The U.S. Postal Service kicked off this year's Black History Month observances by dedicating the Dorothy Height Forever stamp at a ceremony at Howard University.
The 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Height, a tireless activist, who dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. She became one of the most influential civil and women's rights leaders of the 20th century.
"The Postal Service is proud to honor civil rights icon Dorothy Height, an American treasure, whose illustrious career spanned almost a century," said Ronald Stroman, deputy postmaster general and chief government relations officer, who dedicated the stamp.
Dorothy Height Forever stamp
"The Dorothy Height Forever stamp will serve as a lasting tribute to her life and legacy of seeking equality and justice for all Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender or race," he added.
The stamp features artist Thomas Blackshear II's portrait of Height. The painting is based on a photograph shot by Lateef Mangum in 2009. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.
In 1963, the Height-led National Council of Negro Women joined the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. Height was an architect of the August 1963 March on Washington, where she shared the stage with Martin Luther King Jr. It was Height who pushed to include a voice of youth like John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and insisted on no time limits for King's speech.
Gender equality also was important to Height, who fought for the rights of women, particularly women of color. President John F. Kennedy named her to his Commission on the Status of Women, which was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. Height attended the 1963 White House ceremony where Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. In 1971, she helped form the National Women's Political Caucus.
In 1977, Height officially retired from the Young Women's Christian Association, for which she worked for 40 years. In addition to numerous honorary degrees, Height received the nation's two highest civilian honors. In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A decade later, President George W. Bush presented her with the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2009, she was a guest of Barack Obama when he was sworn in as the nation's 44th president.
The stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. The public can share the news of the new stamp using the hashtags #DorothyHeightForever and #BlackHeritageStamps.
Customers may purchase the stamp at: usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store: usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (782-6724) and at post offices nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at: ebay.com/stamps.
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local post offices, at the Postal Store: usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724.
They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to: FDOI - Dorothy Height, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, 8300 N.E. Underground Drive, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64144-9900.
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each.
All orders must be postmarked by April 1.
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at: usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to: U.S. Postal Service, Catalog Request, P.O. Box 219014, Kansas City, MO 64121-9014.
Phil Wiebold is a spokesman for U.S. Postal Service