WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The United States Mint said Monday that it has begun shipping quarters bearing the image of poet Maya Angelou, the first coins of its American Women’s Quarter 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. Angelo, who died in 2014 at the age of 86, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
The quarter design depicts Angelo with outstretched arms. Behind him are a bird in flight and the rising sun, images inspired by his poetry.
Mint’s program will continue for 20 quarters over the next four years honoring women and their achievements in shaping the history of the nation.
Additional honors in 2022 will be physicist and first female astronaut Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee nation’s first female head of state. This year will also honor Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, the Senate’s sponsor, directed the mint to issue quarters honoring women, applauding Angelou’s selection for the Mint’s first coin.
“This coin will ensure that generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry, which speak to the life experiences of black women,” she said in a statement.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the country’s first female Treasury Secretary, said, “Every time we redesign our currency, we have a chance to say something about our country…. I am very proud that this The 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 Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a leader in the Underground Railroad. However, since that announcement the administration has not given any further details about its plans.