Aug 16, 2023 - News

Empowering change: South Texas heroine honored by U.S. Mint

A medallic image of Jovita Idar on a coin, on a light blue background.

The Jovita Idar quarter. Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Mint

Keep an eye out for a quarter honoring Jovita Idar, a South Texas journalist, teacher and activist who made advocating for the rights of women and Mexican Americans her life's work.

Driving the news: The U.S. Mint released the commemorative coin on Monday as part of the American Women Quarters Program.

  • The four-year program celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women in U.S. history, including Maya Angelou, Bessie Coleman, Celia Cruz and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Flashback: Idar was born in 1885 in Laredo, where her father, Nicasio Idar, ran La Crónica (The Chronicle).

  • She wrote articles for the newspaper highlighting discrimination and civil rights issues Mexican Americans faced.
  • She formed El Primer Congreso Mexicanista (First Mexican Congress) and La Liga Femenil Mexicanista (The League of Mexican Women) to advocate for education, suffrage and economic equality.
  • After marrying Bartolo Juárez in 1917, she moved to San Antonio, where she spent the rest of her life. She created a free kindergarten and was an interpreter at a hospital here before her death in 1946.

Details: A portrait of George Washington is on the obverse (heads) of the coin. The reverse has a portrait of Idar by U. S. Mint medallic artist John P. McGraw.

  • Inscriptions including "MEXICAN AMERICAN RIGHTS," "TEACHER" and "EVOLUCIÓN" make up her bodice.
  • Rolls and bags of the quarters can be purchased online for $40, $45 or $60.

What they're saying: U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who is from San Antonio, said on X (formerly Twitter) that Idar "is an often-overlooked South Texas hero."

What's next: The Mexican American Civil Rights Institute partnered with the U.S. Mint and the Smithsonian Institution to celebrate the release of the coin with free local events from Sept. 15-17.


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