On Tuesday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) honored the life and legacy of author Toni Morrison with a new forever stamp.
Morrison, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 88, was a celebrated author whose works explored Black American life with imagination and lyricism.
She authored numerous novels, including “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon,” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved.” In 1993, she became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, adding a vital African American voice to the literary landscape.
According to a press release, the first-day-of-issue ceremony was held at Princeton University, where the celebrated author taught for nearly two decades, on Tuesday.
The USPS stamp features a portrait of Morrison taken in 1997 by photographer Deborah Feingold against a bright yellow background. Designed by USPS art director Ethel Kessler, the stamp serves as a lasting tribute to Morrison’s literary contributions and the power of her words and ideas.
“It is a privilege to be able to host this event here at Princeton, because Toni Morrison has mattered tremendously to our campus and to our community,” University President Christopher L. Eisgruberm said. “Throughout her life, she was a transformative presence who inspired those around her, and Princeton continues to reflect the remarkable effects of her legacy.”
During the ceremony, a letter of tribute from former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama was read, and a video tribute from Oprah Winfrey was played.
Winfrey, who starred in the film adaptation of Beloved in 1998, spoke of Morrison’s impact on readers, noting that she selected four of Morrison’s novels for Oprah’s Book Club – more than any other author.
The Obamas described Morrison as one of the “world’s greatest storytellers,” adding that she “helped generations of Black Americans reimagine what was possible.”
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In 2012, former President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
USPS Chief Information Officer Pritha Mehra stated that the stamp serves to honor Morrison’s contributions to American society and celebrate people who represent the very best of the nation.
“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,” Mehra said. “Our new stamp will be seen by millions and forever remind us of the power of her words and the ideas she brought to the world.”