House leaders joined forces with the U.S. Postal Service to reveal a commemorative stamp paying tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis on Wednesday, June 21. The unveiling occurred during a special event held at Capitol Hill.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Linda Earley Chastang, Lewis’ former chief of staff, were the prominent figures present.
According to a press release from the Postal Service, the stamp showcases a photograph of Lewis captured by Marco Grob for Time magazine in 2013.
The design also incorporates a 1963 image taken by Steve Schapiro outside a nonviolent protest workshop, featured in the selvage or margin of the stamp pane.
Officials called the combination of photographs a poignant reminder of Lewis’ tireless commitment to civil rights and his instrumental role in the nonviolent protest movement.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, addressing the gathering, announced that the official dedication ceremony for the John Lewis Forever stamp is scheduled for July 21 at Morehouse College in Atlanta. DeJoy shared plans to rename Atlanta’s main post office in honor of the late congressman, acknowledging Lewis’ immeasurable contributions to the nation. “Our nation certainly benefited from his fearlessness and his unfailing willingness to get into good trouble,” DeJoy stated.
McCarthy emphasized the significance of Lewis’ actions during the introduction of President Barack Obama at the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, back in 2015.
McCarthy, a Republican from California, acknowledged the power of Lewis’ words and how they transcended party lines. “I may be in a different party; I may have different views, but I’m an American,” McCarthy asserted. “I got goosebumps and tears thinking how far we had come and thinking that John Lewis led the march on that bridge and led the introduction that day.”
Jeffries, the Democratic Representative from New York, expressed his belief that the stamp would forever symbolize Lewis’ significant contributions and serve as a tribute to his unwavering dedication as the conscience of Congress.
He called Lewis one of the country’s greatest sons and deemed it fitting for such an influential figure to be recognized with a Forever stamp.
Lewis, a Democrat representing Georgia, served in the House of Representatives from 1987 until his passing on July 17, 2020, at 80, after battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Known as the “conscience of Congress,” Lewis dedicated his life to advocating for peaceful protests and equality. An original member of the Freedom Riders, Lewis played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, enduring brutal violence when Alabama state troopers fractured his skull during the infamous “Bloody Sunday” incident in Selma in 1965.
In July 2020, Lewis became the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol, a testament to his indelible mark on American history.
Even after his passing, his words have continued to inspire and motivate, as evidenced by his 2020 New York Times op-ed, where he urged others to carry the torch and fight for their beliefs.
His famous phrase, “good trouble,” remains a rallying cry for those seeking equality and justice.
Postal officials said the John Lewis Forever stamp is a lasting tribute to a remarkable individual who dedicated his life to making the United States a better place for all its citizens.
Stacy M. Brown is the NNPA Newswire senior national correspondent.