by teleconference April 6, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee
discussed design concepts for the Foot Soldiers of Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights
March of 1965 congressional gold medal and 2017 Lions Clubs International Century of Service silver dollar.
Stafford, the U.S. Mint’s chief of design development, said designs
for the congressional gold medal are to be thematic of the three
marches in March 1965 by those protesting the denial of voting rights
— Bloody Sunday, March 7, in which the protesters were met with
violence by Alabama State Troopers; Turnaround Tuesday, March 9,
during which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, fearing for the safety
of the marchers, after prayer, returned the 2,500 strong to the Brown
Chapel African Methodist Church; and the final successful march of
March 21 to 25, a 54-mile march to the state capital in Montgomery,
with increasing numbers of marchers.
said representatives with the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail have
suggested design details that would incorporate elements of the chapel
where the marches began, the Edmund Pettus Bridge that had to be
crossed en route to the state capital, the farmers and sharecroppers
who lined the roads in the country on the march route, and the state capital.
designs are to be emblematic of those who jeopardized their lives,
marches led ultimately to President Johnson's Aug. 6, 1965, signing of
the Voting Rights Act.
suggestions were made to incorporate some of the lyrics from protest
songs, but a member of the Mint's legal staff said searches were still
being made to determine if there could be copyright issues.
member Michael Moran said the gold medal has national implications to
recognize a point in American history that started in clouds of tear
gas enveloping the non-violent protesters, and led to ultimate
triumph. Moran suggested consideration of marchers arm-in-arm, with
American flags in the background.
member Dr. Michael Bugeja said that, while the idea of a bridge is to
join or unify two areas, the Edmund Pettus Bridge over which the
marchers traveled is actually geographically divisive between the
races. Bugeja said part of the historical irony is that Pettus, after
whom the bridge is named, was a Confederate general during the Civil War.
Hoge, the CCAC member specially qualified as a numismatic curator,
said he was troubled by the use of the term "Foot Soldiers,"
which conjures up visions of militarism and violence, when the
marchers were deeply religious and patriotic pacifists and
humanitarians. The medal's designs should celebrate the non-violent
movement, he said.
the general public, CCAC member Erik Jansen said that, while it is
tempting to focus on the confrontation, violence and solider elements
the marchers encountered, they showed up to stand collectively to
overcome. The imagery used in designs should be symbolic and not
duplicate a specific photo, he said.
member Heidi Wastweet, one of the committee members specially
qualified in sculpture or medallic arts, said that when executing
designs, the U.S. Mint's engraving staff and contingent of Artistic
Infusion Program artists should be "economical" with text
and not clutter the fields with inscriptions.
Lions Clubs International Century of Service silver dollar
LaJoye, division manager for public relations and communications for
Lions Clubs International, said Lions Clubs International members
would expect to see on the commemorative coin's obverse a design
incorporating a portrait of founder Melvin Jones, with the
organization's logo on the reverse. LaJoye said the design should
include the service organization's motto "We Serve."
member Donald Scarinci, a specialist in medallic art,
questioned LaJoye whether the organization simply wants a monument
marking its existence with the coin, or to have a successful program
with coin designs that sell.
portrait isn't going to sell," Scarinci said, concerning the
suggestion to use the revered Jones' portrait as a design element.
"There's a broader market to address."
said Lions Clubs International has to look at the numismatic market
beyond the organization's membership, since it is the numismatic
market and non-organization members that will determine a program's success.
Chairman Gary Marks said the coin needs designs that will grab one's
attention and stand out beyond what would be expected. Marks
reiterated Scarinci's contention the portrait concept would not be
embraced by the numismatic market. There also needs to be a reverse
design that goes beyond just the organization's logo. Marks suggested
the idea of a pride of lions.
said one needs to be careful with the use of the word pride when
describing lions since the word does not translate the same in all languages.
member Mary Lannin suggested marrying the logo with a globe to
recognize the organization's global reach.
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