The US Mint announced, a new quarter featuring the late Dr. Maya Angelou went into circulation on Monday (January 10), making the legendary activist and poet the first Black woman ever to appear on the coin.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a separate statement:
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 Maya Angelou quarter is the first in the American Women Quarters Program, which will include coins featuring prominent women in American history.
The new coin still features George Washington on “heads” side, but the “tails” side honors Dr. Maya Angelou by evoking one of her most famous works, the autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat introduced the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which passed in January 2021 and ultimately paved the way for the creation of these new coins.
Rep. Lee took to Twitter with pride as she tweeted:
Excited to announce that today, Maya Angelou becomes the first Black woman to appear on a US quarter!
The phenomenal women who shaped American history have gone unrecognized for too long—especially women of color. Proud to have led this bill to honor their legacies.
See her original tweet below.
This is absolutely amazing and beautiful.
I definitely have to get my hands on some of these quarters.
And for the record, we all know Dr. Angelou’s side of the coin is “heads.”