Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who Would You Put on a Coin?

My students are learning about money and coins. The first grade next door is doing the same. The other teacher and I were looking at some large, paper coins to use in lessons and the set included a Sacagawea dollar coin. This teacher sighed a bit and I asked about her reaction.

Basically, she said that she felt a better choice could have been made for a woman on the coin. Or at least a better image could have been used than one of her and the baby. She felt it presented a very specific view of what a woman can be.

I'm not sure I completely agree with her, but it did raise a really interesting question for me. If you could choose an American woman to be on a coin who would you choose? How about an African-American to place on a coin?

I'd love to hear folks' thoughts on this. I'm also interested in why. How we prioritize individuals in history fascinates me. And, so far, I haven't been able to decide who I would choose. I'll have to get back to you on that.

5 comments:

Dave Rutan said...

I'm basically drawing a blank on this, but if it has to be a historical figure, Why not Harriet Tubman? Reaching into folklore, I'd say a representation of Molly Pitcher would be good. Truly though, I don't have a problem with Sacagawea. What I dislike is taking all the normal inscriptions off the face. It makes it look less like authentic money and more like a token.

Launa Hall said...

My take on the Sacagawea coin was quite different. I was delighted to see her baby pictured with her. I felt it acknowledge that yep, she was a mother, but she was still making a huge impact and she could still make her way into history. I saw it as empowering instead of limiting. Thanks for sharing--Interesting stuff.

Jenny said...

great question! Very thought provoking. I too drew a blank a first. I like the idea of Harriet Tubman, but then that led me to MLK, Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, etc. How do you pick just one person to represent so many? I think I am going to propose this challenge to my fourth graders and see what they come up with...

vjmeleski said...

Just thought I'd let you know that I used this post and the subsequent comments with a group of 4th graders using blogs for the first time. I wanted to show them a blog to which they could relate. I also wanted them to see what "real" blogs look like, show them your audience (the world at large), and for them see the interesting comments with different points of view from your readers. They wanted me to let you know they thought the blog was pretty cool. They agreed that Molly Pitcher would be a good choice and suggested Clara Barton as another alternative.

ally said...

My first reaction was Eleanor Roosevelt, I have a very soft spot for her. But I think Marian Anderson would be a fine choice, or Rosa Parks, both women who did not wake up one day and decide to become activists but who rather, were forced into the role by situation. There is a very long list of wonderful choices.