She is memorialized for all eternity!
Dr. Maya Angelou is set to become one of the first women featured on the United States quarter, The Grio reports. The iconic poet, performer, civil rights activist, and one of the most influential literary voices is now part of the U.S. Mint’s program honoring history-making women.
Over the course of her lifetime, she accomplished a laundry list of history-making endeavors. In 1969, Angelou became the first Black woman author to have a nonfiction bestseller with her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She continued to published more than 30 literary works and garnered over 30 honorary degrees. Since her passing in 2014, she has received several posthumous achievements, including a Google Doodle in honor of her 90th birthday, a Broadway play based on her life, and a Barbie doll courtesy of Mattel-crafted in her likeness.
The U.S. Mint’s American Women’s Quarters Program was first introduced by senators Deb Fischer and Catherine Cortez Masto, eventually being passed in 2020.
“These past 100 years of suffrage would not have been possible without the work of so many courageous women, whose efforts paved the way for many more to make crucial contributions to the history of the United States,” Fischer and Cortez Masto told the press earlier this year.
Angelou will be one of the first women imprinted on the quarter along with Dr. Sally Ride, an astronaut who became the first woman to go to space in 1983. In total, 20 different women will be featured on the tails side of the coin. George Washington’s face remains on the heads-side with a tailored design.
The Maya Angelou quarter will come in seven different designs, all highlighting a particular contribution. One of the designs portrays Angelou with outstretched arms against a bird-shaped background, with another showing her holding a cage in one hand and a blackbird in the other.
The U.S. Mint is currently accepting public recommendations about other women who should be featured on the quarters. All of the nominees must be deceased and have contributed significantly to American society in suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
The Smithsonian, the National Women’s History Museum, the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus, and U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen will be responsible for making the final decision regarding honorees.
To submit your American Women’s Quarters Program nomination, click here.
The new Maya Angelou quarter will be issued in January 2022.
Photo Courtesy of Penn State/U.S. Mint