The Frederick Douglass 5-oz silver America the Beautiful coin is the US Mint’s second release of 2017 in its wildly popular America the Beautiful (ATB) series. Each coin contains 5 ounces of .999 fine silver, and celebrates a historic person, place or event. This particular 5-oz ATB coin was SOLD OUT from the US Mint as of May 2017.
The obverse of this beautiful coins depicts the classic portrait of George Washington, designed by John Flanagan, which has appeared on our quarters with very slight modifications since 1932. The reverse depicts Frederick Douglass, the famous American abolitionist, seated at a writing desk in the foreground, with his Washington, D.C. home in the background.
Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) was born in 1818 and lived as a slave until he escaped from slavery by boarding a train in Maryland at age 20. He went on to become a leading voice for the abolitionist movement, and wrote several autobiographies, including his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in which he describes his experiences as a slave. So well known and highly regarded was Douglass, that without his approval, he became the first African American nominated for the office of Vice President of the United States as the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the Equal Rights Party ticket in 1872, against incumbent Republican Ulysses S. Grant and Democrat Horace Greeley. Interestingly, while Douglass might have seemed like the perfect Vice Presidential pick for Woodhull since she herself was the first woman to ever run for president, Douglass never appeared at the party’s nominating convention, he never agreed to run with Woodhull, he never participated in the campaign and he even gave stump speeches for Grant. Douglass lived his life passionately fighting to end slavery and to gain equal rights for African American citizens, until his death in 1895 at the age of 77.