The U.S. Mint announced yesterday that Duke Ellington would be featured on the quarter commemorating the District of Columbia. Ellington is the first African-American to appear on a U.S. coin, as well as the first musician. Ellington was chosen to appear on the quarter over Frederick Douglass and astronomer Benjamin Banneker.
Ellington was a notable jazz compser in the 1940s and '50s, who worked with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and John Coltrane. Ellington died in 1974 at the age of 75. [CNN]