Civil Rights Commemorative Coin One Step Closer: Legislation Passes House


Coin Legislation on Capital BuildingA year of near silence for the "Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act" ended yesterday when the House passed the bill by voice vote.

The bill was first introduced by Rep. John Lewis [D-GA] on April 25 of 2007. While movement for the bill was quiet until yesterday, it gained 313 cosponsors within the last year that assured its passage.

The timing could not have been better with the approach of the 40th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s death on April 4, 1968.

Rep. Lewis held a media event at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the day discussing the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s death and to celebrate the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act. On his website the following statement is made:


"…the Civil Rights Act Commemorative Coin bill that authorizes the Treasury Department to issue a coin paying tribute … has been called the most important, most effective legislation the U.S. Congress has passed in the last 50 years."


Commemorative coin specifications and design

The bill now heads to the Senate for voting. Should it become law, commemorative $1 silver coins in both proof and uncirculated quantities would be minted in 2014. A mintage ceiling of 350,000 would be set with each coin having the following specifications:

  • weigh 26.73 grams;
  • have a diameter of 1.500 inches; and
  • contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper

As is typical with coin legislation, coin designs are rarely specific. For the commemorative coin, the bills states:


" … shall be emblematic of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution to civil rights in America."


Each coin would have a $10 surcharge with proceeds going to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

H.R. 2040: Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act


2d Session

H. R. 2040


To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the semicentennial of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act’.


    The Congress hereby finds as follows:
      (1) On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks’ brave act of defiance, refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, galvanized the modern civil rights movement and led to the desegregation of the South.
      (2) On February 1, 1960, 4 college students, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair, Jr., asked to be served at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and lunch counter sit-ins began to occur throughout the South to challenge segregation in places of public accommodation.
      (3) On May 4, 1961, the Freedom Rides into the South began to test new court orders barring segregation in interstate transportation, and riders were jailed and beaten by mobs in several places, including Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.
      (4) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the leading civil rights advocate of the time, spearheading the civil rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s with the goal of nonviolent social change and full civil rights for African Americans.
      (5) On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led over 250,000 civil rights supporters in the March on Washington and delivered his famous `I Have A Dream’ speech to raise awareness and support for civil rights legislation.
      (6) Mrs. Coretta Scott King, a leading participant in the American civil rights movement, was side-by-side with her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during many civil rights marches, organized Freedom Concerts to draw attention to the Movement, and worked in her own right to create an America in which all people have equal rights.
      (7) The mass movement sparked by Rosa Parks and led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among others, called upon the Congress and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to pass civil rights legislation which culminated in the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
      (8) The Civil Rights Act of 1964 greatly expanded civil rights protections, outlawing racial discrimination and segregation in public places and places of public accommodation, in federally funded programs, and employment and encouraging desegregation in public schools, and has served as a model for subsequent anti-discrimination laws.
      (9) We are an eminently better Nation because of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all those men and women who have confronted, and continue to confront, injustice and inequality wherever they see it.
      (10) Equality in education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement.
      (11) On September 10, 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote that African American `students are coming to understand that education and learning have become tools for shaping the future and not devices of privilege for an exclusive few’.
      (12) Over its long and distinguished history, the United Negro College Fund has provided scholarships and operating funds to its member colleges that have enabled more than 300,000 young African Americans to earn college degrees and become successful members of society.
      (13) Those graduates include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as leaders in the fields of education, science, medicine, law, entertainment, literature, the military, and politics who have made major contributions to the civil rights movement and the creation of a more equitable society.
      (14) Congress has an obligation to lead America’s continued struggle to fight discrimination and ensure equal rights for all.
      (15) The year 2014 will mark the semicentennial of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


    (a) Denominations- The Secretary of the Treasury (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Secretary’) shall mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 coins each of which shall–
      (1) weigh 26.73 grams;
      (2) have a diameter of 1.500 inches; and
      (3) contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.
    (b) Legal Tender- The coins minted under this Act shall be legal tender, as provided in section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.
    (c) Numismatic Items- For purposes of section 5136 of title 31, United States Code, all coins minted under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.


    (a) Design Requirements- The design of the coins minted under this Act shall be emblematic of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution to civil rights in America.
    (b) Designation and Inscriptions- On each coin minted under this Act there shall be–
      (1) a designation of the value of the coin;
      (2) an inscription of the year `2014′; and
      (3) inscriptions of the words `Liberty’, `In God We Trust’, `United States of America’, and `E Pluribus Unum’.
    (c) Selection- The design for the coins minted under this Act shall be–
      (1) selected by the Secretary after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts; and
      (2) reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee established under section 5135 of title 31, United States Code.


    (a) Quality of Coins- Coins minted under this Act shall be issued in uncirculated and proof qualities.
    (b) Commencement of Issuance- The Secretary may issue coins minted under this Act beginning January 1, 2014, except that the Secretary may initiate sales of such coins, without issuance, before such date.
    (c) Termination of Minting Authority- No coins shall be minted under this Act after December 31, 2014.


    (a) Sale Price- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the coins issued under this Act shall be sold by the Secretary at a price equal to the sum of the face value of the coins, the surcharge required under section 7(a) for the coins, and the cost of designing and issuing such coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, and marketing).
    (b) Bulk Sales- The Secretary shall make bulk sales of the coins issued under this Act at a reasonable discount.
    (c) Prepaid Orders at a Discount-
      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall accept prepaid orders for the coins minted under this Act before the issuance of such coins.
      (2) DISCOUNT- Sale prices with respect to prepaid orders under paragraph (1) shall be at a reasonable discount.


