The Black Heritage Series offered by the United States Post Office began in 1978 with a stamp honoring Harriet Tubman. The series of postage stamps recognizes the achievements of prominent African Americans, with the most recent addition being the 35th in the Black Heritage series. Legendary civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, is the newest Black Heritage honoree.
A ceremony celebrating the unveiling of the new stamp is scheduled for Feb.4, on what would have been Parks’ 100th birthday, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Another commemorative ceremony will be held on that day the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Each year, the U.S. postmaster general determines a Black Heritage honoree after taking suggestions from the public, according to Roy Betts, a spokesman for the postal service.
Over the last 36 years, the Black Heritage Series has featured outstanding individuals, such as Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, and Mary McLeod Bethune, and others who helped shape American culture through their involvement in science, technology, education, and social action.
According to Carl A. Walton, Greensboro, NC district communications coordinator for the United States Postal Service, “The series was created to ensure the contribution of African-Americans in this country would be represented at least once each year, and it has inspired stamps of great prominence ever since.”
Despite unfounded rumors that the series was to be discontinued, the Black Heritage Series continues to inform and inspire.
From this collection of postage stamps issued in recognition of the achievements of African Americans, take a look at 10 notable men and women.
Information for this list was obtained from The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER), an international stamp society that promotes the collecting of African Americans on stamps and the collecting of stamps by African Americans.