A woman who was known for her writing skills and her strong Christian faith will be the first Black woman on an American coin.
Maya Angelou, known for works such as I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, and All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes, will be the first Black woman on an American coin.
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"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 United States Mint says in a press release.
Angelou's faith interweaved with her work as both an author and in social activism. She grew up with her deeply-religious grandmother, and as an adult explored other religions. After her spiritual exploration, Angelou returned to Christianity with an extremely strong trust in God. She spent much of her life working to be a Christian, believing it to be a life-long journey, not something to accomplish.
The Maya Angelou Quarter is part of the First American Women Quarters program. Angelou's depiction on the quarter showers hands outstretched, back to back with an outstretched bird and a rising sun behind them.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), a Black woman herself, co-sponsored the bill to create the coin with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
"I am proud to have led this effort to honor these phenomenal women, who more often than not are overlooked in our country’s telling of history. 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."
George Washington, the first president of the United States of America and known slave owner is on the typical U.S. quarter. On his death, he ordered all of his slaves to be freed when his wife died. Less than half of those people were freed.