US Coin Featuring A Black Woman: Maya Angelou

Arjun Agarwal
3 min readJan 12, 2022


In the news today, the Poet and activist Maya Angelou, who passed in the year 2014 at the age of 86, has become the 1st Black female to be featured on a United States quarter coin.

About Maya Angelou

Angelou was born in Missouri in the year 1928 and became an essayist and poet who performed with Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1969, she publicised her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and later read her poetry On the Pulse of Morning at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. She was also marked with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 2010 by the United States President Barack Obama.

The 25-cent coin, which depicts Angelou with outstretched arms, proceeded into circulation on Monday i.e. 10th of January, 2022. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, images encouraged by her poetry.

“It is my honour to present our nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson. He counted, “Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift.”

The quarter has for the previous 90 years established George Washington, the first US president, on 1 side and an eagle on the other. Now, the new quarters show Washington on 1 side and Angelou on the other. The coins have been stamped in Philadelphia and Denver.

Other Honoured Persons

The other ladies to get the honour in 2022 are Sally Ride, the 1st American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the foremost female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; Anna May Wong, a Chinese American film star; and Nina Otero-Warren, a New Mexico suffrage leader.

Appreciations- The United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who is the Senate sponsor of legislation heading the mint to administer the quarters honouring women, celebrated the Mint’s choice of Angelou for the 1st coin. She stated that this coin will now confirm that ages of Americans memorise Maya Angelou’s books and poems that talked to the “lived experience” of Black women.

Representative Barbara Lee, the California Democrat who supported a bill broadcasting the new coins’ design, said in a statement previous year that she was scornful to have conducted an effort honouring the “phenomenal” women who were frequently ignored in American history.

She added: “If you find yourself holding a Maya Angelou quarter, may you be reminded of her words, ‘be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.’”



Arjun Agarwal

Foodie, Wanderer, Techie, Movie Enthusiast, Artist. Jack of all, Master of One….