2022 American Women Quarters Maya Angelou
Angelou’s remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism, and social activism.
She 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., she 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 Clinton.
Angelou’s 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 Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
Angelou received more than 30 honorary degrees and was inducted into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame for Writers. In 2010, President 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.
The obverse side depicts a portrait of George Washington. This design was originally
composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser as a candidate entry for the 1932 quarter, which honored the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. Inscriptions are LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and 2022.
The reverse side design depicts Maya Angelou with her arms uplifted. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived. The silhouette of the bird depicts a Purple Martin, a songbird common to Angelou’s birthplace.
Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, QUARTER DOLLAR, MAYA ANGELOU, and
E PLURIBUS UNUM.