BLACK REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS COMMEMORATIVE SILVER DOLLAR FACT SHEET
Attucks was the first but not the only African American patriot. More than 5,000 fought in the Revolutionary War--although the liberty they fought for would be something only their descendents would enjoy. In Virginia, dozens froze, starved and died; the 1st Rhode Island Regiment was made up entirely of 250 African Americans. British General Cornwallis was completely fooled by double agent James Armistead, the African American man who stood by General Lafayette's side when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.
These patriots are to be honored in a memorial approved by Congress. The Black Patriots Memorial will be on the National Mall just north of the reflecting pool, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. This is the historic site of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, an inspiration to generations, both black and white.
In addition to the coin itself, a young collectors edition and a coin and stamp set were offered. The coin and stamp set featured four postage stamps, honoring four African American patriots: Frederick Douglass; Harriet Tubman; Benjamin Banneker; and Salem Poor.
The obverse was designed by John Mercanti, who has been at the U.S. Mint since 1974. Recently, he has designed the 2000 Library of Congress Bimetallic Ten Dollar obverse and Silver Dollar reverse, the reverse of the Leif Ericson Silver Dollar, and the obverse designs for the George H. W. Bush and the Hubert Humphrey medals. He also designed the Bicentennial of the Congress Gold Five Dollar; the Eisenhower Silver Dollar obverse; the Mount Rushmore Gold Five Dollar obverse; the Korean War Silver Dollar obverse; the 1991 USO Anniversary Silver Dollar obverse; and two of the 1995 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Silver Dollar obverses (track & field and cycling).
Ed Dwight designed the reverse. He is a former Air Force test pilot, an engineer and the first African American to be trained as an astronaut. He holds an MFA in sculpture. He has created a wide range of gallery art, but he has focused on large-scale installations honoring African Americans, including his commission to create the Black Patriots Memorial featured on this coin.