Maya Angelou and Nina Otero-Warren are being immortalized in coin form thanks to a new program at the U.S. Mint.
According to a statement from the Mint, the American Women Quarters™ Program Coins featuring the writer and activist and “first female superintendent of Sante Fe schools” are being created as the result of a program that was “authorized by Public Law 116-330.” The program will be taking place over a period of four years and will feature unique “coins with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of trailblazing American women.”
“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said United States Mint Acting Director Alison L. Doone. “Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”
Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller and Anna May Wong are being featured on coins in the series as well. The design on the front side of all of the coins was created by celebrated artist Laura Gardin Fraser.
The reverse image on the coin depicting Angelou was designed by AIP designer Emily Damstra; the shape of the coin was designed by Craig A. Campbell, a noted medallic artist. The design features Angelou with her arms lifted above her head, while in the background are images that reflect some of her most memorable poetic images.
A bird taking flight and a sun rising are visible on the coin. Also present are a number of the standard inscriptions found on quarters including “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “QUARTER DOLLAR.” There is also a new one, “MAYA ANGELOU.”
The poet and author’s legacy was previously honored in a limited edition Barbie doll.
The coin depicting Otero-Warren was sculpted by Campbell as well. The reverse design was designed by AIP designer Chris Costello. It features her “flanked by three individual Yucca flowers—New Mexico’s state flower.” The image reflects her unrelenting commitment to the state’s suffrage movement.
The new inscriptions on the coin are “NINA OTERO-WARREN,” and “VOTO PARA LA MUJER.”
The later phrase is “the Spanish counterpart for the suffragist slogan ‘Votes for Women.’”