The United States Mint announced Monday that the first quarter in its American Women Quarters Program, featuring the likeness of poet Maya Angelou, has begun arriving.
With the release of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969, Angelou rose to popularity as an American author, poet, and Civil Rights fighter.
President Barack Obama awarded the author the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
Over the next four years, the mint will issue 20 quarters recognizing women and their contributions to the nation’s history.
Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, and Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female major chief, will both be honored in 2022.
Nina Otero-Warren, the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools and a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage fight, will also be honored this year, as will Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, who sponsored legislation instructing the mint to create women’s quarters, praised the Mint’s choice of Angelou for the inaugural coin.
In a statement, she stated, “This coin will ensure that generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s writings and poetry that spoke to the lived reality of Black women.”
“Each time we redesign our currency, we have the ability to communicate something about our country,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the nation’s first female Treasury secretary, said.
I’m thrilled that these coins honor the achievements of some of America’s most inspiring women, including Maya Angelou.”
The Biden administration announced shortly after entering office a year ago that abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a leader in the Underground Railroad, would replace Andrew Jackson’s likeness on the $20 dollar.
However, the government has released no additional information on its plans since that announcement.
The first coin was tossed.