Maya Angelou Becomes the First Black Woman Featured on a U.S. Quarter

The US Mint announced that it has “begun ship­ping the first coins in the Amer­i­can Women Quar­ters (AWQ) Pro­gram.” And it all starts with the out­stretched arms of poet Maya Angelou grac­ing the reverse of the quar­ter. The Mint writes:

A writer, poet, per­former, social activist, and teacher, Angelou rose to inter­na­tion­al promi­nence as an author after the pub­li­ca­tion of her ground­break­ing auto­bi­og­ra­phy, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Angelou’s pub­lished works of verse, non-fic­tion, and fic­tion include more than 30 best­selling titles. Her remark­able career encom­pass­es dance, the­ater, jour­nal­ism, and social activism. The recip­i­ent of more than 30 hon­orary degrees, Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morn­ing” at the 1992 inau­gu­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton.  Angelou’s read­ing marked the first time an African Amer­i­can woman wrote and pre­sent­ed a poem at a Pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion. In 2010, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma award­ed Angelou the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom, and she was the 2013 recip­i­ent of the Lit­er­ar­i­an Award, an hon­orary Nation­al Book Award for con­tri­bu­tions to the lit­er­ary com­mu­ni­ty.

Accord­ing to NPR, oth­er hon­orees in the series will include “astro­naut Sal­ly Ride; actress Anna May Wong; suf­frag­ist and politi­cian Nina Otero-War­ren; and Wilma Mankiller, the first female prin­ci­pal chief of the Chero­kee Nation. The coins fea­tur­ing the oth­er hon­orees will be shipped out this year through 2025.”

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Ursu­la K. Le Guin Stamp Get­ting Released by the US Postal Ser­vice

Flan­nery O’Connor to Grace New U.S. Postage Stamp

New Stamp Col­lec­tion Cel­e­brates Six Nov­els by Jane Austen

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