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Special Tribute CoinArt: Maya Angelou

Pamela Grimes

Posted on August 26 2022

We recently received a request from Warner Brothers Media to create a very special CoinArt as a thank you gift to members serving on their Equity and Inclusion Committee. The request – to incorporate the 2022 Maya Angelou Quarter displayed along-side a photo of Maya Angelou and one of her inspiring quotes. This stunning quarter is the first in the American Women Quarters Program (silver proof shown below). It depicts Maya Angelou with her arms uplifted along with a bird in flight and a rising sun . . . images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived.

Maya Angelou was such a force – a larger than life writer, poet, lecturer and civil rights activist. Before starting this project, I was familiar with some of Maya Angelou’s quotes and remembered that she recited her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. However, the more I researched Maya Angelou, the more I discovered about this inspiring American icon. Here’s just a few interesting facts I learned along the way:

  • At just 16 years of age, she was the first black woman to conduct a cable car in San Francisco. Turns out, she just LOVED the uniforms with the caps and form-fitting jackets.
  • Maya Angelou was raped when she was 7 years old by her mother’s boyfriend. Due to the trauma, she didn’t speak for the next five years.
  • Maya was six feet tall and began her career as a singer and dancer. She joined the touring company for Porgy and Bess which allowed her to discover Europe and learn French, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian and Fante (a dialect of Akan native to Ghana).
  • Maya was inspired and actually met Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960. He was assassinated on her 40th birthday, April 4, 1968. For years, she didn’t celebrate her birthday but communicated with and sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King.
  • A passionate cook, Maya Angelou authored two cookbooks. She shared recipes that connected her to specific memories, moments in time, places and people.

Back to the project, we searched and found the perfect photograph by Bob Ponzoni, purchased a limited use license and incorporated one of her most famous quotes, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” Each photograph was customized with the recipient’s name, providing a personalized touch. We then added a special letter of thanks from Warner Brothers and packaged each frame in a two-piece black gift box (shown bottom right).

We would like to thank Warner Brothers for entrusting us with this project. It allowed me to do a little self-reflection and I discovered everything this woman had to endure. Not only that, she rose above it and provides us with so many wonderful words to live by. One of my favorites is, “Be a Rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Maya Angelou was certainly that Rainbow.

If you are interested in this truly unique tribute to Maya Angelou, please reach out to us at

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