Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman to be Next Face on $20 bill

Harriet_Tubman_1895Anti-slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s image will replace that of President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, on a new series of $20 bills. She will become the first African-American to appear on U.S. paper currency and the first woman in more than a century.

Treasury Secretary Jacob made the announcement on Wednesday, saying in a letter to the American people, “With this decision, our currency will now tell more of our story and reflect the contributions of women as well as men to our great democracy.”

In the statement, the Treasury also announced that the new $20 note will keep an image of Jackson, who was a slaveholder, on the back. NPR’s  All Things Considered noted that “Tubman’s appearance on the $20 bill would have a special historical resonance: That’s the same amount she eventually received from the U.S. government as her monthly pension for her service as a nurse, scout, cook and spy during the Civil War, as well as for her status as the widow of a veteran.”

The Treasury did not say when the new bills will enter into circulation but said the final concept designs of the new $20 as well as the $10 and $5 notes will be unveiled in 2020.

See our collection of Harriet Tubman Prints


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New Sumptuous Prints from Monica Stewart

Monica Stewart has done it again! This talented figure artist has created a sumptuous suite of three new prints with women as the subject. In each picture we see an anonymous figure absorbed in dreamlike reverie. The atmosphere is casual and sensual and hints of the tropics.


Each image is available in a paper edition as well as a canvas edition. The images are printed on demand and shipped in 5-7 days. They are beautiful and well worth the wait.

See more information here.

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USPS Celebrates Black Heritage Month with Stamp

Remembered for his calm determination and quiet dignity, Robert Robinson Taylor (1868-1942) is believed to have been both the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the country’s first academically trained black architect–accomplishments that helped open a new profession to African Americans.

stamp-zoomThe 38th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors architect and educator Robert Robinson Taylor (1868–1942). For more than three decades, Taylor supervised the design and construction of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama while also overseeing the school’s programs in industrial education and the building trades. He is believed to have been both the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the country’s first academically trained black architect. Through his calm leadership and quiet dignity, he earned the admiration of colleagues and students alike while expanding opportunities for African Americans in fields that had largely been closed to them.

This stamp features a photograph of Taylor taken circa 1890, when he was around 22 years old and a student at MIT.

In 1892, after graduating from MIT, this young man from Wilmington, North Carolina, accepted an offer from educator and activist Booker T. Washington to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he soon set about shaping the appearance of the burgeoning school. Over the course of nearly 40 years, Taylor designed dozens of essential buildings, including libraries, dormitories, lecture halls, industrial workshops, and a handsome chapel, transforming a makeshift campus on an abandoned plantation into a confident, state-of-the-art institution.

Taylor’s work as a teacher and administrator was equally vital to the Tuskegee mission. While overseeing programs to train skilled artisans, he also established a curriculum with a certificate to help graduates enter collegiate architecture programs or earn entry-level positions at firms. His work furthered Booker T. Washington’s dream of fostering not just African-American builders and carpenters, but architects who could plan the buildings as well.

The Robert Robinson Taylor stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp, equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

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Kadir Nelson Does The New Yorker Cover…Again

Renowned artist and illustrator Kadir Nelson has once again graced the cover of the New Yorker magazine with his painting. The venerable magazine turns 90 years old this February, and to celebrate the milestone, decided to publish not just one cover for its special double issue (February 23 and March 2), but nine covers. For the covers, they turned to their artistic contributors, including Nelson and selected nine images “that reflect the talent and diversity of our contributors and the range of artistic media they use.” Nelson’s oil painting for the cover is a contemporary, urban interpretation of the New Yorker’s mascot, “Tilley”, the iconic, high-brow gentleman with the beaver hat and the monocle featured on the cover of the first issue of the magazine in 1925, and on every February edition until 1994.

Nelson’s art depicts Tilley as a super confident, urbane Black man, stylishly dressed in a chic ensemble that includes a wool winter coat and sweater and finished off with the accessory du jour: a smart phone and ear buds.

Kadir Nelson previously illustrated “Madiba”, the Dec. 16, 2013, New Yorker cover commemorating the life of Nelson Mandela about whom he had written and illustrated a children’s book..

kadir_nelson_mandela_coverKadir Nelson is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Renowned as a fine artist, he is also well known for illustrating children’s books and U.S. Postage Stamps (most recently Wilt Chamberlain and Ralph Ellison). Nelson has also enjoyed significant commissions from major corporations and the film industry. Many of Nelson’s paintings are in the collections of notable institutions and public collections, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as in the private collections of actors, professional athletes, and musicians.

See Art Prints by Kadir Nelson


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Preview John Holyfield’s Vintage Golf Giclee Collection


As we celebrate Black History Month and honor the life and legacy of Charlie Sifford, the barrier-breaking Black golfer who died last week (see previous post), it is the perfect time to take a peek at the exciting soon-to-be-released “Vintage Golf” series by John Holyfield. This new collection of limited edition giclees on canvas will be available in 2 sizes: a medium size (roughly 14″ width by 28″ height); and a large size (roughly 20″ width by 40″ height).

