Roy Wilkins Puts His Stamp on History

The New Crisis, January/February 2001 | Go to article overview

Roy Wilkins Puts His Stamp on History


On January 24, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in honor of Roy Wilkins (1901-1981), executive secretary of the NAACP from 1955-1977. In a ceremony held last July at the NAACP's 91st annual convention, the postal service unveiled the Wilkins stamp, the 24th in its Black Heritage series. Morgan and Marvin Smith, two prominent African-American photographers, provided the stamp art, a black-and-white photograph of Wilkins taken in the 1940s.

This is the latest in a series of memorials to Wilkins, which include the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Renown Award of Service, and the Roy Wilkins Memorial in St. Paul, Minn., a unique sculpture by Atlanta artist Curtis Patterson. Wilkins was awarded the NAACP's highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 1969, the nation's highest civil honor.

"Uncle Roy won a lot of honors, the greatest of which was the love and trust of the people in the NAACP," wrote his nephew and current Crisis Publisher, Roger Wilkins, in a 1981 Washington Post article. …

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