US Mint deploys its quarters with the late author, activist Maya Angelou | Top news

(Reuters) – The US Mint has started rolling out quarters featuring late American author and activist Maya Angelou, the first black woman to appear on the coin.

The coin is part of the American Women Quarters program, which also features Anna May Wong, Hollywood’s first Chinese-American film star, the United States Mint said on Monday.

Angelou gained international notoriety after the publication of his groundbreaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” with his unwavering account of rape and racism in the segregated South.

At the age of 7, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later beaten to death in an assault some believed was carried out by Angelou’s uncles. The trauma of the rape and the death of her attacker left Angelou speechless for six years. She began to write during this period of silence.

She died in 2014 at the age of 86. The prolific African-American writer was known for her lyrical prose and regal voice.

“Every time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country – what we value and how we have progressed as a society,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. .

“I am very proud that these pieces celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”

Recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees, Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” during the inauguration in 1992 of former 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, 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 American Women Quarters program also features Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female Principal Chief; Adelina Otero-Warren, leader of the suffrage movement in New Mexico; and Sally Ride, an astronaut and physicist who was the first American woman in space.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Chang)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

Lola R. McClure