US Mint to issue quarters honoring notable American women

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Wilma Mankiller

FILE – In this July 19, 1985, file photo, Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected chief of the Cherokee Nation, poses in front of the tribal emblem at the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. The U.S. Mint says Mankiller will be among the first five women honored in the new American Women Quarters Program, which starts in 2022 and continues until 2025. (AP Photo, File)

Poet and author Maya Angelou, America’s first woman in space and a revered Cherokee Nation leader are among female trailblazers whose likenesses will appear on the U.S. quarter.

The new four-year American Women Quarters Program celebrates women’s accomplishments and contributions to the United States’ development and history, according to the U.S. Mint.

Under the program, the mint will issue up to five new designs each year from 2022 to 2025. Honorees will be from a variety of fields and from ethnically, racially and geographically diverse backgrounds, the mint says.

Those chosen for the first year are:

— Angelou, celebrated poet and memoirist

— Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief

— Adelina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement

— Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space

— Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American Hollywood film star

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap, expressed gratitude for Mankiller’s inclusion in the program, saying her influence and leadership made her a fitting choice.

Mankiller became one of the United States’ most visible Native American leaders during her 10 years as chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, from 1985 to 1995. She died in 2010.

“We thank the U.S. Mint for recognizing Wilma and the other recipients for such an honor,” Soap told Indian Country Today. “Wilma was a humble, spiritual, great leader whose leadership was not only for Cherokee people but for all women and races. The real value of this coin is the inspiration it brings to Indian people and women everywhere.”

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