By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

On Jan. 31, legendary journalist, Gwen Ifill, who famously anchored PBS News Hour, was honored with a commemorative stamp by the United States Postal Service (USPS) right on the heels of Black History Month.

As part of their Black Heritage Series the USPS honors great African American leaders from several fields, and Ifill, who died in 2016 at the age of 61, was the 2020 honoree.

The United States Postal Service unveiled the 43rd Black Heritage Series featuring legendary journalist and anchor
of PBS News Hour, the late Gwen Ifill. (Courtesy Photo)

“On behalf of the 600,000 women and men of the U.S. Postal Service, it is my privilege to dedicate the 43rd stamp in our Black heritage series honoring Gwen Ifill, one of America’s most respected and celebrated journalists, who’s talent and skill exemplified the important role journalists play in our freedom and informing society,” said Deputy Postmaster General (DPMG) of the USPS Ronald Stroman.  

The 43rd Black Heritage Series stamp features Ifill in a photo taken in 2008 by Robert Severi and art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp, according to the USPS.

While the Black Heritage Series is an intentional effort in celebrating African Americans, it is not the only way Black people get featured on stamps.   The first United States stamp honoring a Black person was Booker T. Washington on April 7, 1940, and since, over two hundred great African American men, women and moments from history have been featured.

Bernice Dawson, Hillis Enoch, Gwen Ifill’s sister, Maria Ifill Phillips and Rae Martel at the unveiling ceremony. (Courtesy Photo)

“Gwen will now join an illustrious list of Black women on stamps, that include: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Dorothy Height, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm… among others,” Stroman continued.

The stamp dedication was held at the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Northwest, D.C., where Ifill was an active member.”

“It is a fitting tribute that the United States Postal Service honors her life, her contributions with a commemorative Black history stamp,” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “Gwen was a long time Washingtonian, faithful member of the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church for thirty years, where she gave generously of her time by serving the Bethel Literary and History Society and singing with the Voices of Inspiration Choir.”

As one of the first African Americans and women to hold, “prominent positions in both broadcast and print,” according to the USPS, many speakers paid tribute to Ifill’s trailblazing in the world of journalism and her passion and commitment to the field. 

“She was the gold standard in our business known for a fierce allegiance and loyalty to her family, friends and colleagues, but also to the facts,” said the narration in the video honoring Ifill at the USPS Black Heritage Series stamp unveiling.

“We thank you Gwen and we pay a simple tribute to you- in mirror words, but in big feeling and gratitude,” Bowser said.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor