WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Mint said Monday it has begun shipping quarters featuring poet Maya Angelou, the first coins in its American Women’s Quarters program.
United States Mint Begins Shipping Quarters Honoring St. Louis-Native Writer Maya Angelou | Books
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Editor
Angelou, an American author, poet, and civil rights activist, rose to prominence with the publication of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969. Angelou, died in 2014 at the age of 86, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
The drawing of the quarter represents Angelou with outstretched arms. Behind her, a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry.
Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis. When her parents’ marriage ended, she and her brother lived in Arkansas for a few years, then later moved back to St. Louis. At 8, she was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend, she will write in “Caged Bird”.
The Mint program will issue 20 quarters over the next four years to honor women and their accomplishments in shaping the nation’s history.
Additional honorees in 2022 will be physicist and first female astronaut Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief. Also honored this year will be Nina Otero-Warren, leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement and first female superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood.