Maya Angelou Is First Black Woman on US Coin


Anastasia Carlon, Staff Writer

The legendary poet Maya Angelou has been put on the quarter since Monday, January 10, 2022, by the U.S. Mint. The quarter will be in circulation until 2025. This is the first coin in a series of coins commemorating pioneering American women. “It is my honor to present our nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” Ventris C. Gibson, the deputy director of the Mint, said in a statement.

The quarter was created by Emily Damstra, a designer, and Craig A. Campbell, a medallic artist. It features Angelou with her arms raised with a bird in flight behind her and rays of sunlight beaming from behind her. The images were both “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived,” the Mint said. While the ‘heads’ side of the quarter remains with George Washington, the ‘tails’ side has Angelou.

Thunder Ridge parent Myra Costello gave her feelings., saying, “There haven’t been many women on U.S. currency whatsoever. I’m so glad and excited for this new series of coins specifically about powerful women to be circulated. I don’t know if I’ve read one of Maya’s poems, but from what I hear, she sounds like a very powerful woman.” 

The coin is the first in the American Women Quarters Program, a four-year-long effort where the Mint will issue five quarters a year to honor women. This year’s other honorees are Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, a Native American activist; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.

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