Poet, activist Maya Angelou becomes 1st Black woman to appear on US quarter

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Mint on Monday began rolling out quarters featuring American author and activist Maya Angelou, the first Black woman to appear on U.S. currency.

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In 2021, the treasury bureau announced it would launch its American Women Quarters Program, featuring Angelou; Chinese American film star Anna May Wong; the first U.S. woman in space, Sally Ride; and Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, The Hill reported.

Angelou, who died in 2014 at the age of 86, rose to international prominence after the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” according to Reuters.

“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,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a prepared statement.

“I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou,” she added.

According to the Mint, anyone who would like to have a quarter depicting Angelou or any of the other women honored through the program should consult with their bank beginning in late January and early February, The Hill reported.