A woman named Maya Angelou

who was Maya Angelou? The U.S. Treasury Department minted 25 cent coins with the image of Maya Angelou. The U.S. Mint plans to mint 20 more coins in her honor, as well as those of other women.

Maya Angelou at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton
Maya Angelou – Wikimedia Commons

What is noteworthy, however, is that she was the first African-American woman to appear on a coin in the United States. She was above all, a resilient and surviving woman proud to be “black”.

Knowing more about Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, was the first woman to write and recite a poem during the inauguration of a president. It happened in 1993 at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. She was an activist, poet, writer and role model.

She was born in St Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1828, with the name Marguerite Annie Johnson. At the age of three, her parents separated and she and her brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Arkansas. She was an inspiration to Maya.

She soon realized the unfairness of being a black woman in a racist country. She described it in her first autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” which she published in 1970. It was her first success as a writer.

When she was seven years old she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. However, the man was prosecuted, but did not serve time. Shortly thereafter, he was murdered. The rape experience scarred Maya, who did not speak a word for the next five years. A friend of her grandmother’s convinced her to speak again with the excuse that poetry should be read aloud.

She was always fearless and independent

At the age of 15 she moved with her mother to San Francisco, where she was a streetcar conductor. Her fearless and investigative nature led her to become the mother of her only child at 16. In a short span of time she was a dancer, singer, waitress, prostitute and pimp. In that period, she recorded an album of songs and even traveled to Europe.

She married between two and three times. She took the surname of her first husband, Enistacios Angelos, as a pseudonym. In 1961 she worked at the Luther King Christian Leadership Conference. She traveled to Cairo, where she became a journalist. She then traveled to Ghana where she met activist MalcomX firsthand.

In 1965 she returned to the United States determined to work for his cause, although soon after he was assassinated. The same happened with Martin Luther King. It was there that his first autobiography appeared.

Over the following decades, he published six more autobiographical books. All of them successful. At the same time, she wrote poetry, a movie script, and participated in television narrating the history of the blues. She was also an actress. She participated in the series Raíces as the grandmother of the protagonist Kunta Kinte.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou – Wikimedia Commons

As early as the 1980s she was a professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The shocking thing is that this university is a prestigious center of white studies. In 2010 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barak Obama. It is the highest civilian award in the United States.

He passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. His funeral was held at Wake Forest University. A life full of merits that grants him the recognition of being featured on a coin of his country.

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