Lena Horne was honored by USPS this week both as a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color and an important civil rights activist.
During the Jan. 30 dedication ceremony for the new Lena Horne stamp in New York City, speaker after speaker hailed Horne’s contributions to the entertainment industry and the civil rights movement.
“Today, we honor the 70-year career of a true American legend,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who led the ceremony. “With this Forever stamp, the Postal Service celebrates a woman who used her platform as a renowned entertainer to become a prolific voice for civil rights advancement and gender equality.”
Other speakers included Gail Lumet Buckley, an author and Horne’s daughter; Christian Steiner, the photographer who took the image featured on the stamp; and Amy Niles, president and chief executive officer of WBGO, a public radio jazz station in the New York area.
The stamp, the 41st entry in the Black Heritage series, calls attention to Horne’s multi-faceted career.
After performing as a vocalist for touring orchestras, Horne (1917-2010) headed to Hollywood in the 1940s, signing a long-term studio contract that stipulated she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles for black actors.
In the 1960s, Horne’s high-profile civil rights work included performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.
She received multiple awards during her career, including a Tony, three Grammys and a Kennedy Center Honors.