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Halifax Community College will host its 15th Annual Stamp Dedication Ceremony in conjunction with the United States Postal Service as the kickoff event of its 2022 Black History Month festivities.

Booker T. Washington was the first African American on a USPS stamp in 1940. 

Beginning in 1978, the USPS began its Black Heritage Stamp Series. 

It has feted distinguished luminaries in the black community by annually commemorating a stamp. Influential individuals such as Richard Allen, Ray Charles, and Rosa Parks are just a few of the honorees.

This year, on February 3 at 10 a.m. in the Griffin Centre and via livestream through Facebook, YouTube, and the college’s website, HCC will recognize the 45th stamp in the Black Heritage Stamp series that commemorates Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis, the first African American and Native American sculptor to earn national and international recognition. 

This event is free to the public and no registration is required. 

Edmonia Lewis will be the 25th stamp added to HCC’s USPS Black Heritage Stamp Collection in the Griffin Centre.

Dr. Paul K. Baker, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University director of the University Galleries and Professor of History in the Department of History and Political Science, is the event’s keynote speaker. 

With over 25 years of experience in higher education, including faculty and administrative roles, he has served at North Carolina Central University, Saint Augustine’s University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Fayetteville State University. 

Baker had fellowships at Oxford University, Yale University, and University of Virginia. 

He also received his archival certification from the Modern Archives Institute at the National Archives. 

While working on his certification, he studied the work of Edmonia Lewis. 

His research has also been in the areas of African American Historical Preservation; the impact of Victorian Era culture on race, resistance and gender issues on African Americans; and leadership styles in museums, libraries and cultural institutions.

“The annual stamp dedication ceremony provides a forum to educate the masses and celebrate historical African American figures through works of art on USPS stamps,” said Kim Mack, special assistant to the president for governmental, community and governmental affairs.