PEOPLE reports that as part of the American Women Quarters Program from the U.S. Mint, Dr. Maya Angelou is set to become one of the first trailblazing women in this country to have herself featured on a quarter.
“For too long, many of the women who have contributed to our country’s history have gone unrecognized, especially women of color,” Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) shared in a statement. “I am pleased to see that the first women to be recognized under my bill are outstanding individuals in the fields of science and literature. They paved the way for many who came after them and inspired young women to carry on their legacy.”
According to ABC News, the U.S. Mint announced several different designs of Dr. Angelou in an effort to honor the historical figure’s contributions. Her quarters will be in circulation through 2025 after the new quarter is issued in January 2022.
PEOPLE also adds that Dr. Angelou’s coin head — alongside honoree and astronaut Sally Ride — “will continue to feature a likeness of George Washington designed in a manner to distinguish it from the current image.”
Dr. Angelou was a celebrated public figure who made incredible strides in the literary world for Black people, and especially Black women. The poet — who passed away in 2014 — earned critical acclaim after the release of her first book, her 1970 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
“Maya is one of those totally steadfast people with a spine made of iron,” Jessica Mitford, a writer and Angelou’s longtime friend, previously told PEOPLE. “She’s a force of nature with so many talents in every direction that the combination comes like an earthquake.”
Sen. Deb Fischer and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — the two responsible for introducing the American Women Quarters Program — previously wrote that “as female U.S. senators, our story would not have been possible without these women who came before us” in a February USA Today op-ed.
“Many of these admirable women will appear on these quarters starting in 2022,” they added. “We look forward to being reminded of their legacies every time we see their faces on a new quarter.”