Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated and recognizable American poets of the last century. Her ingenious poetry has impacted all who have read her work and influenced generations of poets, notably Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman. It is impossible to not be affected by Angelou’s thoughtful and compelling words and imagery. Not only a poet, but Angelou was also a passionate civil rights activist, often seen leading marches and a rousing speaker.
According to CNN, a brand new US quarter featuring Maya Angelou went into circulation on Monday, January 9. This makes her the first Black woman to appear on the quarter. The back of the coin will feature an image of Angelou evoking her acclaimed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
It was announced in October of last year that Angelou will be one of five American women to appear on the US quarter this year. The quarters are essentially part of the “American Women Quarters Program” which works to honor select women from an array of professions; they will appear on the back of the quarter with George Washington to remain on the front.
The US Mint will circulate four more quarters this year celebrating the achievements of women from diverse backgrounds. The other four women are astronaut Sally Ride, Asian American actress Anna May Wong, Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller, and suffragette and politician Nina Otero-Warren.
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