Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on a US coin on January 10, 2022. The Maya Angelou quarter was entered into circulation by the US Mint.

Maya Angelou Quarter Released On January 10, 2022

Angelou is the first coin of the American Women Quarters Program. Five Trailblazing Women will be recognized each year between 2022 and 2025. The honorees will represent the women’s suffrage movement, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, and the arts. The other 2022 coins will feature Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina-Otero-Warren and Ana May Wong.

Maya Angelou’s career in the arts lasted over 50 years, but was further noted internationally when she delivered her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Angelou at Clinton inauguration (cropped)
Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993.

During her career, Angelou was involved in many movies, television shows and plays.  She published numerous books of poetry, three books of essays and seven autobiographies.   Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” has received international acclaim since it’s publishing in 1969. Even with her long life, it is difficult to comprehend the list of her accomplishments and awards that she achieved over her lifetime.  Angelou was the recipient of over 50 honorary doctorate degrees, three Grammy awards, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two NAACP Image Awards, a Tony Award nomination, an Emmy Award nomination, and numerous other awards and honors. She served the last years of her career beginning in 1982 as a lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina.   Angelou was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Winston Salem for over 30 years. She had one son, Guy Johnson. Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and died on May 28, 2014 in Winston Salem, North Carolina at age 86.