The United States Mint announced on Monday a U.S. Quarter went into circulation featuring the image of the legendary poet and activist the first Black woman ever to appear on the coin.
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, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
“Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country — what we value, and how we’ve progressed as a society,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a separate statement. “I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”
The quarter design depicts Angelou with outstretched arms. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry.
The mint’s program will issue 20 quarters over the next four years honoring women and their achievements in shaping the nation’s history
Additional honorees in 2022 will be first woman astronaut Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Also honored this year will be 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.
The Biden administration announced that it planned to replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a leader in the Underground Railroad. However it has been put on hold and no updates has been released.