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Maya Angelou Becomes First Black Woman On U.S. Quarter

Maya Angelou Becomes First Black Woman On U.S. Quarter

It’s phenomenal and historic news.

The United States Mint’s First American Women Quarters (AWQ) are finally being shipped, and they’re starting with the legendary poet Maya Angelou, making her the first Black woman to appear on the U.S. quarter.


A writer, poet, performer, social activist, and teacher, Angelou rose to international fame after the publication of her critically acclaimed autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Angelou’s published works of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction have resulted in 30 bestselling titles. Her remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism, and social activism. The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees, Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” at the 1992 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.  Angelou’s reading marked the first time an African American woman wrote and presented a poem at a Presidential inauguration. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she was the 2013 recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for her lifelong body of influential work.


Angelou’s quarter is one of four coins featuring American women of historical significance slated for shipping through 2025. Additional honorees include Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Anna May Wong, the groundbreaking Asian film star; Wilma Mankiller, activist, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; and Nina Otero-Warren, author, educator, and advocate of the Women’s Suffrage movement in the United States.

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

The AWQ will continue featuring additional honorees and will begin shipping later this year through 2025.AW

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