The U.S. Postal Service today celebrated the life and legacy of Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020), an American hero and key figure in some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, by issuing a Forever stamp with his portrait.
A dedication ceremony for the stamp was held today at Morehouse College.
News about the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #JohnLewis. Followers of the Postal Service’s YouTube page can view the ceremony live at John Lewis Commemorative Forever® Stamp Dedication Ceremony – YouTube. An additional video will be posted two hours after the ceremony providing more information and insights in telling the story of this stamp on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages at facebook.com/USPS, and twitter.com/usps.
“Look carefully at how the shadow falls on the right side of his face, illuminating the left side, in a way that seems to take the viewer from darkness into the light. A fitting tribute to a man who sought to awaken the conscience of a country,” said Ronald A. Stroman, a member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors and dedicating official for the stamp. “The Postal Service is proud to celebrate Lewis — a national treasure — and to honor his legacy with the tribute of this Forever stamp that is as beautiful visually as was the spirit of the man whose image it bears.”
Joining Stroman for the ceremony were mistress of ceremonies Alfre Woodard, activist; Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., professor and founding dean, Martin Luther King, Jr., International Chapel at Morehouse College; John-Miles Lewis, son of John Lewis; Henry M. Goodgame Jr., vice president of external relations and alumni engagement; Linda Earley Chastang, president and chief executive officer of the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation; Michael Collins, chair of the board for the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation; U.S. Raphael Warnock; Peggy Wallace Kennedy, civil rights activist and author; and Bill Campbell, and Shirley Franklin, former mayors of Atlanta.
“As an avid collector, stamps were important to Congressman John Lewis who always made sure he purchased stamps on their first day of issue,” said Collins. “We are deeply grateful to the United States Postal Service for recognizing the congressman with this official Forever stamp, a testament to the indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment of a true American hero. The congressman was a treasured civil rights icon and a timeless advocate for justice, equality, and human rights. This commemorative stamp serves as a timeless reminder of his remarkable legacy and the enduring impact of his lifelong dedication to the betterment of our society. May it inspire and encourage all Americans to continue the necessary work and the ‘good trouble’ of building a more just and inclusive nation.”
Also, participating in the stamp dedication ceremony were Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir; dancer Logan Byrd; and vocalists Dottie Peoples, Bettie Mae Fikes, and Victory Brinker.
The stamp features a photograph of Lewis taken by Marco Grob for the Aug. 26, 2013, issue of Time Magazine. Lewis’s name is at the bottom of the stamp. The words “USA” and “Forever” appear in the stamp’s top left corner. Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the stamp.
The John Lewis Forever stamp is available in panes of 15. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
Background on John Lewis
A key figure in some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, John Lewis was the face of the Nashville Student Movement, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an original Freedom Rider, and one of the keynote speakers at the historic 1963 March on Washington. Even in the face of hatred and violence, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call “good trouble.”
Devoted to equality and justice for all Americans, Lewis spent more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he helped achieve in the 1960s. He was a staunch and unwavering believer in and advocate for nonviolent protests. The recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees, he was called a “saint” by Time magazine and “the conscience of the Congress” by his colleagues.
He served as executive director of the Voter Education Project; as associate director of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency that oversaw the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA); and as a member of the Atlanta City Council. He was also the author of several bestselling books, including the “March” comic book series and the inspiring autobiography “Walking With the Wind.”
Elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, Lewis garnered the support needed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1991, sponsored the legislation that created the 54-mile Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail, and worked for more than a decade to establish the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide. For officially licensed stamp products, shop the USPS Officially Licensed Collection on Amazon.