stamp collage

America has a conflicted relationship with committed Black leaders or social icons. She typically views them as threatening, arranges her financial, political and law enforcement agencies to neutralize or kill them, and then portrays them as “patriotic Americans” long after their demise.

This occurs because these conservative forces view Black liberators as “safe” and unable to stir up trouble once dead.

Therefore it is not uncommon to find the very people this country once defined as enemies of the state with their likenesses on U.S. postage stamps after their death.

This distinguished list includes Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Ella Baker, James Baldwin, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, and Dr. King.

Some will say this results from grassroots pressure to recognize Black historical figures. There is obvious truth to this.

Yet this delayed recognition of Black path-makers speaks to America’s…

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