Renowned poet Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on an American coin. The US mint unveiled a collection under the name 'American Women Quarters Programme' to honour various women in the country's history. Angelou's face will appear on a 25-cent coin to celebrate and commemorate her valuable contribution.
NDTV quoted the Mint's Deputy Director, Ventris Gibson, "It is my honour to present our nation's first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history."
Born in 1928, Angelou has been a prominent figure in the country's history. Her influential writings found their place in the African-American community's civil rights. Angelou's literary works have a significant influence on the feminist movement by empowering women worldwide.
Angelou's Meritorious Legacy
Known as Marguerite Ann Johnson earlier, Mary Angelou lived her earlier life in Missouri. Her childhood life was not devoid of hurdles. Her mother's boyfriend sexually abused her. Eventually, he was jailed and killed after he was released from prison. However, the trauma silenced Angelou for close to six years. From a very young age, she had a knack for writing and was inspired by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.
In her time, women's rights was an alien concept. Their agency was non-existent as they were treated as mere objects. For women of colour, the conditions were much worse. However, during such times, Maya Angelou became the prominent voice of the rising feminist movement. She wrote an autobiography called 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' published in 1969. It depicted her early life, including when she was sexually abused.
The book struck a chord with several abuse survivors. According to Womens' History, the incident's explicit and detailed description did not sit well with many as schools sought to ban the book. Despite it all, Angelou's name was destined to be in the history books.
Carving Important Milestones
The African-American Civil Rights Movement allowed Angelou to shine through. Along with icons like Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, etc., she worked for racial justice and paved her way towards making an incredible mark.
For Black women during that time, Angelou was an inspiration. She was the first black woman to have her screenplay, 'Georgia Georgia', turned into a film in 1972. She has brought many laurels from Pulitzer Award to Emmy and Tony Award. In 1992, she penned a poem for President Bill Clinton inauguration called 'On The Pulse Of Morning', becoming the first African-American woman to do so.
Angelou's death in 2014 devastated the entire world. Even today, her works are quoted by people across the globe. The African-American women look up to her and her contributions where she unapologetically expressed herself.