U.S. Mint Begins Shipping Quarters Honoring Maya Angelou
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Mint said Monday it began shipping quarters featuring poet Maya Angelou, the first coins in its American Women’s Quarters program.
Angelou, an American author, poet and civil rights activist, rose to prominence with the publication of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969. Angelou, who died in 2014 at the age of 86, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
The drawing of the quarter represents Angelou with outstretched arms. Behind her, a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry.
The Mint program will issue 20 quarters over the next four years to honor women and their accomplishments in shaping the nation’s history.
Additional honorees in 2022 will be physicist and first female astronaut Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief. Also honored this year will be Nina Otero-Warren, leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement and first female superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, Senate sponsor of the legislation directing the Mint to issue quarters honoring women, applauded the Mint’s selection of Angelou for the first coin.
“This piece will allow generations of Americans to experience the books and poetry of Maya Angelou that speak to the lived experience of black women,” she said in a statement.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the nation’s first female Treasury Secretary, said: “Every time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country. … I am very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.
The Biden administration announced shortly after taking office a year ago that it planned to replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman, an Underground Railroad leader. However, since that announcement, the administration has not provided any further details about its plans.