Rep. John Lewis Honored by USPS with New Commemorative Forever Stamp

The United States Postal Service celebrated the life and legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020), a long-term Congressperson and key figure in several pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, by issuing a Forever stamp on Friday with his portrait.

The issue date was marked with a ceremony at HBCU Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

Michael Collins, Lewis’ former congressional chief of staff, spoke about Lewis’ passion for stamps.

“Whenever a new forever stamp came out, he was like a kid in a candy store, purchasing more than he could ever use. There were so many stamps. He loved too many to count. Generations of his staff in both the district and DC offices could tell you about the countless trips to every post office. From Atlanta to the house office building to buy stamps and post his mail,” Collins said.

“This commemorative stamp serves as a timeless reminder of his remarkable legacy and the enduring impact of his lifelong dedication to the betterment of our society,” Collins stated. “May it inspire and encourage all Americans to continue the necessary work and the ‘good trouble’ of building a more just and inclusive nation.”

A young John Lewis first reached out to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a letter, which led to them meeting. Lewis’ son, John Miles-Lewis, considers his father being honored with a stamp as a full circle moment:

“From the son of sharecroppers to being a civil rights revolutionary, to be considered the conscience of the Congress. That’s a journey that started with an envelope, a letter and a stamp.”

News about the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #JohnLewis, and you can view the ceremony at John Lewis Commemorative Forever® Stamp Dedication Ceremony – YouTube.

Insights in telling the story of this stamp can also be found on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages at facebook.com/USPS, and twitter.com/usps.

“Look carefully at how the shadow falls on the right side of his face, illuminating the left side, in a way that seems to take the viewer from darkness into the light. A fitting tribute to a man who sought to awaken the conscience of a country,” said Ronald A. Stroman, a member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors and dedicating official for the stamp. “The Postal Service is proud to celebrate Lewis — a national treasure — and to honor his legacy with the tribute of this Forever stamp that is as beautiful visually as was the spirit of the man whose image it bears.”

Among those joining Stroman for the ceremony were mistress of ceremonies Alfre Woodard; Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., professor and founding dean of the Martin Luther King, Jr., International Chapel at Morehouse College; John-Miles Lewis, son of John Lewis; Linda Earley Chastang, president and chief executive officer of the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation; Michael Collins, chair of the board for the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock.

The stamp features a photograph of Lewis taken by Marco Grob for the Aug. 26, 2013, issue of Time Magazine. Lewis’s name is at the bottom of the stamp. The words “USA” and “Forever” appear in the stamp’s top left corner. Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the stamp.

Background on John Lewis

A key figure in some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, John Lewis was the face of the Nashville Student Movement, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an original Freedom Rider, and one of the keynote speakers at the historic 1963 March on Washington. Even in the face of hatred and violence, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call “good trouble.”

Devoted to equality and justice for all Americans, Lewis spent more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he helped achieve in the 1960s. He was a staunch and unwavering believer in and advocate for nonviolent protests. The recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees, he was called a “saint” by Time magazine and “the conscience of the Congress” by his colleagues.

He served as executive director of the Voter Education Project; as associate director of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency that oversaw the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA); and as a member of the Atlanta City Council. He was also the author of several bestselling books, including the “March” comic book series and the inspiring autobiography “Walking With the Wind.”

Elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, Lewis garnered the support needed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1991, sponsored the legislation that created the 54-mile Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail, and worked for more than a decade to establish the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.