The Black Heritage Series—a U.S. Postal Service initiative started in 1978—seeks to honor prominent African Americans who have contributed to American culture through civic and intellectual involvement. My post, today, reflects on the seven black literary figures featured in this series. The seven black novelists—James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Oscar Micheaux, W.E.B. Dubois, and Charles W. Chesnutt—are novelists in the HBW collections as well.
The different renderings of these artists and artistic background of each stamp represents an aspect of each of the novelists personalities. For instance, the cityscape behind James Baldwin seems to suggest a connection to Harlem and New York in general. In a similar fashion, W.E.B. DuBois is looking off at a distance similar to his character poses. Therefore, taking the visual representations of these writers into consideration is important given the manner in which they have been framed in the public’s historical imaginations through these stamps.