The American 25-cent coin, known as the “Quarter”, will bear an effigy of African-American poet and activist Maya Angelou. This is the first time that a black woman will stamp a coin in the United States. This information is quoted by AFP.
The coin is the one that circulates the most in the country and since 1932 has only had two representations: a series of 50 coins representing each state in the 2000s and a series of national parks between 2010 and 2021.
The US Mint has already minted the first copies displayed by the Treasury Department. In the cities of Philadelphia and Denver, “quarters” are being mined in large quantities for daily use.
The initiative was taken by Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee who drafted the bill in 2020.
The coin will be the first in a series of “prominent American women” that aims to honor several of the nation’s leading women.
Among them Sally Ride, astronaut and physicist; Wilma Mankiller, the first Native American leader of the Cherokee Nation; Nina Otero-Warren, Latina politician and activist; and Anna May Wong, the actress honored as the first star of Asian descent.
Who was Maya Angelou?
Maya Angelou, aka Marguerite Ann Johnson, was raped at age 8 and developed selective silence. At age 15, she became the first black female bus driver in San Francisco and a single mother at a time when it was not common.
In later years, she became the first black woman to become a screenwriter and director in Hollywood. In the 1950s – when she assumed the pseudonym “Maya Angelou” – she established herself as an actress, singer and dancer in several theatrical productions that toured the country, such as Porgy and Bess, Calypso Heatwave, The Blacks and Cabaret for Freedom.
In the 1960s, she became friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Angelou died on the morning of 28 May 2014 at the age of 86. He was found by his nurse. However Angelo’s ill health was reported and he canceled his scheduled appearance.