What is the Black Heritage Stamp Series?




Althea Gibson


Althea Gibson Stamp

The 36th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Althea Gibson (1927–2003), a pioneering tennis player who became the first black Wimbledon champion. The tall, lean Gibson was fast, had a long reach, and relied on a booming serve and precise volleys. She blazed a trail for a future generation of African-American players, such as Arthur Ashe and sisters Venus and Serena Williams.

The oil-on-wood painting featured on the stamp is based on a photograph—taken at Wimbledon—of Gibson bending down to hit a low volley. The first black tennis player to win one of the four major singles tournaments, Gibson helped integrate her sport at the height of the civil rights movement. She twice won Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships (now known as the U.S. Open) and became the top-ranked player in the world.

This is the 36th stamp in the Black Heritage series.

John H. Johnson


John H. Johnson Stamp

With the 35th stamp in the Black Heritage series, the Postal Service honors John H. Johnson, the trailblazing publisher of Ebony, Jet, and other magazines, as part of the Black Heritage series.

Johnson overcame poverty and racism to build a business empire embracing magazines, radio stations, cosmetics, and more.

The issue date of this Forever stamp is January 31, 2012.

Barbara Jordan


Barbara Jordan Stamp

With the 34th stamp in the Black Heritage series, the Postal Service honors Barbara Jordan, one of the most respected and influential American politicians of the 20th century. The stamp goes on sale in September.

Her prodigious list of “firsts” includes being the first African-American woman elected to the Texas legislature, the first African- American elected to the Texas State Senate since 1883, and the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the South.

She captured the attention and admiration of the nation with her intelligence and integrity, her ardent patriotism and steadfast dedication to public service, and her eloquent oratory and charismatic leadership.

This Forever stamp was issued September 16, 2011.

Oscar Micheaux


Oscar Micheaux Stamp

The 33rd stamp in the Black Heritage series honors pioneering filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, who wrote, directed, produced, and distributed more than 40 movies during the first half of the 20th century. An ambitious, larger-than-life figure, Micheaux thrived at a time when African-American filmmakers were rare, venues for their work were scarce, and support from the industry did not exist. Micheaux’s entrepreneurial spirit and independent vision continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers and artists.

The 44-cent stamp was issued June 22, 2010. 

Anna Julia Cooper


Anna Julia Cooper stamp

Anna Julia Cooper (c.1858-1964), an educator, scholar, feminist, and activist, gave voice to the African-American community during the 19th and 20th centuries - from the end of slavery to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

This 44-cent stamp was issued June 11, 2009, and is the 32nd stamp in the Black Heritage Stamp Series.<

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