Black Heritage Stamp and Coin Collection
By Maria Herrera
It's Black History
Month and to celebrate, the Spady Cultural and
Heritage Museum will honor the 2008 Black
Heritage stamp — the 31st featuring
African-American figures in American history.
On the stamp is novelist and folklorist Charles
Waddell Chesnutt, who is considered the first
black writer to earn national acclaim.
The museum is wrapping up a four-month exhibit
of a private collection of African-American
stamps and coins.
The Al Ashley Stamp and Coin Collection
traveling exhibit features more than 81 stamps
that Ashley, a native of Tuskegee, Ala., has
been collecting since 1978.
"I've met a lot of famous African-Americans and
a lot of them are on stamps," Ashley said from
his home in Tuskegee. "They all inspired me to
put together this collection."
The Palm Beach County School Board's office of
African and African-American studies, which
organized the event, will also honor Delray
Beach's first black postmaster.
"It means a lot to me," said Postmaster Phyllis
Reed. "I was born and raised here and started my
postal career here in 1977."
Reed attended SD Spady Elementary, Carver High
School and Atlantic High School when it was
being integrated. She said the stamp series is a
way to get people interested in African-American
figures during Black History Month.
The event Friday is one of several throughout
the county in places such as the Urban League,
said Debbye Raign, manager of the School Board's
office of African-American studies.
"We also have a lot of kids interested in Postal
Service careers," Raign said.
Raign said that some children get interested in
the most popular public figures, such as Mary
McLeod Bethune, George Washington Carver and
Jackie Robinson, while others focus on the
artistry of stamp making.
But some less-recognized people featured on the
stamp series, such as Chesnutt, are seldom
talked about as part of the Black History Month
"We are able to connect them to history and be
able to relate to those people," Raign said.