Maya Angelou and Sally Ride will be further immortalized on new U.S. currency.
In January 2022, a new set of quarters are scheduled to enter circulation bearing the likeness of the late poet and the late astronaut.
The two trailblazing women will lead the initial rollout and appear on a series of 25-cent pieces that will be released over the next four years by the U.S. Mint.
Ingrained on the reverse – or tails side – of the coins, Angelou and Ride will be honored as part of the American Women Quarters Program.
Angelou’s will come in seven different designs. Each of Angelou’s pieces includes a depiction of her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” as well as her name.
A new design of George Washington will be added to the obverse – heads side – as well.
According to the U.S. Mint, more than 20 women will be honored through the American Women Quarters Program, and the new coins will feature female leaders from a wide spectrum of fields including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space and the arts.
The women being selected also will be from ethnically, racially and geographically diverse backgrounds.
One of the most prolific and influential writers of the past century, Angelou lived many lives and was widely considered Black America’s poet laureate before her 2014 death at age 86.
Ride, who died in 2012 at 61, was the NASA astronaut who became the first American woman to fly into space in 1983.
Both were chosen by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen after consulting with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus.
The U.S. Mint is also taking submissions for more women who have left their mark on American history over the next four years, and the public is invited to cast their choices via the official form.
By law, no living person can be considered for the honor, and George Washington must remain on the heads side.
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