By The Associated Press
Troy Warren for CNT
U.S. Mint will issue up to 5 new designs each year from 2022 to 2025
Poet and author Maya Angelou, America’s first woman in space and a revered Cherokee Nation leader are among several female trailblazers whose likenesses will appear on the U.S. quarter in the coming years.
The new four-year American Women Quarters Program celebrates women’s accomplishments and contributions to the United States’ development and history, according to the U.S. Mint.
Under the program, the mint will issue up to five new designs each year from 2022 to 2025. Honorees will be from a variety of fields and from ethnically, racially and geographically diverse backgrounds, the mint says.
Those chosen for the first year are:
— Angelou, celebrated poet and memoirist
— Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief
— Adelina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement
— Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space
— Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American Hollywood film star
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap, expressed gratitude for Mankiller’s inclusion in the program, saying her influence and leadership made her a fitting choice.
Mankiller became one of the United States’ most visible Native American leaders during her 10 years as chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, from 1985 to 1995. She died in 2010.
“We thank the U.S. Mint for recognizing Wilma and the other recipients for such an honor,” Soap told Indian Country Today. “Wilma was a humble, spiritual, great leader whose leadership was not only for Cherokee people but for all women and races. The real value of this coin is the inspiration it brings to Indian people and women everywhere.”
The first U.S. 25 cent piece was known as the Barber quarter, first struck in 1892, which featured the goddess of Liberty on the front side and a flying eagle on the back. Next came the Standing Liberty quarter which circulated from 1916 to 1930.
The current Washington quarter came along in 1932 as the nation prepared to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Through the years, various iterations of the Washington coin have been issued to honor historic American figures on the back side of the coin.
ArLuther Lee contributed to this report for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.