Actress Whoopi Goldberg and late poet Maya Angelou (Getty/Gary Gershoff/Mathew Imaging)
Whoopi Goldberg has argued that iconic poet Maya Angelou deserves better after it was revealed the late activist has become the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter.
Indeed, the US mint is now shipping quarters featuring the image of Angelou as part of a series of currency that will pay homage to pioneering American women.
The quarter’s design shows Angelou stretching her arms out, with a rising sun and a bird in flight behind her – inspired by her poetry and “symbolic of the way she lived” her life.
After it was announced that the late icon would appear on the currency, which went into circulation on Monday (10 January), The View co-host Goldberg argued that the poet and activist should feature on a much higher currency.
I’ve never been more excited to get a quarter https://t.co/GC2IxNP8FD
— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) January 11, 2022
Whoopi Goldberg stated on Tuesday (11 January): “I want to point out that, not too long ago, we were expecting to have Harriet Tubman gracing the $20 bill, remember that?
“But now it looks like the price has been slashed to a quarter, because now we have Maya Angelou on a quarter. And having Maya anywhere is a magnificent thing.”
The Sister Act actress added: “But come on, America! You don’t think this is gonna make folks feel a little bit uncomfortable? We were on a $20 bill and now you have all of these powerful women, and you put them all on quarters? Come on!”
Angelou died in 2014 at the age of 86 and was best known for her groundbreaking autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
The legendary poet was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2010.
Under the “historic” American Women Quarters coin programme, the US mint will issue 20 quarters over the next four years to commemorate the contribution of American women in shaping the country’s history.
These include physicist and first woman astronaut Sally Ride and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.
Other honourees include Nina Otero-Warren, a leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, and Wilma Mankiller, the first woman principal chief of Cherokee Nation, the federally recognised Cherokee tribe.
More of the coins will start shipping later this year and through 2025, according to the US Mint.