Coin commemorating the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois in 1893. Coin features a depicition of Christopher Columbus.
The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition was an assertive statement about American culture and identity. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World. The fair was created by American business, political and artistic leaders to exhibit American progress and to proclaim America's arrival as an economic and cultural force on the world scene. The Columbian Exposition's centerpiece was the remarkable Ferris Wheel, invented and designed to challenge the 1889 Paris Exposition's Eiffel Tower as the world's most modern wonder. The Fair was an enormous success, having 27 million visitors during its May through October run.
In addition to exhibits relating to agriculture, science and industry, the Fair hosted a variety of cultural displays, including an exhibit of American art and performances from artists such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and John Philip Sousa. The exotic Midway attractions featured performers such as ragtime pianist Scott Joplin and the dancer Little Egypt.
The African American community was essentially excluded except as performers and for the allowance of a single day for coloreds only. Black leaders disagreed on the proper response to this slight, some encouraging participation, while others demanding a change in policy, continuing America's ongoing national discussion about racial representation and exclusion.