Five Black History Issues
Black history topical collectors should be pleased at next year's U.S. stamp program: Not only do they finally get the Paul Robeson stamp they've been requesting since long before his centennial several years ago, but also five other stamps.
A definitive (regular issue) for Wilma Rudolph is planned, James Baldwin will be next year's Literary Arts subject, there will be a new design for Kwanzaa, and Alvin Ailey is one of the four choreographers to be featured in May. 2004's "social awareness" stamp targets Sickle Cell Anemia, a group of inherited red blood cell disorders which often affects African Americans.
Robeson was an outstanding scholar-athlete in the early 20th Century who broke the color barrier at two Ivy League universities, became an attorney and was also a singer-actor. However, he became increasingly disillusioned with racial discrimination in the U.S., and soon declared that Communism might be better. That earned him the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, and is believed to be the major reason why no stamp honoring Robeson has been issued so far.
The Robeson stamp, 27th in the Black Heritage series, is scheduled for January. American Choreographers, including Ailey, Martha Graham, George Balanchine (whose centennial is next year) and Agnes DeMille, is penciled in for May, James Baldwin for August 2nd, Sickle Cell Anemia in September, the new Kwanzaa design (which shows seven Africans in similar traditional robes, one for each night of the holiday) in October, and there's no approximate issue date for Rudolph yet.
Sickle Cell Anemia: