A black and white photo of Toni Morrison from the chest up. She is sitting down with one hand raised beside her, with a contemplative look on her face.
Photo credit: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Toni Morrison put on USPS Forever postal stamp

To commemorate the life of the great American writer, Toni Morrison makes an appearance on a special edition of stamps by the U.S. Postal Office.


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The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the late Hugo award winner and author Toni Morrison (1931-2019) will be featured on a new series of stamps named the “New Forever Stamp.”

“One of the goals of our stamp program is to raise awareness and celebrate the people who represent the very best of our nation,” said Pritha Mehra, USPS chief information officer and executive vice president, in a statement.

“It’s a privilege to represent the 650,000 men and women of the Postal Service, as we honor Toni Morrison with one more tribute — our new stamp that will be seen by millions and forever remind us of the power of her words and the ideas she brought to the world,” she continued.

Born under the name Chloe Ardelia Woford in Lorain, OH, on Feb. 18, 1931, Morrison enrolled into Howard University in Washington D.C. in 1949, where she would begin using the name “Toni” in reference to Saint Anthony, whose name she took when she was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church when she was 12.

Following her graduation from Howard, she earned her master's degree in English at Cornell University, later teaching English at Texas Southern University and at Howard.

Over her career, Morrison had published 11 novels, several children's books, and essay collections. Of her novels, many have received high acclaim and awards, bringing her both critical and commercial success.

Morrison's novels focused on the African-American experience, dealing with concepts such as racism, slavery, and the human condition.

Her first novel, "The Bluest Eye" centers on an 11-year-old African-American girl and her reckoning with internalized racial stereotypes, manifesting as the desire to have blue eyes.

Another of her novels, "Song of Solomon" depicted the story of a young African-American man (her first male protagonist) and his search for personal identity. The novel received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and is considered among her masterworks

In 1987, Morrison published "Beloved," a story about a woman who escapes enslavement, but in the process, murders her infant daughter to prevent her from facing the same fate she did, the story delving into the lasting effects of her choice.

This work would win her the Pulitzer Prize and secure her position in history among the great American writers.

For her work, Morrison would also win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, becoming the first African-American woman to do so.

“It was a privilege to photograph Ms. Morrison, an amazing author who contributed so much to the world through her works,” said Deborah Feingold, the photographer of the image used on the stamp.

“However, it is an absolute honor to know that the same photograph capturing a moment in time is now the subject of a Forever stamp. I am delighted that my photograph was used as a source to design the stamp and to participate in today’s unveiling and celebration,” she continued.

The stamp features Feingold's photograph of Morrison with a bright yellow background. The stamp itself was designed by Ethel Kessler, a USPS art director, and will be sold in panes of 20. 

Stamps are available at purchase through the Postal Store or at Post Offices nationwide.


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