Maya Angelou And Astronaut Sally Ride To Be First Women Honored On US Quarters

From time to time, you may look at your change and notice an unfamiliar coin. Although closer inspection tells you that it's indeed an American coin, it seems to depict a figure that you're not used to seeing on money.

But while such coins often make us worry as to whether a vending machine will accept them, they can also gives us an opportunity to get curious about an important part of American history that is nonetheless overlooked.

And in the tradition of the Sacagawea and Susan B. Anthony dollars, a recent push in Congress has made it clear that sooner than later, we're going to see some of the nation's most celebrated women on our quarters.

Last year, a bipartisan bill passed in the Senate that called for the creation of a line of quarters to honor women who made "significant contributions to the U.S."

As CNN reported, this bill then became the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 and as a result, the National Women's History Museum is accepting submissions from the public as to who this new program should recognize.

The qualifications for ending up on a quarter are pretty broad but seem intended to highlight women of "ethnically, racially and geographically diverse backgrounds" who made a significant impact on civil rights, science, the arts, and other unspecified areas.

Basically, the only hard-and-fast requirement seems to be that the woman in question has to have died.

But if you were fixing to nominate Maya Angelou, it turns out that she's such a good choice that the U.S. Mint's American Women Quarters Program has already beat you to it.

Although the final design for her quarter hasn't been chosen yet, CNN reported that it will start circulating in the nation by January of 2022.

Angelou is both being honored for her work during the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s and for her literature, particularly her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, considered one of the most important books of the 20th century.

As you can see, that book heavily influenced most of the designs we've seen for her quarter so far.

The same goes for Sally Ride, who became the first American woman in space back in 1983.

According to NASA, this was the first of two missions the astronaut and physicist flew in the '80s and while she was up there, she operated the robotic arm that helped put satellites in space.

Ride's partner Tam O'Shaughnessy said she would have been "so moved" to end up on an American coin and added, "This tribute reflects Sally's legacy not only as a trailblazing astronaut but also as a champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM fields."

Much like Angelou's quarter, the design for Ride's coin has not yet been finalized but it will enter circulation in January of 2022.

This coin program is expected to run until 2025 and it seems you can have some input in who else is featured on one of them.

According to USA Today, five of these special coins are expected to be created a year until the project is over and those looking to nominate a special woman can do so through this Google form.

As CNN reported, the final selections will be decided by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and will also include input from the Smithsonian Institution American Women's History Initiative, National Women's History Museum and the Bipartisan Women's Caucus.

But if you've got someone in mind who you think that all of these organizations will forget, now is your chance to try and put her on a quarter.

h/t: CNN

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