The U.S. mint revealed its designs for quarters that will be released beginning in 2022 featuring trailblazing American women on the reverse side of the coins.
Five new designs will be released each year between 2022 and 2025. Next year’s coins will depict poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou; astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first principal woman chief; Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement; and Anna May Wong, the first Hollywood film star of Chinese American descent.
“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” United States Mint Acting Director Alison L. Doone said in a statement. “Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”
The designs will be on the tails of the coins; George Washington will still be featured on the head side. They were created by the United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program designers and sculpted by United States Mint medallic artists. Washington’s likeness will be different than on other quarters. His side of the 2022 quarters was created by early 20th-century sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser, whose design of a portrait of Washington was initially considered for a 1932 coin celebrating his 200th birthday.
Each design is inspired by the lives and work of the women celebrated. Ride’s coin depicts her next to a window on the space shuttle. The U.S. Mint said it is inspired by her quote, “But when I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.”
Mankiller, who was an activist for native women’s rights, is shown wrapped in a traditional shawl with the Cherokee Nation seven-pointed star. “Cherokee Nation” is written in Cherokee syllabary.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap, said Mankiller’s legacy and impact made her a fitting choice for the coin program.
“We thank the U.S. Mint for recognizing Wilma and the other recipients for such an honor,” Soap told Indian Country Today when it was announced she would be featured earlier this year. “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.”
An effort to get abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who rescued about 70 enslaved people through the Underground Railroad, on the $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson — who owned enslaved people — has been underway since former President Barack Obama’s administration. It was delayed by former President Donald Trump, who called the move “pure political correctness.”
When President Joe Biden took office early this year, his administration pledged to speed along the process, but The Washington Post reported Tubman might not be on a bill before the end of his term, or even before the end of a hypothetical second term.
The American Women Quarters Program was developed and approved by Congress this year to celebrate the contributions of notable deceased women in the U.S., as living people are not permitted to be featured on coins. “The women honored will be from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds,” according to the U.S. Mint.
Here are the five designs:
Contributing: Gabriela Miranda