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U.S. Postal Service announces stamp honoring late Rep. John Lewis

The civil rights giant and longtime Georgia congressman died of cancer in 2020.
The John Lewis stamp on a blue background.
The new stamp commemorating the late Rep. John Lewis.USPS

The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday it would memorialize the late Rep. John Lewis with a new stamp next year.

In its announcement, the Postal Service said the stamp "celebrates the life and legacy" of Lewis.

"Devoted to equality and justice for all Americans, Lewis spent more than 30 years in Congress steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he had helped achieve in the 1960s. Even in the face of hatred and violence, as well as some 45 arrests, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call 'good trouble,'" the Postal Service said.

Lewis, a giant of the civil rights movement who represented Georgia in Congress for decades, died of pancreatic cancer in July 2020. He was 80.

Alabama state troopers fractured Lewis' skull as he was helping lead a march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965.

He also helped organize sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, and he was one of the original Freedom Riders, taking buses from the North to the Deep South to protest segregation at interstate bus terminals. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Lewis credited King and Rosa Parks for motivating him to stand up against segregation and inequality.

“I would ask my mother and my father and my grandparents, my great grandparents, ‘Why?’ And they would say: ‘That’s the way it is. Don’t get in the way. Don’t get in trouble,’” he recalled in a 2015 speech. “The action of Rosa Parks and the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. inspired me to find a way to get in the way, to get in trouble — good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Linda Earley Chastang, a former chief of staff for Lewis who heads the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation, hailed the Postal Service's announcement.

"Lewis’ face is the face of voting rights. Having it on a postage stamp honors Lewis and the movement which he led and, in the process, encourages voter participation, civic engagement, and getting into 'good trouble,'" Chastang said in a statement.

The Postal Service plans to offer several new stamps for sale next year, including one honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.