New stamps get Suffolk opening

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, February 21, 2009

The U.S. Postal Service will unveil a new series of six stamps honoring 19th- and 20th-century civil rights pioneers on Saturday, and Suffolk will be one of six locations nationwide to participate.

The event at Riddick’s Folly will begin at 12:30 p.m., occurring simultaneously with a dedication of the stamps in New York, N.Y., at the 100th anniversary celebration of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Riddick’s Folly unveiling will take place just before the first performance of “Abolitionists’ Museum,” a theatrical production by Sheri Bailey. “Abolitionists’ Museum” features eight famous abolitionists portrayed as wax figures in a museum. The characters come to life when the curator wants to display a Confederate flag in the museum. In the characters’ dialogue, based on their writings and speeches, they debate what to do about the flag, said Riddick’s Folly executive director Phillip Staten.


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“It’s a way to get to know more about these abolitionists that we kind of just know as names,” Staten said. After each performance, cast members will lead the audience in a discussion of the show.

“We’re grateful to the Post Office for the honor of hosting the unveiling of these new stamps,” said Staten. “It pairs wonderfully with the abolitionists in our event, representing the men and women who fought for what they believed over nearly two full centuries.”

The new stamps feature abolitionists Mary Church Terrell, Mary White Ovington, J.R. Clifford, Joel Elias Spingarn, Oswald Garrison Villard, Daisy Gatson Bates, Charles Hamilton Houston, Walter White, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Ruby Hurley. The 12 were writers, activists, attorneys, NAACP founders and officials, and mentors of black students. They are featured two-per-stamp in the set of six stamps.

Staten said he was contacted by a Postal Service employee, who saw the listing on the Riddick’s Folly Web site and thought it would be a good place to unveil the stamps locally.

The stamp unveiling and “Abolitionists’ Museum” are free and open to the public. For more information, call 934-0822.