US: First Coin featuring Black Woman

Maya Angelou becomes the first black woman to appear on US coin. The coin was rolled out by US Mint as a part of the American Women Quarters Programme.

About Maya Angelou

Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of seven. The latter was beaten to death by her uncles. Maya became silent after the tragedy. During her silence she started writing. She is known for her speaking voice and lyrical prose. She is an African American. She died at the age of 86 in 2014.

Literary Works

She has produced seven autobiographies, several books of poetry, three books of essays. Her autobiographies brought her fame. Her first autobiography “I know the Caged Bird Sings” fetched international recognition.

About the Coin

The coin has Maya on one side and the US first President George Washington on the other side. Maya is shown along an eagle in the coin.

Awards won by Maya

She has received more than 30 honorary degrees. In 1992, she read the “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Clinton. In 2010, President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2013, she won the Literarian Award.

American Women Quarters Programme

The programme was launched to mint twenty coins. The coins are to honor historic contributions. This includes civil rights, women suffrage, abolition, humanities, government, science and arts. Apart from Maya, the programme also features Wilma Mankiller and Sally Ride. Sally was the first woman to travel to space. Wilma was the first principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee is the largest tribe of the United States.

US Mint

The US Mint is a government organization that produces coins for US. These coins are used to conduct trade and commerce in the country. It does not produce paper money. It was created in 1792. There are four US mints. They are Denver, Philadelphia, West Point and San Francisco.

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