The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a commemorative postage stamp on Friday for the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march and his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington. “And now, with the help of people across the nation, we are honored to reveal the 1963 March on Washington Forever Stamp!" said the statement.
The postage stamp was unveiled after an online campaign in which thousands of Americans showed their support for civil rights.
One of the speakers at the ceremony was John Lewis. Now a Democratic congressman from Georgia, he was a black student leader in the 1960s. He recalled the mass of people assembled on the National Mall as he spoke just before Martin Luther King Jr.
“And on that day when you looked to your right you saw all of these young people standing there. You looked to your left up in the tree you saw young men. Young people, black and white, trying to get a better view. The March on Washington, in my estimation, was one of the finest hours in modern American history,” said Lewis.
The postage stamp depicts marchers with placards demanding jobs and equal rights, and the Washington Monument in the background.
Lewis said civil rights remains an unfinished business. “This stamp will remind us of the distance we’ve come, the distance we’ve travelled, and the distance we must still go before we lay down the burden of race, and class, and color and create one America, where no one is left out, or left behind.”
A younger leader, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that U.S. postage stamps have helped define American culture by featuring people like musician Elvis Presley and activist Rosa Parks. “It is absolutely appropriate that it is the U.S. Postal Service that is issuing a stamp commemorating this event,” he said.
Henderson also called on Congress to save the Postal Service - which loses billions of dollars a year. He said it helped build the black middle class in America by employing many with limited education.