2021 Black Heritage stamps honor August Wilson
“No one should think that Black history is confined to the month of February, when evidence to the contrary appears everywhere and in every month. Black History Month is not a token,” says Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, national president for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). “It is a special tribute — a time of acknowledgement, of reflection and inspiration — that comes to life in real and ongoing activities throughout the year, just as the work of ASALH has for 106 years steadily asserted both racial pride and the centrality of race and the black experience to the American narrative and heritage.”
Black History Month officially kicks off each year when the Postal Service announces the Black Heritage Forever stamp. The 2021 honoree is legendary playwright August Wilson. He is 44th in the series of distinguished African American men and women who have received one of the nation’s highest honors — appearing on a U.S. postage stamp. The first in the series featured abolitionist Harriet Tubman in 1978. Also included is Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black history and creator of Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month.
August Wilson’s work focused on the black experience and he was hailed as a trailblazer for helping to bring nonmusical African American drama to the forefront of American theater.
As a literary genius, Wilson collected innumerable accolades, including seven New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards; a Tony Award for 1987’s “Fences”; and two Pulitzer Prizes — for “Fences” and 1990’s “The Piano Lesson.” His play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was recently adapted for film and released on Netflix.