The U.S. Mint has unveiled the highly anticipated Maya Angelou Quarter. A celebrated writer, performer and social activist, Angelou rose to international prominence as an author after the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Angelou’s is the first coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program. She was a celebrated writer, performer and social activist. Her published works of verse, nonfiction and fiction include more than 30 bestselling titles.
Her remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism and social activism. Angelou appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway plays, including “Cabaret for Freedom,” which she wrote with Godfrey Cambridge.
At the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Angelou served as northern coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1978, she was a National Book Award judge for biography and autobiography.
Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” at the 1992 inauguration of President Bill Clinton. Her reading marked the first time an African American woman wrote and presented a poem at a presidential inauguration. She was also only the second poet in history to do so, following Robert Frost, who recited a poem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
She received more than 30 honorary degrees and was inducted into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame for Writers. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also the 2013 recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for contributions to the literary community.