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The Underground Railroad stamps will honor 10 who helped pave the way to freedom

A sheet of stamps showing 10 sepia-toned portraits of Civil War era figures
The Underground Railroad stamps will feature sepia-toned portraits of 10 heroes of the cause.

The Postal Service will release stamps commemorating the Underground Railroad — a network of secret byways and safe houses that helped lead enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War — on Saturday, March 9.

Martin Luther King Jr. said the Underground Railroad “symbolized hope when freedom was almost an impossible dream.”

The stamps feature sepia-toned portraits of 10 heroes of the cause above the words “Black/White,” “Cooperation,” “Trust/Danger,” “Flight/Faith,” “Courage/Risk” and “Defiance/Hope.” Below these are the words “Underground Railroad USA.”

The honorees include such famous names as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass but also lesser-known supporters Catharine Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Laura Haviland, Lewis Hayden, Harriet Jacobs, William Lambert, the Rev. Jermain Loguen and William Still.

Antonio Alcalá, an art director for USPS, designed the Forever stamps, which will be sold in panes of 20 at Post Offices and

USPS will also offer “Leaving Their Mark on History: Ten Heroes of the Underground Railroad,” a custom product that will include a timeline of events leading to emancipation; brief biographies of those featured on the stamps; seven progressive stamp proofs; a mint pane of the final stamps; and an original 8-by-10-inch art print.