On Friday, October 13, 2017, the United States Postal Service will start selling a forever stamp featuring the Smithsonian National Museum of African American and Culture. A party at the museum on the National Mall will commemorate the release with the stamp being available at all United States post offices later in the day.
African American Postage Stamps – New Addition to the Forever Stamp Collection
Officials hope that the forever stamp will help people remember the important role that African Americans have played in the development of the United States and the rest of the world. Antonio Alcalà designed the stamp featuring a photo taken by Alan Karchmer. Simple text in the upper left-hand corner of these African American postage stamps reads National Museum of African American History and Culture. The United States Postal Service gave no explanation for the delay in releasing the stamp that was originally slated to happen on September 24, 2017, on the first anniversary of the museum.
Individuals must have an invitation to get into the standing-room-only release of these African American postage stamps. Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Government Relations Officer Ronald A. Stroman and Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture will both address crowds on that day. They are likely to address important contributions that African Americans have made in the development of the United States.
Not the First Time African American Heritage Is Honored on U.S. Stamps
While the release of the African American postage stamps may further the understanding of the role that people of color played in the country’s development, it is not the first time that the United States Postal Service has released stamps featuring African Americans. The first African American featured on a United States postage stamp was Booker T. Washington in 1940. George Washington Carver became the second African American featured on his own stamp in 1948. Stamps featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass and Archer Alexander followed them. Artists drew likenesses of these individuals for these stamps.
Since 1978, the United States Postal Service has released stamps as part of their Black Heritage Series. The idea to release these stamps began in Queens, New York, as a committee meeting to plan the Bicentennial of the United States. Like the current forever African American postage stamps, the committee proposed creating stamps to commemorate the important role that African Americans have played in the development of the United States. The first person commemorated was Harriet Tubman who helped more than 300 slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. The postal service releases these stamps during National Black History Month each February. In 2017, the stamp paid tribute to Dorothy Height who worked fearlessly to improve the lives of African American women.
A special reception at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American and Culture will herald the release of the stamp bearing a photograph of the museum on the National Mall. The United States Postal Service hopes the stamp will remind people of the important contributions African Americans have played in the development of the United States. It is not the first stamp featuring African Americans and their important roles in society. In order to stay up-to-date on news, subscribe to our newsletter.