USA Black Heritage on Stamps

The United States of America issued on an yearly basis since 1978 single stamps from the Black Heritage series. With 41 single stamps published to date (2018), it is one of the longest living series of stamps not only from the USA, but from the entire world. It was meant from the very beginning as a commemoration of the individuals who helped advance social causes, not necessarily of the African American communities, and at the same time it was a very successful attempt at recuperating the unwritten, and sometimes overlooked history of the African American communities.

In addition, the stamps tell also an interesting story about the evolution of the post stamp. The first issues are issued as gummed paper, whereas more recent ones are self-adhesive. The value of the stamps is also increased during the time of issue of Black Heritage stamps several times (tripling the initial value). There are some important figures to know about the Black Heritage stamps.

Quick Facts about USA Black Heritage on Stamps

No. of stamps issued until 2018: 41

No. of men: 25 | No. of women: 16 | Longest streak of women being pictured on the Black Heritage Stamps: 3 (between 2005 and 2007)

No. of gummed stamps: 19 | No. of self-adhesive stamps: 22 (since 1996)

Face value price increases: 13¢ (1978); 15¢ (1979-1981); 20¢ (1982-1984); 22¢ (1985-1988); 25¢ (1989-1990); 29¢ (1991-1993); 32¢ (1994-1997); 33¢ (1998-1999); 34¢ (2000-2002); 37¢ (2003-2005); 39¢ (2006-2007); 41¢ (2008); 44¢ (2009-2010); invariable Forever value (2011-present).

Who are the people pictured on the USA Black Heritage Stamps?

001_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 1978 – Harriet Tubman – abolitionist and woman’s suffragette movement advocate; 1979 – Martin Luther King Jr. – minister, Nobel Prize winner; 1980 – Benjamin Bannecker – mathematician and astronomer; 1981 – Whitney Moore Young – social welfare activist; 1982 – Jackie Robinson – first non-white person to enter major league baseball; 1983 – Scott Joplin – ragtime composer.

002_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 1984 – Carter G. Woodson – historian and advocate of Black History Week; 1985 – Mary McLeod Bethune – presidential advisor; 1986 – Sojourner Truth – abolitionist and women’s rights activist; 1987 – Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable – founder of the city of Chicago; 1988 – James Weldon Johnson – attorney and Harlem Renaissance representative; 1989 – A. Philip Randolph – minority labor advocate.

003_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 1990 – Ida B. Wells – educator; 1991 – Jan E. Matzeliger – inventor; 1992 – W.E.B. du Bois – historian and educator; 1993 – Percy Lavon Julian – chemical doctor; 1994 – Allison Davis – psychologist; 1995 – Bessie Coleman – pilot.

004_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 1996 – Ernest E. Just – marine biologist; 1997 – Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. – WWII military general; 1998 – Madam C. J. Walker – self-made businesswoman; 1999 – Malcolm X – preacher; 2000 – Patricia Roberts Harris – American ambassador; 2001 – Roy Wilkins – education activist.

005_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 2002 – Langston Hughes – poet; 2003 – Thurgood Marshall – Supreme Court judge; 2004 – Paul Robeson – civil rights activist; 2005 – Marian Anderson – opera singer; 2006 – Hattie McDaniel – actress; 2007 – Ella Fitzgerald – jazz singer.

006_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 2008 – Charles W. Chestnutt – novelist; 2009 – Anna Julia Cooper – activist; 2010 – Oscar Micheaux – director; 2011 – Barbara Jordan – Texas State senator; 2012 – John H. Johnson – Ebony publisher; 2013 – Althea Gibson – tennis player and Wimbledon winner.

007_Black_Heritage_US_Stamps

Pictured above: 2014 – Shirley Chisholm – the first non-white Congress woman; 2015 – Robert Robinson Taylor – architect; 2016 – Richard Allen – bishop and civil rights movement advocate; 2017 – Dorothy Height – women’s rights advocate; 2018 – Lena Horne – singer.


Stamps featured in post: 41; Period: modern (1978-2018); Pricing: low; Availability: some of the older items are becoming scarce; it is hard to assemble the whole up to date collection.

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