Maya Angelou will feature on upcoming US coins
The legendary poet will be the first black woman to have their likeness on US currency.
The likeness of the legendary poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou will soon be in your neighborhood, thanks to a new United States Mint program honoring pioneering American women.
Angelou’s appearance in the quarterfinals in 2022 is part of the American Women’s Neighborhoods Program, a four-year initiative that “celebrates the achievements and contributions of women to the development and history of our country. “
From 2022 to 2025, the United States Mint will issue up to five new reverse designs each year. The obverse of each coin will retain a resemblance to the President george washington. The women to be added to the coins will be notable in several fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space and the arts, and will come from “ethnic, racial backgrounds and various geographical locations”.
Public law requires that no living persons appear on the drawings of the coins.
Angelou is one of five women to feature in the 2022 quarters. She is joined by Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation; Leader of the New Mexico suffrage movement Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong, Hollywood’s first Chinese-American movie star.
“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said the US Mint’s Acting Director. Alison L. Doone in one Press statement Wednesday. “Generations to come will look at the pieces bearing these designs and remember what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunity for all.”
The Secretary of the Treasury will select the recipients each year after consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. The six-step design selection process will begin with the initiation of a design process and end with the Royal Mint submitting final designs from applicants to the Secretary for final design selection.
Angelou isn’t the only black woman set to appear on our money: For years, there’s been talk of becoming a legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman to replace the president Andre Jackson, which owned slaves and relocated Native Americans, on the $20 bill. But in 2021, we are still waiting for the wishes from a letter from a 9-year-old girl to the president barack obama of 2014 to materialize.
“If we can put a helicopter on Mars, we should be able to design a $20 bill in less than 20 years,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) in an interview in June. “It’s all about commitment.”
While Angelou’s appearance on the coin will mark the first time a black woman has appeared on U.S. currency, it’s not the first time a black person’s face has graced a U.S. coin.
In the 1950s, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were featured on the half dollar coin.
Have you subscribed to theGrio podcast “Dear culture”? Download our new episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio today!