Maya Angelou Becomes First Black Woman on US Quarter

In Summary

The coins should be available at local banks in late January and February as part of the U.S. Mint's American Women Quarters Program.

Maya Angelou is being honored by the United States Mint, making her the first Black woman to appear on the quarter.  

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Angelou’s appearance on the quarter is part of the U.S. Mint’s American Women Quarters Program. The coins will continue with the likeness of George Washington on the head’s side and the opposite side will feature the likeness of Angelou and other women being honored in the program.  

The coins are being manufactured at Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver, according to the U.S. Mint. Angelou’s coins will be distributed first and remaining honorees will have their coins released later this year until 2025.  

“It is my honor to present our Nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson said. “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.”  

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The image of Angelou on the coin was designed by Emily Damstra and sculpted by U.S. Mint medallic artist Craig A. Campell. It shows the esteemed poet with her arms lifted with a bird in flight and the rising sun behind her.  

“As a leader in the civil rights movement, poet laureate, college professor, Broadway actress, dancer, and the first female African American cable car conductor in San Francisco, Maya Angelou’s brilliance and artistry inspired generations of Americans,” said Representative Barbara Lee, who sponsored the bill to get Angelou and other women on the quarter. “I will forever cherish the private moments I had the privilege to share with Maya, from talking in her living room as sisters to her invaluable counsel throughout the challenges I faced as a Black woman in elected office. I am proud to have led this effort to honor these phenomenal women, who more often than not are overlooked in our country’s telling of history.”  

Other women who will be honored in the American Women Quarters Program include Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong. 

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