US Mint rolls out quarters featuring a black author, activist Maya Angelou; 1st coin to feature a black woman

US Mint rolls out quarters featuring a black author, activist Maya Angelou; 1st coin to feature a black woman

George Washington has been depicted on one side of the quarter for most of the last 90 years, while an eagle appears on the other.

The US Mint unveiled a new version of the quarter featuring poet and activist Maya Angelou on Monday. This marks the first time a Black woman has appeared on a US quarter.

Angelou, the author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" will also be the first person to be commemorated through the new American Women Quarters Program, passed in January 2021.

The initiative calls for the US Mint to issue quarters illustrating five different female American trailblazers each year between 2022 and 2025.

US Mint has begun shipping the first quarter, a 25-cent piece, with Angelou's likeness, according to a press release.

"It is my honor to present our nation's first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history," said Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson.

"Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she was "proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America's most remarkable women."

"Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country -- what we value, and how we've progressed as a society," she said in a statement.

George Washington has been depicted on one side of the quarter for most of the last 90 years, while an eagle appears on the other.

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On one side of the new quarters -- which were minted in Philadelphia and Denver -- Washington is featured and on the other side, Angelou.

An essayist and poet born in Missouri in 1928, Angelou worked with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. Angelou passed away in 2014.

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; Nina Otero-Warren, a suffrage leader; and Anna May Wong, a Chinese-American film star are also set to appear on the coin in 2022.

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