Change is coming, as Maya Angelou is now officially the first Black woman to be featured on a U.S. quarter, and the first batch of her 25-cent pieces rolled out of the U.S. Mint Monday.
It is well-known (and completely true) San Francisco lore that poet and activist Dr. Maya Angelou was the city's first-ever Black female streetcar conductor. Her 2014 memorial service was a packed house at Glide Memorial Church, and she got a monument at Civic Center, though it had a rocky rollout.
But add another distinction to Maya Angelou’s list. She will now appear on the U.S. quarter, making her the first Black woman to appear on the 25-cent piece. And the U.S. Mint announced Monday that they had “begun shipping the first coins.”
The Maya Angelou quarter is now available: pic.twitter.com/vWcGrKheNB— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 10, 2022
This is the first of the new American Women Quarters series, and according to a U.S. Mint announcement, there will be more. “The additional honorees in 2022 are physicist and first woman astronaut Dr. Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and an activist for Native American and women’s rights; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, who achieved international success despite racism and discrimination,” the Mint says.
The first coin of the American Women Quarters™ Program is here—the Maya Angelou Quarter! Learn about honoree Maya Angelou and #HerQuarter in our press release at https://t.co/yYzGJpXQDD. Look for it in your change. @USTreasury @smithsonian @womenshistory @DrMayaAngelou @WCPInst pic.twitter.com/GVUpcnbszq— United States Mint (@usmint) January 10, 2022
Angelou is only on the back (tails side) of the quarter, it’s still got George Washington on the front, heads side. But we’re sure that the first time we see that quarter is an experience we will not forget.
“As a leader in the civil rights movement, poet laureate, college professor, Broadway actress, dancer, and the first female African American cable car conductor in San Francisco, Maya Angelou’s brilliance and artistry inspired generations of Americans,” Oakland rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said in a statement. “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.'”
Related: Watch The Trailer For This Maya Angelou Documentary That Premieres Tonight On KQED [SFist]