Home Book Award New Quarter Honors Maya Angelou, As US Mint Launches Series Honoring American Women

New Quarter Honors Maya Angelou, As US Mint Launches Series Honoring American Women


STATEN ISLAND, NY – When you grab a cup of coffee from the grocery store this week, take a closer look at your change. The United States Mint began shipping the first coins of its American Women Quarters program on January 10, and you may find something very inspiring in your pocket.

“It is an honor for me to present our country’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Deputy Director of the Mint, Ventris C. Gibson, in a press statement. “Each quarter of 2022 is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of achievement celebrated throughout this historic coin program.”

The first tour of the circulating districts is historic. In honor of famous writer and poet Maya Angelou, the first black woman to have her likeness depicted on the quarter, reverse or side of the coin features a rendering of Angelou with her arms raised. Behind her, a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of her way of life.

“[She] used words to inspire and uplift, ”added Gibson.

Writer, poet, performer, social activist and teacher, Angelou gained international notoriety as an author after the publication of his groundbreaking autobiography, “I know why the caged bird is singing”, which documents his childhood in the segregated South and was among the first autobiographies of a 20th century black woman to reach the general public.

Angelou’s published works of verse, non-fiction and fiction include over 30 bestselling titles. His remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism and social activism.

Recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees, Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” during the inauguration in 1992 of President Bill Clinton. Angelou’s reading marked the first time an African-American woman had written and presented a poem during a presidential inauguration. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2013 she received the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for her contribution to the literary community. Angelou died in 2014 at the age of 86.

The obverse, or “heads” side of the Angelou coin also has historical significance for suffragists, depicting a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser, a prolific early 20th-century sculptor whose the design was neglected for placement in the 1932 quarter.

“His work is recognized in numismatic and art circles,” Gibson said of Fraser. “Ninety years after she intended to, her obverse will take its place in the neighborhood. “

The American Women Quarters program features pieces with designs that are emblematic of the achievements and contributions of pioneering American women. Beginning in 2022 and through 2025, the Mint will issue five quarters in each of those years.

The ethnically, racially and geographically diverse group of people honored by this program reflects a wide range of achievements and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space and Arts.

The other recipients in 2022 are: physicist and first female astronaut, Dr. Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief chief and Native American and women’s rights activist; Nina Otero-Warren, leader of the suffrage movement in New Mexico and first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, who achieved international success despite racism and discrimination.

“Maya Angelou’s writings and activism have inspired countless Americans and her legacy has helped build fairness and understanding in our country,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Who has helped draft legislation to create a series of quarters honoring contributions. American women.

According to The New York Times, these are not the first coins to commemorate women. Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to appear on a circulating U.S. coin. And a dollar coin depicting Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who helped Lewis and Clark cross the plains, was produced from 2000 to 2008.

Plans to feature a woman on paper money have been in the works for several years, the Times also reported. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman is expected to replace Andrew Jackson on the $ 20 bill by 2030, according to the US Treasury Department.