Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s face joined the first president of the United States on a select number of quarters minted for distribution in 2022. The renowned author will not only be the first Black person to grace the quarter-dollar coin, but is the only person to do so outside of George Washington.
According to Politico, the U.S. Mint has already started integrating the Angelou quarters into the American public.
In a statement, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, “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. I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”
The U.S. Treasury Department shared that this coin, authorized by Public Law 116-330, is the debut currency in its American Women Quarters Program and is being made in the nation’s Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver.
The department, founded by Alexander Hamilton, will release an additional 15 honorees over the next three years (five per year), culminating in the rollout in 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 stated in a press release.
“Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program,” Gibson continued. “Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift.”
Washington will remain on the heads side of the coin, while Angelou will grace the tails. The new face of the coin has been designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Emily Damstra and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Craig A. Campbell.
Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.