Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The poet and activist are shown with outstretched arms on the coin that began to circulate in the Treasury Department.

Poet and activist Maya Angelou, who died in 2014, became the first black woman to appear on a US quarter coin.

The 25-cent coin, which Angelou shows with outstretched arms, went into circulation on Monday.

It is the first of a series of commemorative coins released by a program designed to honor prominent women in American history that was signed into law last year.

The United States Mint “started sending the first coins” with Angelou’s parable on the quarter, according to a press release from the agency.

“It is my honor to present our country’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Ventris Gibson, Deputy Director of Mint.

“Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of achievements celebrated by this historic currency program. Maya Angelou, who appeared on the back of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift. ”

Angelou was born in Missouri in 1928 and became an essayist and poet who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1969, she published her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and later read her poem On the Pulse of Morning at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama.

Angelou’s depiction on the coin comes amid a decade-long effort to showcase more diverse Americans on U.S. currency, which has long dominated predominantly white men, including several slave owners.

Under its current program, the U.S. currency will issue 20 quarters over the next four years to honor women and their achievements in shaping the country’s history.

Additional winners this year will be physicist and first female astronaut Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, will also be honored this year.

The Biden administration announced shortly after taking office that it plan to renew An Obama administration plan to replace slave-owning seventh president of the U.S. Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $ 20 note with abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a leader in the Underground Railroad who helped transport escaped slaves north.

Since that announcement, the Biden administration has not provided any further details about its plans.

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