Burwell and Burwell Pictures/United States Mint picture
A brand new quarter that includes legendary poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou and different trailblazing American girls has formally began delivery to banks on Monday, the U.S. Mint introduced. Angelou is the primary Black girl to seem on the quarter.
The Maya Angelou design is the primary quarter within the “American Girls Quarters Program,” a four-year program that may embody cash that includes outstanding girls in U.S. historical past.
The opposite honorees embody astronaut Sally Experience; actress Anna Could Wong; suffragist and politician Nina Otero-Warren; and Wilma Mankiller, the primary feminine principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The cash that includes the opposite honorees can be shipped out this yr by 2025, in keeping with the Mint.
Angelou, who died in 2014 on the age of 86, held many distinctions. She acquired a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama and gained the Literarian Award (an honorary Nationwide E book Award). In 1992, she grew to become the primary Black girl (and second-ever poet) to jot down and current a poem at a presidential inauguration, in 1992. She additionally held greater than 30 honorary levels and printed greater than 30 bestselling works.
“Every 2022 quarter is designed to mirror the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated all through this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this primary coin within the collection, used phrases to encourage and uplift,” Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson mentioned in a assertion.
The Angelou quarter exhibits the author and poet on the “tails” facet of the coin, along with her arms uplifted. Behind her are a hen and the rising solar. The Mint says these photographs are “impressed by her poetry and symbolic of the way in which she lived.”
The “heads” facet incorporates a portrait of George Washington by a feminine sculptor that was first advisable to the Mint again in 1932. On the time, it chosen a design by John Flanagan to painting Washington.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen celebrated the brand new cash, praising how far America has “progressed as a society.”
“I am very proud that these cash have a good time the contributions of a few of America’s most exceptional girls, together with Maya Angelou,” Yellen mentioned in a separate assertion.
A number of lawmakers, reminiscent of California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, applauded the discharge of the brand new coin on Monday.
“The outstanding girls who formed American historical past have gone unrecognized for too lengthy — particularly girls of colour,” Lee mentioned in a tweet. “Proud to have led this invoice to honor their legacies.”
Lee was influential in introducing the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020; the act handed in Jan. 2021 and primarily paved the way in which for the design of the brand new commemoration cash.