United States Mint Begins Shipping Maya Angelou Coin As Inaugural American Women Quarters Issue | Lafayette County
The United States Mint (Mint) began shipping the first coins of the American Women Quarters (AWQ) program. These outstanding quarters honoring Maya Angelou are manufactured at the Mint’s facilities in Philadelphia and Denver. Coins featuring additional award winners will begin shipping later this year and through 2025.
Maya Angelou spent much of her childhood in Stamps with her grandmother Annie Johnson and her uncle Willie Johnson. His award-winning memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” documents much of his coming-of-age experiences during this time.
Coins featuring additional award winners will begin shipping later this year and through 2025.
“It is an honor for me to present our nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Deputy Director of the Mint, Ventris C. Gibson. “Each quarter of 2022 is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of achievement 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.
Writer, poet, performer, social activist and teacher, Angelou gained international notoriety as an author after the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird is Singing.”
Angelou’s published works of verse, non-fiction and fiction include over 30 bestselling titles. His remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism and social activism. Recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees, Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” during the inauguration in 1992 of President Bill Clinton. Angelou’s reading marked the first time an African-American woman wrote and presented a poem during a presidential inauguration. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2013 she received the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for her contribution to the literary community.
The reverse (tails), designed by United States Mint (AIP) Art Infusion Program artist Emily Damstra and sculpted by United States Mint medalist artist Craig A. Campbell, depicts Maya Angelou with his arms raised. Behind her, a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of her way of life. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, “MAYA ANGELOU”, “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “QUART DE DOLLAR. “
The obverse (heads) is a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday. Although her work was a recommended design for the quarter of 1932, then-Secretary of the Treasury Mellon ultimately chose John Flanagan’s well-known design. Of Fraser, Deputy Director Gibson said, “I am proud that George Washington’s new obverse design is the work of one of the most prolific sculptors of the turn of the 20th century. Laura Gardin Fraser was the first woman to design an American commemorative coin, and her work is recognized in numismatic and artistic circles. Ninety years after she intended to, her obverse design will rightly take its place in the neighborhood.
The inscriptions are “LIBERTY”, “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “2022”. The design of the obverse is common to all the quarters issued in the series.
The American Women Quarters program features pieces with inverted patterns (tails) emblematic of the achievements and contributions of pioneering American women. Beginning in 2022 and through 2025, the Mint will issue five quarters in each of those years. The group of ethnically, racially and geographically diverse people honored under this program reflects a wide range of achievements and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, l space and the arts. The other recipients in 2022 are physicist and first female astronaut, Dr. Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief chief and Native American and women’s rights activist; Nina Otero-Warren, leader of the suffrage movement in New Mexico and first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, who achieved international success despite racism and discrimination.
“Maya Angelou’s writings and activism have inspired countless Americans and her legacy has helped build equity and understanding in our country,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), sponsor of the project. of law in the Senate. “She is exactly the type of leader I had in mind when Senator Fischer, Representative Lee and I drafted our bipartisan legislation to create a series of wards honoring the contributions of American women. This piece will allow generations of Americans to learn more about the books and poetry of Maya Angelou that speak of the lived experience of black women.
As a leader of the civil rights movement, poet laureate, college professor, Broadway actress, dancer and first African American female cable car driver in San Francisco, the talent and artistry of Maya Angelou has inspired generations. Americans, ”said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), House sponsor of the bill. “I will forever cherish the private moments I have had the privilege of sharing with Maya, from speaking in her living room as sisters to her valuable advice throughout the challenges I have encountered as a black woman in a elected office. I am proud to have led this effort to honor these phenomenal women, who are most often overlooked in the telling of our country’s history. If you find yourself holding a neighborhood of Maya Angelou, remember her words: “Make sure you don’t die without doing something wonderful for mankind”.
CLICK HERE for a video of Maya Angelou’s quarters in production at the US Mint.