Rochester community members react to Maya Angelou on the U.S. quarter

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:53 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – History was made once again, this time with an item that’s often kept in our pockets or wallets.

On Monday, the United States Mint announced its begun shipping quarters featuring American women who have shaped history.

Poet, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou is the first woman to grace the U.S. quarter. She is also the first Black person on the U.S. quarter.

Some people may start paying closer attention to their change-- now that Maya Angelou is on the quarter

“Well, the first thing that I am going to do is, I’m going to frame it,” said Wale Elegbede, Rochester NAACP President.

“I was ecstatic. I thought it was a wonderful homage to this amazing writer. This amazing Black woman. This amazing leader, who’s left such a legacy. I also thought that maybe 25 cents was a little low as terms of the currency that she should be put on,” said Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara, a Rochester-based writer.

The Angelou quarter features her with her arms spread out, and in front a bird in flight, with a rising sun above her.

The U.S. Mint makes coins, and said the images were, “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived.”

“She says, ‘cause I’m a woman phenomenally, Phenomenal woman that’s me.’ And I just think the woman of that whole poem reads like music,” said Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara.

“I hope that we use this opportunity to really look back at her words and see what she really stood for,” Elegbede said.

Angelou’s words carry on to the generations following in her footsteps.

“I think it’s very influential to young Black girls like me who like to speak about Black girl problems, and Black girls issues and Black people in general issues with writing. And it gives me the motivation that if Maya Angelou can do it, anybody can,” said 14-year-old, Barabra Whitehorn, a spoken word artist.

The quarter is a part of the American Women Quarters Program and now until 2025 other historic woman figures will be featured on quarters.

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