NEXSTAR (WASHINGTON) – A new face could appear on your pocket change soon. Asian American actress Anna May Wong will be the latest person featured on the quarter as part of a new series focused on celebrating important women in U.S. history.
From the silver screen to silver-colored coins, the actress is about to be minted in American memory.
David Uy, the executive director for the Chinese American Museum, says Wong is a significant figure.
“She’s really the first major Chinese American movie star, primarily in the 30s and 40s, and she’s a great icon of style and art,” Uy said.
The U.S. Mint will begin shipping quarters featuring Wong on Monday, making her the first Asian American on U.S. currency.
George Washington University Professor Dr. Alexa Alice Joubin is excited about the new coins.
“Having this symbol of U.S. commitment to diversity is really important to our community,” Joubin said.
Many people are celebrating the choice to feature Anna May Wong.
“Someone that’s an underrepresented story represented in currency – really, it’s a step forward for this country,” Uy said.
Anna May Wong’s time as an actress was marked by discrimination. She often faced bias and was cast in stereotypical roles, which she vocally fought against.
“Her beauty, grace and talent really broke past barriers,” Uy said.
Joubin says this honor is a part of Wong’s ongoing legacy.
“Even in her death she’s doing this work of representation,” Joubin said.
She also adds that the racism against Asian Americans that Wong faced isn’t only in the past.
“This is an occasion for us to remember that some of these problems persist,” Joubin said.
While this tribute is about pocket change, advocates also believe it’s about a bigger kind of change.
“It can be a conversation starter, even if people don’t know who this figure is on the coin,” Joubin said.
“It’s about telling a complete American story,” Uy added.