There is ample documentation that beginning with Reconstruction, African Americans and golf have a long, rich history. In this collection, recreating the artistic style of vintage poster art, John Holyfield takes a nostalgic look back at that association.

golf_1Prominently featured in Holyfield’s paintings are African American women golfers, a demographic all but overlooked in the sport. A historical note: since only three black women, Althea Gibson, Renee Powell, and LaRee Pearl Sugg, have had notable success on the professional golf tour, it has been assumed that black women have not played golf but there is historical documentation of the existence of African American women associated with golf on an amateur or professional level. There were black women clubs in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and other cities from as early as the 1930’s and black women golfers traveled all over the country to participate in tournaments, bringing many of the top golfers together in high level competitions.

golf_2Details and pricing on John Holyfield’s Vintage Golf  collection will be posted on soon.


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Charlie Sifford, first Black on the PGA, dies at 92

Charlie Sifford at the Los Angeles Open in 1969

Charlie Sifford, who died last week at age 92, was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour and is widely credited with blazing the trail for Tiger Woods and every other minority in golf.

Just this past November, Sifford received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, joining Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to receive the honor and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1994.

It wasn’t an easy road to those accolades, though. Sifford, who learned the game by caddying, won five titles in the all-black United Golf Association, the equivalent of baseball’s Negro Leagues. But he had to relentlessly challenge the PGA’s Caucasian-only clause before it was finally rescinded in 1961. Six years later, he became the first black player to win a PGA Tour event at the 1967 Hartford Open and followed that up with a victory at the 1969 Los Angeles Open. He won the Senior PGA Championship in 1975.

But while Sifford fought through those barriers, he was never invited to the Masters as the Augusta National Golf Club deftly kept changing its criteria. He watched on TV from his home in Humble, Tex., when Woods made history by winning the 1997 Masters.

charlie_sifford“I never will set foot inside that place either,” Sifford said at the time. “When I won a tournament, they changed the rules for who was eligible. Same thing when I won another tournament. They had a group of people in charge who didn’t see where it was beneficial to let blacks play. From the very first, I had to be better and tougher than other players, so I kept bothering them and bothering them about it. Finally, when Lee Elder won a tournament in 1974, he was in.”

Sifford, along with Elder, endured racial slurs while walking the fairway. He received at least one death threat, at the 1961 Greater Greensboro Open in the heart of the South. Sifford opened the way for players such as Calvin Peete, Jim Thorpe and Jim Dent long before Woods emerged on the scene.


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Selma Remembered

Crowds are flocking to see the movie Selma, the film depicting the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. While the film may be categorized as ‘entertainment’, its dramatic retelling of this painful and important event in the modern civil rights movement is an essential lesson in Black history for a generation of African Americans.

The events that led up to the Selma-to-Montgomery March were put in motion on January 2, 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King and the SCLC joined the SNCC, the Dallas County Voters League, and other local African American activists in a voting rights campaign in Selma where, in spite of repeated registration attempts by local blacks, only two percent were on the voting rolls (originally the U.S. Constitution did not define who was eligible to vote and in the absence of a specific federal law or constitutional provision, each state was given considerable discretion to establish qualifications and most states allowed only Caucasian males or land owners to vote).

This photograph of the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers is credited to Peter Pettus. It shows the marchers before the bloody confrontation at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.


The campaign in Selma and nearby Marion, Alabama, progressed with mass arrests but little violence for the first month. That changed in February, however, when police attacks against nonviolent demonstrators increased. On the night of 18 February, Alabama state troopers joined local police breaking up an evening march in Marion. In the ensuing melee, a state trooper shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old church deacon from Marion, as he attempted to protect his mother from the trooper’s nightstick. Jackson died eight days later in a Selma hospital.

In response to Jackson’s death, some 600 civil rights marchers from Selma and Marion set out on Sunday March 7 – a day that would come to be known as “Bloody Sunday” -, to march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. While King was in Atlanta, his SCLC colleague Hosea Williams, and SNCC leader John Lewis led the march. The marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80 but got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, six blocks away where they faced a blockade of state troopers and local lawmen commanded by Sheriff Jim Clark and Major John Cloud who ordered them to disperse. When they did not, Cloud ordered his men to advance. Cheered on by white onlookers, the troopers attacked the crowd with clubs and tear gas. Mounted police chased retreating marchers and continued to beat them.

With strong public outrage following televised broadcast of the confrontation and with public sentiment largely on the side of the marchers, two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a “symbolic” march to the bridge of more than 2,000 marchers, including hundreds of clergy who had answered King’s call on short notice, to the site of Sunday’s attack. They stopped at the bridge and Dr. King asked them to kneel and pray. After prayers they rose and turned the march back to Selma, avoiding another confrontation with state troopers and avoiding the issue of whether to obey a court order prohibiting the march.

Civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. A Federal District Court Judge ruled in favor of the demonstrators and on Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong.

Less than five months after the last of the three marches, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed at overcoming legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The act is considered among the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.

We honor the bravery and the sacrifice of the leaders and the marchers of Selma and we laud the efforts and the talent of the filmmakers and producers of Selma, the movie.

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