to carry the message of freedom to all the Nations
of the world through his gift of music and understanding.
The District of Columbia Quarter Design Advisory Committee, established
by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, solicited and reviewed reverse design concepts
from the public, narrowing more than 300 down to three, which were sent
to the United States Mint for final artistic renderings. The three
concepts each included an individual from a different century: Duke
Ellington; Benjamin Banneker, who assisted with the original D.C.
boundary survey; and Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist and
statesman. The artistic renderings were then proposed to the District,
and the Duke Ellington design was recommended through a public vote,
with the Secretary of the Treasury approving the design on July 31, 2008.
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