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Congratulations are in order for the late great Maya Angelou. On Jan 10., The US Mint announced that the legendary civil rights activist would become the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter.

The new coin is a part of the American Women Quarters Program, an initiative that was launched to commemorate a number of prominent American female figures throughout history. According to the organization’s press release, more quarters in the series will be revealed throughout 2022 and 2025.

The new quarter will feature George Washington’s face on the “heads” side of the coin and a tribute to Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” on the “tails” side. The world-renowned poet rose to prominence after releasing the famous piece in 1969, but Angelou has published a wide range of bestselling books including “Phenomenal Woman,” “And Still I Rise,” in addition to “The Heart of a Woman.”

Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson said that “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.”

Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and awards. In 1992, the famous poet made history at the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton after she read, “On the Pulse of Morning,” becoming the first African American woman to write and present a poem for the historic event. Former President Barack Obama honored Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 and she also was given the 2013 Literarian Award for her contributions across writing and poetry. Back in 2015, the U.S. Postal Service honored the dancer and memoirist with a special postal stamp to honor her legacy.

The American Women Quarters Program will begin to roll out more coins honoring legendary figures later this year. The series will pay tribute to Sally Ride, the first American woman to step foot in space, in addition to “Asian American actress Anna May Wong; Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller and suffragette and politician Nina Otero-Warren,” CNN reported.



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