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The sacrifices of 12 civil rights pioneers were immortalized on postage today during the NAACP annual meeting in New York City.




The Civil Rights Pioneers stamp sheet, bearing six 42-cent first-class commemorative stamps, are available nationwide. They were dedicated by U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors member Thurgood Marshall Jr., son of the famed NAACP General Counsel.




Marshall was joined in dedicating the stamps by Medgar Evers' widow and NAACP Chairman Emerita, Myrlie Evers-Williams, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond and Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. who is also a member of the Postmaster General's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.




"These stamps will serve as consistent reminder of the diversity, strength, courage and determination the NAACP and its members have demonstrated through time to make the promise of America real for everyone," said Jealous.                                        



The stamps honor the achievements of Ella Baker, Daisy Gatson Bates, J.R. Clifford, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles Hamilton Houston, Ruby Hurley, Mary White Ovington, Joel Elias Spingarn, Mary Church Terrell, Oswald Garrison Villard and Walter White—all of which served as NAACP founders or organization leaders.




"I am very pleased that the United States Postal Service has issued this stamp commemorating civil rights pioneers at this moment in time--just at the NAACP celebrates its historic 100th anniversary," said Evers-Williams. "Those of us who have made a lifetime commitment to the NAACP realize the challenges and sacrifices faced by these pioneers and their tremendous dedication to the cause of justice. As we move forward to celebrate the future, we must not let younger generations forget these champions who paved the way for the advancements that we enjoy today. I am deeply honored that Medgar Evers has been chosen to be immortalized with this select group of heroic legends."




Art director Ethel Kessler and stamp designer Greg Berger, both of Bethesda, MD, chose to approach this project through photographic montage. Pairing two pioneers in each stamp was a way of intensifying the montage effect. The selvage image, or area outside of the stamps, is an illustration by Greg Berger showing participants in a march. 



To learn more about the stamp honorees or to obtain a set, log on to: or




Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its more than half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitors of equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.  

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