Award-winning playwright August Wilson is the newest face of the U.S. Postal Services’ Black Heritage stamp. The USPS dedicated the 44th stamp in the Black Heritage series to the late icon in a virtual ceremony on Thursday (January 28).
“Wilson is a trailblazer who brought fresh perspectives and previously unheard voices to the stage,” said dedicating official Joshua Colin, vice president, Delivery Operations, U.S. Postal Service.
Between 1982 and 2005, Wilson wrote his acclaimed “American Century Cycle” series of 10 plays, with one play for each decade of the 20th century. Each play had been produced on Broadway, including “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Fences” (which he wrote while living in Minnesota).
Ceremony attendees included Constanza Romero, trustee of the August Wilson Trust and widow of August Wilson; Sakina Ansari, daughter of August Wilson; Phylicia Rashad, actor, director; and Stephen McKinley Henderson, actor and associate artistic director for Wilson’s American Century Cycle recordings.
“August Wilson was a literary master. He understood the inherent power of language,” said Rashad. “I am overjoyed that the Postal Service has selected this inspired playwright as its 44th honoree in the coveted Black Heritage stamp series.”
The stamp features an oil painting of Wilson based on a 2005 photograph, with a picket fence added behind him. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with art by Tim O’Brien.
The new Black Heritage Forever stamp comes in panes of 20 and is now available in Post Office locations nationwide and online at usps.com/wilsonstamp. Press play below to watch the full dedication ceremony.
Stephenetta Harmon is a Black beauty editor, curator, and digital media and communications expert who builds platforms to celebrate the power, impact, and business of Black beauty. She is the former EIC for Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (2018-19) and current host of MSR Forefront, a digital roundtable series. She is the founder of Sadiaa Black Beauty Guide, the premier directory dedicated to Black-owned hair and beauty businesses. Find her at stephenetta.com.