Honoring Women In History
Since 1987, Women's History Month has celebrated the achievements of women. The U.S. Mint honors notable women in history through its coin programs, including Congressional Gold Medals, commemorative coins, and circulating coins such as the Susan B. Anthony dollar and the Sacagawea golden dollar.
Use the Mint's free lesson plans to teach your students about important women in history. The featured lesson plan focuses on women's suffrage and Susan B. Anthony's quest for the right to vote. The Coin of the Month, the Alabama State Quarter, highlights the academic and social justice accomplishments of Helen Keller.
Coin of the Month
Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. When she was a small child, an illness destroyed her sight and hearing, consequently, depriving her of the senses by which we normally learn to speak. Despite this, Helen Keller learned to speak and read using the raised and manual alphabets, as well as Braille. She went on to publish numerous books, articles and essays. Helen Keller devoted her life to addressing social issues for disabled persons and women.
Interesting facts about Helen Keller and the Alabama State Quarter:
- The Alabama quarter is the first U.S. circulating coin to feature braille
- Helen Keller graduated with honors, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe College
- Every year at Keller's birthplace “Ivy Green,” a weeklong celebration is held to commemorate her lifetime of accomplishments and her “Spirit of Courage”
The coin's reverse design features an image of Helen Keller with her name in English, and in a reduced-size version of braille. An Alabama long leaf pine branch and magnolias grace the sides of the design, and a “Spirit of Courage” banner underlines the central image. Inscriptions are “ALABAMA 1819,” “HELEN KELLER,” “2003,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
Helen Keller Lesson Plans
Students will read an age-appropriate text to learn about the woman featured on Alabama's quarter reverse, Helen Keller. They will also conduct a science exploration of the five senses.
Students will read an age-appropriate text to learn about the woman featured on Alabama's quarter reverse, Helen Keller.
Students will research and draw conclusions about specific time periods. Students will understand and sequence events and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of Code Talkers in American history.
Featured Lesson Plans
Women received the right to vote via the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. But in 1872, Susan B. Anthony, who championed the cause of women's suffrage, registered and voted in an election in Rochester, NY. She was arrested for “knowingly, wrongfully, and unlawfully vot[ing] for a representative to the Congress of the United States” and fined $100. Anthony refused to pay the fine, and petitioned Congress to have the fine removed. You can read her petition in full on the National Archives website.
Students will identify important events in the history of voting rights. Students will identify the importance of amendments to the Constitution
To learn more about the quest for women’s suffrage, view the following Mint resources:
- The 2007 Wyoming 50 State Quarter: Wyoming, nicknamed “The Equality State,” was the first to grant voting rights to women
- Alice Paul and the Suffrage Movement Gold Coin: honoring Alice Paul, a chief suffrage advocate
- Sculptor Phebe Hemphill: sculpted many U.S. Mint coins featuring women in history, including Alice Paul
April 3-4, 2017Commemorating the release of the 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Quarter. View the events page for more information.
Visit our lessons-by-coin-program page to learn more about United States history.
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