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Maya Angelou the First Black Woman on US Quarter Coin

The US Treasury has minted coins featuring poet Maya Angelou – the first black woman ever featured on the US 25-cent coin known as a quarter.
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By Suzzanne Cousins

“’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

These are the famed words of Maya Angelou, American author, poet, and Civil Rights activist. She is one of five women receiving honor from The United States Mint under its American Women Quarters Program (AWQ).

The US Mint said Monday it has begun shipping quarters featuring the image of Angelou. Hers is the first coin launched under the program.

The quarter design depicts Angelou with outstretched arms. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry.

Today, there are thousands of inspirational quotes by Maya Angelou, making her one of the most quoted African-American poets of all time. But her rise to fame dates back to 1969 when she published her flagship book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. Furthermore, Angelou was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama, four years before her passing at age 86.

The mint’s program seeks to issue 20 quarters over the next four years honoring women and their achievements in shaping the nation’s history.

Additional honorees in 2022 will be a physicist and first woman astronaut Sally Ride and Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Also, other women receiving recognition include Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong. Otero-Warren was a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools. Wong is famous for being the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.

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