Valuing Humanity

Valuing Humanity

Not your grandmother's coin necklace...

Coins have been made into jewelry as status symbols of wealth and prosperity for obvious reasons.

This is not that.

I was asked to make a pendant using Frederick Douglass and Maya Angelou commemorative US quarters. The design was pretty much left up to me, though I knew this person had feelings about featuring these two important thinkers in our ongoing struggle for civil rights. This was the drawing I sent for approval:

colored sketch of pendant with micro-mosaics, one side with sun rays and Maya Angelou quarter, opposite side with moon and stars and Frederick Douglass quarter

And this is our result, a meaningful collaboration:



"I have seen dark hours in my life, and I have seen the darkness gradually disappearing and the light gradually increasing. One by one I have seen obstacles removed, errors corrected, prejudices softened, proscriptions relinquished, and my people advancing in all the elements that go to make up the sum of general welfare. And I remember that God reigns in eternity, and that what ever delays, whatever disappointments and discouragements may come, truth, justice, liberty and humanity will ultimately prevail."

from "THE RACE PROBLEM" speech by Frederick Douglass delivered before the Bethel Literary and Historical Association in the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church, Washington, D.C. October 21, 1890

 Frederick Douglass commemorative quarter, in a circular pendant with silver stars on a micro-mosaic background in shades of blue.


Quotes from Maya Angelou:

"Let nothing dim the light that shines from within."

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

A Maya Angelou quarter in a round pendant surrounded by a micro-mosaic that is purple at the bottom, and emerges at the top as rays of light in red, orange and yellow. May is depicted holding her arms outstretched, superimposed over the silhouette of a bird, wings outstretched. The arms and wings point outward and become the rays of light in the micro-mosaic.

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I am so happy this piece resonates with you, Hyla, Sharon, and Beth. I CAN imagine, Sharon, and that speaks volumes for your son, and for you. We are in community and I know each of us is working at building a better future. Thank you so much for your comments.


From your experiences, your thoughts, your heart, your compassion, an inspired piece of art.

Beth Brownfield

Beautiful. I love the words of Frederick Douglas, and pray that we as a people will move alot faster toward his ideal.

In 2001 I took my then 8 year old to visit the Frederick Doulass house outside of Washington DC. It was my sons favorite element of the vacation, can you imagine?!

Sharon Allen

This is stunning for so many reasons. This is thoughtful for so many reasons. This is heartfelt for so many reasons. I cannot imagine a better tribute.


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