Black America from Civil War to Civil Rights

Black Heritage Stamp Series Controversies

The Black Heritage series has occasionally drawn criticism, especially when it has depicted individuals who espoused controversial political ideologies.

29¢ W. E. B. Du Bois approved stamp art by Higgins Bond, c. 1992

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Targeted during the McCarthy era for his socialist views, W. E. B. Du Bois accepted Ghanaian citizenship and formally joined the Communist Party at the age of 93. Some critics felt that this should have prevented his appearance on a U.S. stamp.

Loan from the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General's Collection

 

33¢ Malcolm X concept stamp art by Chris Calle, c. 1999

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Criticism of the 1999 Black Heritage stamp honoring Malcom X centered on his early association with the Nation of Islam and his controversial view that blacks should advance civil rights “by any means necessary,” including violence.

Loan from the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General's Collection

 

37¢ Paul Robeson concept stamp art by Albert Slark, c. 2004

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Actor and singer Paul Robeson was attracted to communism in the 1930s, when many saw the Soviet Union as the only major world power opposed to Hitler’s rise in Germany. He remained an outspoken supporter of Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and Soviet communism until his death.

Loan from the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General's Collection