The late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou made history this week.

Maya Angelou during a visit to Mass. (staff photo by Stuart Cahill)

Source: MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

On Jan 10. The US Mint announced that the legendary memoirist would become the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter. The new coin is a part of the American Women Quarters Program that will include the images of prominent American female figures throughout history. According to the organization’s press release, more quarters in the series will be revealed throughout 2022 and 2025.

The new coin will feature George Washington’s face on one side and a tribute to Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” on the other.

The revered author rose to prominence after releasing the famous piece in 1969, but Angelou has published a wide range of bestselling books and is the recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees and awards. In 1992, the famous poet made history at the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton after she read, “On the Pulse of Morning,” becoming the first African American woman to write and present a poem for the historic event. Former President Barack Obama honored Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 and she also was given the 2013 Literarian Award for her contributions across writing and poetry.
“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,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson.
Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen also gushed about the big news in a statement.
“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,” she said. “I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”
CNN reported that later in the series, the American Women Quarters Program will honor astronaut, Sally Ride, the first American woman to step foot in space, in addition to “Asian American actress Anna May Wong; Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller and suffragette and politician Nina Otero-Warren.”
Congrats to the late Maya Angelou!
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