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ST. LOUIS – A phenomenal woman who St. Louis claims as one of its own is Maya Angelou. She was born in a house on Hickory Street in 1928. She recently became the first Black woman to appear on the U.S. quarter.

Shipments from the U.S. Mint are already out as a part of the American Women Quarters Program. Angelou was the first woman out of five featured in the series of quarters bearing the faces of trailblazers. You can see her on the coin with her arms outstretched and rays of sunlight shining over her. The author and poet wrote words exuding confidence and dignity. She was also a civil rights activist. President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010. Before that, she was the first Black woman to write and recite a poem at the presidential inauguration for President Bill Clinton. Her catalog of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction has earned her 30 best-selling titles.

As Angelou said in one of her most famous poems, “I rise, bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”

Blair’s Black History Moment highlights the history, success, and contributions of African Americans, both past and present, across the St. Louis region. If you would like to highlight a part of Black History dear to the St. Louis area, please send an email to as we recognize people, places, and events crucial to building the St. Louis community.