The change in your pocket makes the same jingling noise, but the newest quarters have a whole new look. The United States Mint has begun circulating the first in the American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program. From now through 2025, the Mint will issue 5 quarters a year depicting trailblazing women on the reverse (tails) side of the coin who made great contributions to American history.
Meet the five women who are changing the way your quarters look in 2022. Note: you won’t find any damsels in distress here!
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. ~ Maya Angelou (1928–2014)
Maya Angelou, writer, teacher, social activist, and performer is on the first coin of the series. Her 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, garnered her international fame. She went on to write dozens of best-selling books and became an accomplished dancer and theater actress. Angelou received more than 30 honorary degrees. President Barack Obama awarded Angelou with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
For whatever reason, I didn’t succumb to the stereotype that science wasn’t for girls. I got encouragement from my parents. I never ran into a teach or a counselor who told me that science was for boys. A lot of my friends did. ~ Sally Ride (1951–2012)
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She flew twice on the orbiter Challenger, in 1983 and 1984. She left NASA in 1987 and taught at the University of California. She was passionate about encouraging girls to study math and science. Ride was added to the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003. Because of her quiet, long-term relationship with another woman, Ride is the first astronaut to be recognized as LGBT.
In the Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember 7 generations in the past and consider 7 generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. ~ Wilma Mankiller (1945–2010)
Wilma Mankiller was the director of Oakland’s Native American Youth Center, inspiring Native youth to have pride in their heritage. She returned to her roots in Oklahoma and in 1985 was elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served for 10 years, ardently advocating for better education, healthcare, and housing. In 1998, Mankiller was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton.
Ratification of suffrage has been accomplished by the efforts of women all over the country. In every state, as was the case in New Mexico, women were the active element in bringing about ratification. ~ Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren (1881–1965)
Nina Otero was born to a wealthy and politically powerful family in what is now New Mexico during the Gold Rush. She completed her education at Maryville College of the Sacred Heart (now Maryville University) in St. Louis. Otero married at 26 but divorced two years later. To avoid the stigma, she called herself a widow. Active in the woman’s suffrage movement, she insisted materials be published in Spanish as well as English. Otero-Warren used her political connections to help ratify the 19th Amendment. She became the first Hispanic woman to run for Congress in 1922. She lost by a narrow margin, partly because the public discovered she was divorced, not widowed.
I can’t for the life of me understand why a white man couldn’t fall in love with me on the screen … without breaking some terrible censorship law. ~ Anna May Wong (1905–1961)
Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. Her first leading role was in The Toll of the Sea (1922). Wong became frustrated non-white actors weren’t allowed to kiss on screen. Her race caused her to lose many leading lady spots. Due to discrimination, she moved to Europe and became a star. Paramount Studios wooed her back to the States to star in the Broadway production of On the Spot. In the 1950s, she became the first Asian American to star in a television series where she played a detective in The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.