The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is kicking off Black History Month with a series of stamps featuring Blacks who made signicant contributions to the Black experience in the US.

Black Heritage: Shirley Chisholm (Forever) — January 31, 2014

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is kicking off Black History Month with a limited edition stamp honoring Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.  Chisholm ran for Congress in 1968 and won. In 1972, she sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency becoming the first African American to seek a major party’s nomination. She ended up on the ballot in 14 states. Chisholm was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a co-founder of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

Shirley Chisholm Stamps

Shirley Chisholm Stamps

Ralph Ellison 91¢ 3-ounce rate — February 18, 2014

The 29th stamp in the Literary Arts series honors author Ralph Ellison (1913 – 1994).

With his 1952 novel Invisible Man, Ellison drew on a wide range of narrative and cultural traditions, shedding vivid light on the African- American experience while setting a new benchmark for all American novelists.

The stamp art is an oil-on-panel painting featuring a portrait of Ellison based on a black-and-white photograph by Gordon Parks, a renowned staff photographer for Life magazine. The background of the stamp art shows a Harlem street at twilight.

Ralph Ellison STamp

Ralph Ellison STamp

Jimi Hendrix Music Icon (Forever) — March 13, 2014

Jimi Hendrix will join the growing list of Music Icons honored by the USPS, joining 2013 honorees Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash, and Ray Charles, and 2014 honoree Janis Joplin.

Despite being unable to read or write music, Hendrix is widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century. Born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle, he took an interest in music, drawing influence from virtually every major artist at the time, including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Holly, and Robert Johnson. Before his father bought him his first stringed instrument–a ukelele–and later an acoustic guitar, the young Jimi Hendrix first ‘practiced’ by strumming an old broom.

After serving as a “Screaming Eagles” paratrooper in the U.S. Army and being discharged following an injury, he embarked on a musical career that vaulted him into stardom and made The Jimi Hendrix Experience one of most popular and highest grossing touring acts in the world.

Jimi Hendrix Stamp

Jimi Hendrix Stamp

C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson — March 13, 2014

The 70-cent First-Class Mail two-ounce rate stamp features C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson. This pioneering African-American aviator played a crucial role during World War II in training the nation’s first black military pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen.

The stamp, the 15th in the Distinguished Americans series, is based on a photograph of Anderson in the 1942 yearbook of the Tuskegee Institute’s flight training school in Tuskegee, Alabama. The artist added headgear used by pilots in World War II.

C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson Stamp

C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson Stamp

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