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Vital voices

Harlem Renaissance stamps now available

The Voices of the Harlem Renaissance stamps feature stylized pastel portraits based on historic photographs.

The Postal Service has released Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, a pane of Forever stamps that celebrate the lives and legacies of four of the literary movement’s greatest voices: novelist Nella Larsen, educator Alain Locke, historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and poet Anne Spencer.

The Harlem Renaissance was a defining moment in American history.

After World War I, many highly creative African Americans flocked to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem, where the northward migration of African Americans looking for work, immigration from the Caribbean and the presence of important activist organizations had all helped to establish a bustling center of black life.

Caught up in a whirl of friendships and rivalries, a vibrant social scene and an inspiring air of creative exchange, a dynamic community of African Americans produced exceptional literature, music and visual arts.

The creative energy that found its strongest expression in Harlem during the 1920s was also evident in Chicago; Washington, DC; and other communities where African Americans sought to articulate their experiences and give shape to their dreams.

The Voices of the Harlem Renaissance stamps feature stylized pastel portraits of Larsen, Locke, Schomburg and Spencer based on historic photographs. Each stamp also incorporates African-inspired motifs as background elements.

Gary Kelley served as the stamp artist, while Greg Breeding, a USPS art director, designed the stamps.

The Postal Service canceled the dedication ceremony for the stamps due to social distancing guidance.

The 20-stamp pane is available at Post Offices and