Drama king – August Wilson stamp to be released

The Postal Service will release its stamp honoring playwright August Wilson, the 44th entry in the Black Heritage series, Jan. 28.

Wilson (1945-2005) is best known for his American Century Cycle, a series of 10 plays about African American life set in each decade of the 20th century. The plays sometimes are called the Pittsburgh Cycle because nine of the 10 are set in the Steel City, his hometown.

“August Wilson was a literary master. He understood the inherent power of language. I am overjoyed that the Postal Service has selected this inspired playwright as its 44th honoree in the coveted Black Heritage stamp series,” said Phylicia Rashad, a Tony Award-winning actress, singer and stage director who’ll help dedicate the stamp during a virtual ceremony.

The stamp’s image shows an oil portrait by Tim O’Brien that is based on a 2004 photograph by David Cooper. Ethel Kessler was the designer. Look closely behind the fedora-topped playwright and you’ll see the faint outline of a picket fence, a nod to one of Wilson’s best-known works, “Fences.”

Other participants in the virtual dedication ceremony will include Wilson’s widow, Constanza Romero; his daughter, Sakina Ansari; actor Viola Davis; Stephen McKinley Henderson, an actor and associate artistic director for the audio recordings of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle; and Joshua D. Colin, the Postal Service’s delivery operations vice president.

The event can be streamed on the Postal Service’s Facebook or Twitter pages on Jan. 28 at 11:30 a.m. EST.

The stamp will be available at Post Offices and usps.com.

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