US Coins

Mint completes roster for 2022 quarter dollars

Wilma Mankiller, Adelina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong will join Dr. Sally Ride and Maya Angelou as subjects of the five 2022 American Women quarter dollars.

Proposed designs for the Mankiller, Otero-Warren and Wong coins were to be reviewed June 16 and 17 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and June 18 by the Commission of Fine Arts.

Proposed designs for the coins celebrating Ride, the nation’s first female astronaut, and Angelou, a noted poet, book author, playwright, television and movie screenwriter and civil rights activist, have already been reviewed and recommended by the CCAC and CFA to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for final approval.

Mankiller became the Cherokee Nation’s first woman to serve as principal chief on Dec. 14, 1985. Otero-Warren was the first Hispanic woman to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in 1922, and the first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wong was the first Chinese American movie star in Hollywood in a career that would span more than four decades.

U.S. Mint officials have not yet disclosed in what order the five 2022 American Women quarter dollars will be issued.

Wilma Mankiller

According to the National Women’s History Museum, Mankiller was born on Nov. 18, 1945, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.

Mankiller’s social activism was triggered in 1969 when a group of Native American Indians took over the federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and laid claim to it by “right of discovery” to expose the suffering of American Indians.

“... When Alcatraz occurred, I became aware of what needed to be done to let the rest of the world know that Indians had rights, too,” Mankiller is quoted as saying.

Mankiller was elected in 1985 to serve a the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief, holding that position for the next 10 years after first serving as deputy chief.

Mankiller guided a sovereign nation whose population more than doubled, from 68,000 to 170,000, during her tenure as principal chief. Mankiller is credited with revitalizing  the Cherokee Nation’s tribal government, and advocated relentlessly for improved education, healthcare, and housing services. Under her leadership, infant mortality declined, and educational achievement rose in the Cherokee Nation.

“She was a consensus builder, working with the federal government to pilot a self-government agreement for the Cherokee Nation and with the Environmental Protection Agency,” according to the National Women’s History Museum. “As the tribe’s leader, she was both the principal guardian of centuries of Cherokee tradition and customs, including legal codes, and chief executive of a tribe with a budget that reached $150 million a year by the end of her tenure.”

Mankiller died on Aug. 14, 1995.

Adelina Otero-Warren

María Adelina Isabel Emilia Otero was born on Oct. 23, 1881, near Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Her travels before returning to Santa Fe in 1914 took her to New York City where she became heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement, stressing the need to advocate for suffrage in Spanish as well as English. Otero-Warren insisted that suffrage materials be published in both languages to reach the large population of Spanish-speaking women in New Mexico.

Otero-Warren was elected vice-chair in 1916 of the newly formed New Mexican branch of the Congressional Union, soon to be the National Woman’s Party.

When the chair relinquished the post in 1917, Otero-Warren took over the role at the request of NWP leader Alice Paul. Otero-Warren used her political connections and leverage to campaign for woman’s suffrage and to forcefully lobby the state legislature to ratify the 19th Amendment, which it did on Feb. 21, 1920.

Three years earlier, Otero-Warren was appointed superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, and elected in 1918, holding the position until 1929.

During her tenure, Otero-Warren concentrated on promoting adult education programs, established a county high school, raised teacher standards as well as their salaries, and improved the physical conditions of schools.

“Fueled by her pride in her Spanish cultural heritage, she opposed the federal government’s trend toward assimilating non-Anglos into white America,” according to the National Women’s History Museum. “She encouraged bicultural education and fought to preserve the study of Hispano arts and crafts.”

She died in 1965.

Anna May Wong

Wong’s career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage, and radio, from 1919 until her death at age 56 in 1961.

Frustrated by the stereotypical supporting roles she reluctantly played in Hollywood, Wong left for Europe in the late 1920s, where she starred in several notable plays and films, and spent the first half of the 1930s traveling between the United States and Europe for film and stage work.

She was often passed over for the lead roles, and she rejected roles that portrayed Asian Americans in a negative light.

She paid less attention to her film career during World War II, when she devoted her time and money to help the Chinese cause against Japan.

Wong returned to the public eye in the 1950s in several television appearances.

In 1951, Wong made history with her television show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first-ever U.S. television show starring an Asian American series lead.

Wong had planned to return to film in Flower Drum Song when she died in 1961, at the age of 56, from a heart attack. 

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