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Maya Angelou becomes first black woman to appear on American Quarter as Treasury begins distribution

The Maya Angelou neighborhood is the first of the American Women Quarters Program, which will feature pieces depicting prominent women in American history. Other quarters of the series will begin rolling out later this year and through 2025, the Mint said in a statement on Monday.
“Every time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country – what we value and how we have progressed as a society,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a separate statement. “I am very proud that these pieces celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”

The new piece still features George Washington’s face on the “heads” side, while the “tails” side honors Angelou by evoking one of his most famous works, the autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. “.

Lawmakers applauded the new coin’s release on Monday and credited Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, with the achievement. Lee introduced the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which passed in January 2021 and ultimately paved the way for the creation of these new coins.

“The phenomenal women who have shaped American history have gone too long unrecognized – especially women of color,” Lee said in an Tweeter. “Proud to have led this bill to honor their legacy.”

The US Mint has invited the public to submit names of women they consider to be American icons. The office welcomed applications from women known for their work in the fields of civil rights, science and the arts, among others, with a focus on women of “diverse ethnic, racial and geographic backgrounds.” The only requirement was that the women who appear on the coins must be deceased.

The agency will publish four more quarters this year, the others honoring Sally Ride, an astronaut who was America’s first woman in space; Asian American actress Anna May Wong; Cherokee Nation Leader Wilma Mankiller and suffragist and politician Nina Otero-Warren.


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