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Paul Laurence Dunbar Commemorative Coin Act Proposed

Paul Laurence Dunbar. (Image taken from The Booklovers Magazine, July 1903)

Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced Bill H.R. 4332 on Sept. 13 to the House of Representatives, which proposes that the Secretary of the Treasury mint commemorative coins in recognition of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

In the finding of the Bill, it cites that, “Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first influential African-American poets in American literature, writing such classics as “Majors and Minors” and “Lyrics of Lowly Life,” and composing the lyrics to “In Dahomey,” the first all-African-American musical produced on Broadway.”  The bill goes on to state that Dunbar became a prominent author, having some of his poems published in the New York Times and after his death, the Dunbar Alumni Federation was organized and provides scholarships and financial support to students and graduates of the Dunbar High School.

The bill calls for no more than 50,000 $5 gold coins, no more than 400,000 $1 silver coins and no more than 750,000 half-dollar clad coins to be struck. Coins minted under this act would be issued in uncirculated and proof qualities. A period of issuance is indicated as a 1-year period beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. A similar bill, H.R. 6214, was introduced on June 25, 2018, however, no further action was taken.

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