As the nation formally recognizes the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, the United States Postal Service has issued a special commemorative stamp to honor the event.
The stamp was unveiled at a First Day of Issuance ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The USPS, for the first time, allowed the public to help unveil the artwork for the new stamp. Throughout this month the public could add their photo to the March on Washington stamp on the U.S. Postal Service’s Stamps Facebook page to help reveal a small piece of the stamp. Actress Gabrielle Union added her Twitter profile to the mosaic to reveal the final piece of the 1963 March on Washington stamp.
Joining Ms. Union at the unveiling were Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the last surviving speaker at the March, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund President and CEO Wade Henderson; U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr.; and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman.
“It is so appropriate and so fitting for the United States Postal Service to issue this Forever stamp on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington,” said Lewis. “The march was one of the turning points in the on-going struggle for civil rights and social justice in America. In the years to come, when individuals use this stamp, they will be reminded of the distance we have come and the progress we have made as a nation. And they will be reminded of the civic duty of every American to stand up for what is right in our democracy.”
“It’s an honor to be here in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and dedicate a stamp that commemorates what Dr. King described as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” said Stroman. “The U.S. Postal Service takes pride in being able to recognize historic events by issuing these limited-edition stamps commemorating the ‘Best of America.’”
The 1963 March on Washington stamp is the last of three stamps issued this year as part of a civil rights series commemorating courage, strength and equality in America. The first Forever stamp marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in January, while the second Forever stamp honored Rosa Parks on the 100th anniversary of her birth in February.
An inspiring word appears in large type in the selvage of each civil rights stamp pane: “Freedom” on the Emancipation Proclamation stamp sheet. “Courage” on the Rosa Parks stamp sheet and “Equality on the 1963 March on Washington stamp sheet.
Under the art direction of Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, stamp artist Gregory Manchess of New York City, depicts marchers against the background of the Washington Monument. Placards calling for equal rights and jobs for all — two principal themes of the march — are prominently displayed. Using broad strokes and painting with oils on gessoed illustration board, Manchess conveys an impressionistic effect of the historic occasion.
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. New stamps may be purchased at your local Post Office, at the Postal Store website at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. Customers should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
March on Washington Stamp
P.O. Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the price is 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Oct. 23, 2013.