History has been made as Maya Angelou has become the first black woman to appear on U.S. quarter.
Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and actress, and she often explored the themes of the economy, as well as racial and sexual oppression.
Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014. She was and continues to be an inspiration to people around the world.
In fact, she’s that incredible that the United States Mint has said they are in the process of shipping quarters with Maya Angelou featured on them.
And it’s a big deal.
The Mint Facilities are responsible for manufacturing coins that can be used as currency, and the first minted coins were established around the 7th century.
Angelou’s work has long been celebrated by the masses.
One of her most famous pieces was her 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In this book, she explores identity, rape, racism, and how women live in a male-dominated society.
One powerful section of the book expresses: “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom,” using a caged bird as a metaphor for the oppression not only she, but millions of other black people have faced.
She is truly a legend to all.
And so, what better way to honor the beloved author and actress, than to imprint her image on the face of a U.S. quarter?
On the quarter, Angelou’s arms are stretched out, and a bird is flying behind her, with the sun rising in the background.
Mint will in fact be honoring more incredible women over the next 4 years, as per NBC news, but, the choice of Maya Angelou as the first to be honored on the quarters has definitely made a lot of people ecstatic, including that of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
“This coin will ensure generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry that spoke to the lived experience of Black women,” she expressed.
Angelou recieved countless awards as well as fifty honorary degrees throughout her life.
Her awards didn’t even begin to reflect just how sensational she was, even being honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
Other awards included the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1994, later going on to win it yet again in 1996 and 2003, the Quill Award for Poetry in 2006, the Marian Anderson Award in 2008, and the list goes on.
She was involved in a myriad of successful movies including Poetic Justice, Down in the Delta, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Under African Skies, and America’s Dream.
The role model was also close friends with Malcolm X, a minister and civil rights activist who was an important figure for the civil rights movement, and who was assassinated in 1965 in New York City.
As you can see, her life is truly remarkable, and she is absolutely deserving of her image being portraid on a United States quarter.
She was loved not only for talking of the racial injustice within our society but, because she was honest about her life, as well. In her 1974 memoir Gather Together in My Name, she detailed her experience as a sex worker before she became a famous writer and actress.
And she wasn’t afraid or ashamed to tell people of that time in her life, talking about it on the radio show In Context.
“I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks: ‘I never did anything wrong. Who, moi? – never I.’ … They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think: ‘Damn, I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.’ They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives,” she wrote as per Mail & Guardian.
She changed the way people saw things more often than not.
And paved the way for a better, more improved society.
This is why we are so happy that she will be making history as the first black woman in history to appear on a United States quarter.