April 9, 2009

Richard Wright appears on U.S. stamp

The achievements of author and former postal employee Richard Wright are being honored with a first-class postage stamp, the U.S. Postal Service has announced.

The late writer is best known for his works about racism in America, such as Native Son and Black Boy. He also worked for the Chicago Post Office from 1927-30 as a letter sorter. He died in 1960 at the age of 52.

A stamp featuring his image went on sale nationwide Thursday and was the 25th inductee into the Postal Service's Literary Arts series.

Artwork for the 61-cent, first-class, 2-ounce stamp, created by Kadir Nelson of San Diego, features a portrait of Wright in front of snow-swept tenements on the South Side of Chicago, a scene that recalls the setting of Native Son, the Postal Service said in a news release. Nelson's portrait of Wright was based on a photograph taken around 1945. Carl T. Herrman of Carlsbad, Calif., was the stamp designer.

This nation experienced a historical event in our most recent presidential election, U.S. Postal Service Chicago District/Postmaster Gloria Tyson said in a statement. It was an event Richard Wright helped to bring about with his often controversial writings; writings of a world view on humanity and politics that were far too forward-thinking for his own generation; writings full of anger, frustration and indignation stemming from his early life experiences being poor and black in America; writings that appealed to -- and appalled -- both whites and blacks; writings that eventually helped to direct a change in how America addressed and discussed race relations.