District of Columbia Quarter
The first quarter in the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program honors the District of Columbia. This district was created in 1790 especially to serve as the nation’s capital, and became the capital on December 1, 1800. President George Washington chose the 10-square-mile site from parts of Maryland and Virginia, though the Virginia portion was later returned to the state. As a federal district, it is not part of any state.
DC’s mayor and residents chose to feature Duke Ellington in their quarter design. This world-famous composer and musician was born in the District and often visited there to perform with his big band after he moved to New York. The District’s Latin motto, “Justitia Omnibus,” is translated “Justice for All” in the design.
During his 50-year career in music, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington recorded with some of the greatest musicians of jazz. He performed in countries around the world, won several GrammyŽ awards, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 at the age of 70. Born in 1899, Ellington died in 1974, leaving behind hundreds of recordings, songs, and instrumental pieces and his unique and lasting mark on American music.