Historically inaccurate information about notable African-Americans Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Banneker was included in the proposal that D.C. officials submitted for the new quarter design, officials told The Examiner on Wednesday.
"The image of the District of Columbia will not benefit from misinformation being placed on the coins and supporting explanations," Wilson High School history teacher Erich Martel wrote. "The points I am raising are not matters of opinion or interpretation; as facts, they can be checked."
For instance, the proposal states that Douglass moved to the nation’s capital to help abolish slavery. In fact, Douglass settled in D.C. in 1872, a full seven years after slavery was outlawed. Another mistake the teachers discovered was the listing of celebrated scientist Banneker as a presidential appointee. Actually, Banneker was hired by presidential appointee Andrew Ellicott.
"Again, there’s a difference," Martel said in the letter.
Other errors the teachers found in the proposal included listing Banneker as the son of former slaves, though his mother was a free black woman, and stating that Douglass settled in Rochester, N.Y., immediately after earning his freedom.
"The teachers are well informed," she said.
Heymann indicated that the mistakes were merely part of the process, in which citizens can regularly weigh in.
"From our perspective, this is a public process, so if someone wants to submit a suggestion, we take it into account," he said.
According to Heymann, a corrected proposal was turned over to the U.S. Mint earlier this week.