Maya Angelou, the award-winning poet and social activist, will be honored with four other women from various ethnic backgrounds on new quarters set to be released in 2022. The U.S. Mint announced the coin designs in a news release on Wednesday. All five women are recognized as trailblazers in American history.
According to ABC News, Congress approved the U.S. Mint’s American Women Quarters Program earlier this year. The program will choose five diverse women to honor on the back of collectors’ coins every year between 2022 and 2025. The honorees will come from various fields, including civil rights, space, government, suffrage, science, humanities and the arts.
Along with Maya Angelou, the coins will be made with images of the first Chinese-American film star in Hollywood, Anna May Wong; the first American woman astronaut, Sally Ride; suffragist and politician, Nina Otero-Warren; and the first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller.
NPR shared more about Maya Angelou’s coin:
Maya Angelou was an inspiring writer/performer/social activist. The reverse design of #HerQuarter depicts Angelou with her arms uplifted. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived. https://t.co/Enr1I5EbXr pic.twitter.com/XFZHlmAVGh
— United States Mint (@usmint) October 6, 2021
“The late writer, performer and social activist already holds many distinctions. Among them: She received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, won the Literarian Award (an honorary National Book Award), became the first Black woman (and second-ever poet) to write and present a poem at a presidential inauguration in 1992, held more than 30 honorary degrees and published more than 30 bestselling works.
Angelou’s quarter will depict her with her arms uplifted, in front of a bird in flight and a rising sun. The Mint says those images are “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived.”
“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said U.S. Mint acting Director Alison L. Doone in a statement. “Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”