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Maya Angelou, Cherokee Nation leader among women honored on newly minted quarters

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The Hill
The Hill
 2021-06-18
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The U.S. Mint announced this month that it would add more notable women to its inaugural American Women Quarters Program to include famed activists and artists.

In a press release, the mint said it would be adding Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected to be Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation; Adelina Otero-Warren, a leader in the U.S. suffrage movement in New Mexico; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American Hollywood film star.

Other women who will be honored on the quarters include renowned poet and author Maya Angelou, who recited a poem at former President Clinton's inauguration, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

"Courageous women have made countless contributions throughout our great Nation’s history,” said Mint Director David J. Ryder. “The American Women Quarters Program is a unique opportunity to honor a broad and diverse group of women whose achievements, triumphs, and legacies reflect the strength and resilience of our Nation. We look forward to sharing their stories.”

The quarters will enter circulation in 2022.

The program was set up through the passing of the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which requires the U.S. Treasury Department to issue quarters honoring up to five prominent American women a year.

The topic of printing women on American currency has become a hot-button issue in recent years. Many argue it is discriminatory that past presidents and founding fathers — who are white men — are generally shown.

The Obama administration had begun plans to replace former President Andrew Jackson with abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, but those plans were halted when former President Trump assumed office.

The Biden administration announced in January that it would be looking into ways to "speed up" the process of having Tubman printed on the bill.

"The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 notes," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time. "It’s important that our notes, our money … reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that."

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