Thursday, June 30, 2022

Maya Angelou to Become First Woman to Appear on US Quarter

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

*Pretty soon instead of saying show me the money you say show me the Maya! Earlier we reported that Dr. Maya Angelou, the African American poet and activist, along with Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, would be featured on quarters, according to the US Mint.

Now the time has come and that means Angelou will  have the double distinction of being the first woman and the first Black woman on the quarter

“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 statement.

The commemorative coin is the first of the American Women Quarters program, which features quarters honoring pioneering women in US history, the US Mint reported in another statement.

To be sure, George Washington’s bust will still appear on the “heads” side of the coin while the other will  pay tribute to the African American trailblazer’s iconic autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

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Maya Angelou commemorative quarter / US Mint
Maya Angelou commemorative quarter / US Mint

“I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou,” said Yellen, the first female Treasury secretary said of the initiative.

“Maya Angelou’s writing and activism inspired countless Americans and her legacy helped fuel greater fairness and understanding across our nation,” added Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senate sponsor of the program. “This coin will ensure generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry that spoke to the lived experience of black women.”

In related news, four other commemorative quarters will be issued this year. According to the US Mint’s statement, they will feature Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the first female leader of the Cherokee Nation; Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American Hollywood star; and suffragette Nina Otero-Warren.  The program will reportedly run until 2025.

Last January, the Biden administration announced it would accelerate efforts to replace former president Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The initiative had initially been announced in 2016 under then-President Barack Obama but was subsequently stalled by former President Donald Trump, who is a fan of Jackson.

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