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Loving Lena

Iconic performer, activist to grace new stamp

Lena Horne, the 41st Black Heritage stamp, will be issued Jan. 30.
Lena Horne, the 41st Black Heritage stamp, will be issued Jan. 30.

Lena Horne is back in the spotlight, courtesy of the Postal Service.

The organization will release a stamp this week honoring Horne (1917-2010), the iconic performer who also inspired millions of people as a civil rights activist.

Horne will appear on the 41st Black Heritage stamp, which USPS will release Jan. 30. The stamp will be dedicated that day during a ceremony in New York City.

Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers, and others prompted her to stop touring.

In 1941, Horne moved to Hollywood and eventually signed a contract with MGM — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors.

Horne entertained at camps for black service members during World War II, and later worked on behalf of Japanese-Americans who were facing housing discrimination.

In the 1960s, Horne performed at civil rights rallies in the South, supported the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participated in the 1963 March on Washington.

She received multiple awards during her career, including a Tony for a one-woman Broadway show and three Grammys. She also was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

The Lena Horne stamp features a photograph taken in the 1980s. The background is reminiscent of her “Stormy Weather” album cover.

The stamp will be available at Post Offices and

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