    (a) Surcharge Required- All sales shall include a surcharge of $10 per coin.
    (b) Distribution- Subject to section 5134(f) of title 31, United States Code, all surcharges which are received by the Secretary from the sale of coins issued under this Act shall be promptly paid by the Secretary to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to carry out the purposes of the Fund, including providing scholarships and internships for minority students and operating funds and technology enhancement services for 39 member historically black colleges and universities.
    (c) Audits- The United Negro College Fund shall be subject to the audit requirements of section 5134(f)(2) of title 31, United States Code, with regard to the amounts received by the Fund under subsection (b).
    (d) Limitation- Notwithstanding subsection (a), no surcharge may be included with respect to the issuance under this Act of any coin during a calendar year if, as of the time of such issuance, the issuance of such coin would result in the number of commemorative coin programs issued during such year to exceed the annual 2 commemorative coin program issuance limitation under section 5112(m)(1) of title 31, United States Code (as in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act). The Secretary of the Treasury may issue guidance to carry out this subsection.

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Mike Budzynski

Is it my imagination or is half of all the commemorative coins signed in to law lately are civil rights related? We can’t get a coin for the 100th anniversary of Scouting but we get yet another coin that will not sell.

The Little Rock coin was an uninspiring design that pales compared to the other designs.


Firstly their have never been one African American on a coin , you all should be ashamed , a coin honoring Marcus Garvey, Banneker, or Medger Evers has been long overdue the US mint better get it together or we might have to find a place that appreciates us.


I’m glad that you finally decided to minting a coin in honour
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Other countries have done so and I’d
like to see a coin honouring this man that has a hologram on it such
as the hologaphic coins minted in Canada which are very beautiful.


Hey Mike – check your coins – Booker T. Washington was on a commemerative Half Dollar from 1946 until 1951. The money raised for this organization was given to them and like other commemerative coins, just kind of dissapeared. Then there was a Jackie Robinson commemerative 1 dollar coin and $5 gold piece. Next there was Crispus Attucks on the Black Revolutionary War Patriots one dollar coin. The last thing I want to see is the US Mint producing hologram coins of colorized coins like Canada or Liberia. Canada produces so much junk that it is hard to take them… Read more »


Hey Budzy check your history !! I wrote “Firstly their have never been one African American on a coin ” and I am right Booker T wasnt on a curculated coin were are they, why arent they as common as a dime ? Also boy a commemerative Half Dollar is not anything to get excited about they make those about anything they are as worthless as the confederacy which I’m sure you still belive exist, and finally Booker T wasn’t Black he was mixed so now that I have taught you history yopu can now go back to and get… Read more »


There is an old saying in the numismatic world, buy the book before the coin. In your case Mike I suggest buying at least one book. My suggestion to start off your numismatic library is the Webster Dictionary. I find it humorous when I am berated by someone that is challenged by the English language. Can you borrow this book at the prison library? Based on your vast numismatic prowess, I suggest you remember back to the late 60’s when silver coins were switched to clad metals. When many of the Booker T Washington half dollars that were circulating, people… Read more »


Firstly and lastly budzy your shrewd form of nuisance and ignorance is at best disturbing, little white trash boy learn to enunciate in a manner that is both respectable and sensible when speaking to one of your superiors such as myself. Secondly as I stated before and I suggest sobering up so that you can fully understand “THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN ANYCOINS IN CIRCULATION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ” let me slow it down even more so that those with IQs below 60 such as yours understand in circulation, there process of being circulated you albino redneck inbreed cave ape, such… Read more »


Also budzy read the icemans inheritance by Michael Bradley. The book in question shows why your my inferior by honestly stating the problem with your kind, it tells how your kind was born at the bottom of the human evolution map, and how your destined to stay there forever and yes I know you were thinking it by your kind I mean whores for mothers and homosexual fathers, I know how you wan’t to be liked be the matter is your an unlikable person, and frankly I have lost interest in talking to cowardly racist pedo redneck like you, hopefully… Read more »


Touché my narrow minded friend. Tertullian wrote that “The first reaction to truth is hatred” so I must have come close to the truth? Your incoherent racist rant certainly proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to the world who was the better person. George Bernard Shaw stated that “Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.” Certainly my statements could not have intimidated your soaring intellect? Based on your cleverly crafted statements I should be the one that is intimidated, surely the ability to assemble such a lofty vocabulary has left the audience speechless. Help me understand these brilliant… Read more »


To everyone that visits this site I am sorry for budzy. budzy is an obvious racist hick, that has never achived pass jr. high school. As for me I tire in communicating with those not even close to my skill level. I am tired of proving I am right only to have a troglodyte sub-human like budzy try to rant his anger from a lack of parenting at well mannered adults such as myself, so which he can feel better about his short comings. I would be most grateful if someone with a sufficient score of knowledge instead of off… Read more »


I see the linguistic genius has graced our presence again with another incomprehensible rant about parental rearing, levels of education, and presuppositions about race – yawn. Your diatribe fell far short when you could have also thrown in some quips about genetic anomalies, interspecies relationships, and genealogical inconsistencies. Friedrich von Schiller said that “With stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” Therein lies the problem, despite my suggestions and affable nudging, you fail to heed my brilliant advise. One would believe that given six days to compose your latest rambling it would be grammatically correct or at minimum spelled properly.… Read more »