Charly Palmer Depicts Constance Baker Motley On 2024 Stamp For U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage Series
The United States Postal Service (USPS) continues its Black Heritage Series by unveiling its 2024 cohort of Black trailblazers receiving their own stamp. Featured for the year is Constance Baker Motley, whose portrait was created by Charly Palmer.
Born in 1921 in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, Motley grew up to become an unsung civil rights hero. Not only did her work in law lead her to become not only the first Black woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, but also the the first Black woman to become a federal judge. The celebration of her legacy is long overdue, and her picture enshrined on the special-edition stamp by Palmer is right on time.
“The stenciled circular shapes create a subtle crowning effect, and the heavy brushstrokes and scratches add texture to the acrylic-on-canvas work,” Palmer stated in a press release.
“Stenciled curlicues embellish the lower background and continue onto Motley’s black dress.”
A prominent force for women’s equality and civil rights, the fierce attorney wrote the original complaint in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Her list of firsts continued well into her career; she also was the first Black woman to hold the position of state senator for New York.
Motley‘s impact on Black women in politics, law, and judicial affairs has been monumental to their inclusion in leadership roles, including Vice President Kamala Harris listed Motley as an influence in her own pursuit of a career in law and politics, as confirmed by the Los Angeles Times.
Palmer, an acclaimed visual artist, unveiled the portrait of Motley that will be used in the series, with the Postal Service releasing a statement detailing the symbolism behind Palmer’s work.
The collaborative effort of Palmer taking on the illustration of the civil rights icon is a further upliftment of Black professionals. Last year’s Black Heritage Series honorees were playwright August Wilson and author Ernest J. Gaines, with the late Rep. John Lewis receiving his own stamp as well.
The latest edition of the stamps, commemorating Motley, are set to be released in 2024.
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