The American Women Quarters Program is a four-year program from the United States Mint that honors and celebrates distinguished American women through a collection of special quarters with new reverse designs that feature the likenesses of each honoree. Beginning this year in 2022, up to five women will be featured each year until 2025. The American Women Quarters Program is authorized by the Circulating Collectible Redesign Act of 2020 and is intended to honor women who have contributed to social advancement in the United States in the fields of women’s suffrage, civil rights, abolition, science, and the arts.
The five women to be celebrated on the 2022 quarters will be acclaimed poet, author, and activist Maya Angelou; educator and activist Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren, a prominent figure in New Mexico’s suffrage movement; physicist and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; and Anna May Wong, who broke ground in Hollywood as the first Chinese-American film star.
On the obverse of each coin in the American Women Quarters collection will be a portrait of George Washington facing right; this design was originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser for the 1932 quarter to mark Washington’s 200th birthday; however, the left-facing design by sculptor John Flannigan we know of today was ultimately selected.
Maya Angelou’s quarter will be the first issued from the American Woman Quarters Program and will enter circulation this month. Angelou is the first Black woman to be featured on U.S. currency. Her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” remains a cornerstone of American literature, and her prolific writing career resulted in more than 30 bestselling works of poetry, essays, and memoirs. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011. Look for Angelou’s and her 2022 cohort’s quarters in circulation this year, or enroll to receive the entire collection.