Michelle Obama Pays Tribute To The Late Maya Angelou Following Her Historic Achievement

On Monday, coins that pay tribute to Maya Angelou went into circulation, an honor that Michelle Obama spoke on via Instagram.

According to the United States Mint, 20 women will appear on quarters between 2022 and 2025, with five new quarters being released each year. The first women to be part of the American Women Quarters Program are Dr. Sally Ride, first woman astronaut; Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation's first female principal chief; Nina Otero-Warren, the first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe; Anna May Wong, Hollywood's first Chinese-American movie star; and Angelou, the civil rights activist who died in 2014.


"Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift," said Ventris C. Gibson, the Mint Deputy Director. The heads side of the quarter will still show George Washington.

Maya Angelou 'deserves this incredible honor,' says Michelle Obama

One person, in particular, who has celebrated this new honorary coin is former First Lady Michelle Obama. She turned to Instagram on Wednesday, writing, "What a fitting tribute to have Dr. Maya Angelou become the first Black woman on the U.S. quarter — She was a phenomenal woman whose comfort in her own skin made so many of us feel seen in ours."


Obama also touched upon "Phenomenal Woman," a collection of poems from Angelou that came out in 1995. "I remember the first time I read 'Phenomenal Woman,' and how struck I was by the affirming power of her words. She celebrated a Black woman's beauty like no one had ever dared to before. In a singular poem, she spoke to our essence, and graced us with an anthem for all women — one that uncovered our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear. She knew us in a way that no one else did, and she deserves this incredible honor."