Maya Angelou: the new face of the quarter


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Maya being the first ever African-American on the U.S Quarter as of 2022

Ryder Richardson, Staff Writer

Maya Angelou has become the first African American woman to be on the United States quarter, thanks to the American Women Quarters Program. The obverse (heads) of the quarter shows a portrait of George Washington for his 200th birthday; The reverse (tails) is Angelou with her arms up behind a bird and a rising star. 

The quarter’s face changed because of America the Beautiful Quarters Program showcasing national parts and sites in the United States, which started in 2010 and ended in 2021. 

She was a celebrated writer, performer and social activist who wrote the autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and 30 more bestselling titles. She has also received over 30 honorary degrees and was put into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame for Writers.

Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 in Missi. She had a difficult childhood, with her parents splitting up when she was very young. She also dealt with racial prejudice and discrimination when she lived in Ark with her grandmother. Her career started to pick up in the mid-1950s as a touring performer at “Porgy and Bess,” which is a tragic love story of a cripple beggar Porgy and a beautiful Bess. She also released her first-ever album called “Miss Calypso” in 1957. 

They went on to move to N.Y to participate in a civil rights movement in 1959. In 1961, she moved to Egypt and edited for the Arab Observer. The 1970s was when she was a San Fransisco streetcar conductor and performed in nightclubs. She also worked at Wake Forest University in 1981.

She went on to earn a Tony Award nomination for her role in a play called “Look Away” and an Emmy Award for her works on a television show called “Roots.” She later went on to win a Grammy Award for providing audio for one of her poems. One of her works was even recited by former President Bill Clinton at his inaugural ceremony in 1993. She later died on May 28, 2014 in her home in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Angelou is very important to the history of the U.S. and it’s very honorable for The American Women Quarters Program to put her onto the quarter. It has been said that they will be putting more women on the quarter in future years.

For more information contact Ryder Richardson at [email protected]