History has been made!

On Monday, a new design of the US quarter featuring Maya Angelou, a famous American poet, and author, went into circulation, making her the first Black woman to be given this honor. In 2020, Barbara Lee introduced the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act, which asked for 5 prominent American women to be featured on the US quarter, though George Washington is still on the head. Other examples feature astronaut Sally Ride and Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller. This was then passed in 2021, but the other four quarters will be released throughout the year. This is to celebrate important women and their accomplishments, especially since they were often ignored in history.

Twitter’s reaction

Democratic Representative Barbara Lee, who introduced the Bill, tweeted the announcement that the coin was officially in circulation. She notes that “The phenomenal women who shaped American history have gone unrecognized for too long—especially women of color. Proud to have led this bill to honor their legacies.” From this, Maya Angelou began trending on Twitter in celebration. Those who know her personally reiterated that if Angelou was with us still, she would be thrilled.

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Others also noted that they wanted the Maya Angelou quarter, even though coin collecting is not as common of a hobby as it was once in the past.

However, not everyone was as pleased and ready to celebrate. Some still found it inappropriate for Washington to be on the front of the coin while Angelou takes the back, as Washington was a slave owner and Angelou’s literature focused heavily on racism and the effects of racism.

Many thought that this was performative, as it does not provide any solution to racism in America. Many also wondered if the $20 dollar bill would ever be changed to Harriet Tubman, as has been in discussion in recent years.

Some also pointed out that though representation matters, many would rather focus on things that affect Black women in America, noting that Black women consistently vote Democratic.

Some thought this was unfair, as it was ignoring the fact that representation matters, and that this is a step in the right direction. But, many made it clear that while they are happy to see Angelou on the US quarter, they would also like to see progress towards justice as well.

Overall, it is still historical, as it makes the first Black woman to be featured on a coin, which is something many still find important and believe Angelou would feel honored.