Maya Angelou Becomes The First Black Woman To Appear On A Quarter

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A new quarter featuring legendary poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou officially hit our banks on Monday.

According to the U.S. Mint Twitter account, Maya Angelou is the first Black woman to ever appear on the quarter.

The quarter is part of the “American Women Quarters Program” which is a four-year program that will include coins featuring prominent women in U.S. history.

According to NPR

The other honorees include astronaut Sally Ride; actress Anna May Wong; suffragist and politician Nina Otero-Warren; and Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

The coins featuring the other honorees will be shipped out this year through 2025, according to the Mint.

Angelou, who died in 2014 at the age of 86, held many distinctions.

She received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama and won the Literarian Award (an honorary National Book Award).

In 1992, she became the first Black woman (and second-ever poet) to write and present a poem at a presidential inauguration, in 1992. She also held more than 30 honorary degrees and published more than 30 bestselling works.

“Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program.

Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift,” Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson said in a statement.

The Angelou quarter shows the writer and poet on the “tails” side of the coin, with her arms uplifted.

Behind her are a bird and the rising sun. The Mint says those images are “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived.”

The “heads” side features a portrait of George Washington by a female sculptor that was first recommended to the Mint back in 1932. At the time, it selected a design by John Flanagan to portray Washington.

“The phenomenal women who shaped American history have gone unrecognized for too long — especially women of color,” Lee said in a tweet. “Proud to have led this bill to honor their legacies.”

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We have to get our hands on one!

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