WASHINGTON, July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Well-known author James Baldwin, whose works explore race relations, as well as the arts and human relationships, was honored today when the U.S. Postal Service dedicated a new commemorative postage stamp in its Literary Arts stamp series. The ceremony was held in the Langston Hughes Auditorium of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040723/DCF028 ) "His writings are a demonstration of his love for all of us. Baldwin wrote with great honesty and passion. You can almost feel his need to explore the hard truths of our society," said Henry Pankey, vice president, Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Postal Service, who dedicated the stamp. "Sometimes, it almost hurts to read his poignant poems, essays, books and plays." World-renowned author and actor Dr. Maya Angelou, and poet and author Amiri Baraka, delivered tributes to Baldwin. Actor Avery Brooks served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included actor Ossie Davis, acclaimed star of stage, film and television; Ruby Dee, actor, writer and producer; Howard Dodson, Chief, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Reverend Doctor Samuel Joubert, Sr., Pastor Emeritus, Community Baptist Church, Bayside, NY. The incomparable Boys Choir of Harlem; Odetta, folk music's grand-dame, and actor; and singer Jerry Dixon provided musical selections. Stamp artist Thomas Blackshear II based his portrait of Baldwin on a black-and-white photograph taken around 1960, probably in New York. The stamp background is evocative of Baldwin's novel "Go Tell It on the Mountain," set in Harlem, and is based on a photograph by Berenice Abbot taken in Harlem in 1938. To see the James Baldwin stamp and other images from the 2004 Commemorative Stamp Program, visit the Postal Store at http://www.usps.com/shop and click on "Release Schedule" in the Collector's Corner. Current U.S. stamps, as well as a free comprehensive catalog, are available by toll-free phone order at 1 800 STAMP-24. A wide selection of stamps and other philatelic items is also available at the Postal Store at http://www.usps.com/shop. Beautifully framed prints of original stamp art for delivery straight to the home or office are available at http://www.postalartgallery.com. Since 1775, the U.S. Postal Service has connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency, the Postal Service makes deliveries to more than 141 million addresses every day and is the only service provider to deliver to every address in the nation. The Postal Service receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual revenues of more than $68 billion, it is the world's leading provider of mail and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world. Moreover, today's postage rates will remain stable until at least 2006. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world's mail volume -- some 202 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year -- and serves seven million customers each day at its 38,000 retail locations nationwide.
SOURCE U.S. Postal Service