Maya Angelou became the second poet in history to recite a poem at an inauguration with her reading of “On the Pulse of Morning” when Bill Clinton was first sworn in as president in 1993. Now, She will make history again as one of 20 Distinguished Women expected to be honored by the United States Mint, appearing on a series of quarters starting next year.
Pioneer astronaut, the first American launched into space on the Challenger shuttle in 1983, will also be honored on the coin. and Ride will be featured on the reverse side, or “tail side”, from January 2022 as part of the American Women Quarters series led by project manager Michelle Thompson.
“It’s a huge deal, the American Women Quarters program gives the opportunity to have women out there on coins in circulation,” Thompson told CBS This Morning Dana Jacobson. “Their legacies, their accomplishments, they will all be captured by the pocket change for generations.”
The US Mint will oversee the design work, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will approve the nominees and the final design.
While the front or “head side” will continue to feature the likeness of George Washington, it will be getting a makeover to distinguish the new pieces, with several options being considered.
The other 18 winners – who have yet to be announced – will come from a wide range of fields, including the abolition, suffrage and civil rights movements, as well as the humanities, sciences and the arts.
“We’re looking for a very large and diverse group of women because that’s what we have in America,” Thompson said. “And it is women who have shaped our position as a nation.”
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