BY OMONIYI IBIETAN
Maya Angelou, iconic poet, memoirist and civil rights activist, who, in 2010 received Presidential Medal of Freedom – the US highest honour to civilians – has appeared on a US Quarter. The BBC reported 2 hours ago. The Quarter is US’s 25 cent coin.
Maya who died in 2014 was the first Black woman to write and perform a poem at a Presidential inauguration.
Janet Yellen, current US Secretary of Treasury and first woman to occupy that position has hailed this action stating that each time the nation redesigns her currency, it marked an opportunity to say something about the values and progress of America.
Maya who died at 86, was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. She published more than 30 very popular works, including seven autobiographies. Her remarkable autobiographical work, I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, published in 1969 has been described as a ground-breaking effort that stamped her on the limelight. Angelou received more than 30 awards and at least 50 honorary degrees.
Portrayed on the coin with an ‘open, outstretched arms’, the US Secretary Department says the rising sun and flying bird behind Angelou on the coin, speak to inspiration of her poetry and the symbolism of her life.
The BBC says, “The US Mint plans to issue 20 more quarters over the next four years, depicting other American women who played important roles in the country’s history.”
Martha Washington, the first US First Lady, featured on $1 silver certificate in the 19th century.
Beyond her literary fecundity and iconic activism, Angelou had an awesome, amazing spirit, and was so widely loved. Her life and works, greatly captured her beliefs, personal principles and philosophical predilections, all of which have found concrete expressions in her plethora of quotes. Just yesterday, I had chats with two of her fans, Dionne Obodo and Nelly Ralf Rangnick Sylva reflecting on the profundity of Angelou’s quotes. I consider Angelou a distinctive humanist and existential philosopher.
•Source: Facebook; Photo Credit: BBC, Google