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A new American Quarter featuring the late Maya Angelou officially went into circulation this week, making the American author, poet and civil rights activist the first black woman to be featured on the 25 cent coin.

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The new coin is part of the US Mint’s American Women’s Quarters program, which began this year and will continue through 2025 – honoring various trailblazing women and their achievements in a variety of fields.

Angelou, who died in 2014 at the age of 86, rose to prominence in 1969 with the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” He published over 30 bestselling titles and was the recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees, US Mint said in a statement,

Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1992, the event marked the first time an African American woman had written and performed a poem. In 2010, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award in America – by President Barack Obama. She was also the recipient of 2013 Literary AwardHonorary National Book Award for contribution to the literary community.

The new quarter depicts Angelo with arms outstretched toward the tail. Behind her is a bird in flight and the rising sun, “a portrait inspired by her poetry and a symbol of her way of life,” the US Mint said. It was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Emily Damstra and produced by United States Mint medallion artist Craig A. Campbell.

The side of the head depicts a portrait of George Washington, which was originally Composed and Sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser To mark the 200th birthday of George Washington.

New circulating quarters honoring Angelou are produced at mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver. mint program, which was signed into law In January 2021, featuring additional Honorees will begin shipping later this year and through 2025.

Other respected physicists and first female astronauts Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, will be the Cherokee nation’s first female head of state in 2022. This year will also honor 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.

In 2015, Angelou was awarded a . was featured on US Postal Service Limited Edition “Forever” Stamp, In early 2021, Barbie also introduced Angelou As a new addition to its “Inspirational Woman” doll series.

Katherine Cortez Masto, D-NV, who sponsors the legislation creating the American Women’s Quarter program, said that Angelou’s coin will “ensure generations of Americans to learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry that bring to life the experiences of black women.” talks to.”

“Maya Angelou’s writings and activism inspired countless Americans and her legacy helped promote greater fairness and understanding in our country,” Masto said in a statement. “She’s exactly the type of leader I had in mind when Senators Fischer, Representative Lee, and I wrote our bipartisan legislation to create a series of quarters honoring the contributions of American women.”

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.