Postal Updates

Black history trailblazer celebrated on San Juan cancel

Jan 25, 2021, 2 PM
The portrait of Puerto Rico native Arturo Alfonso Schomburg appears on this cancel dated Jan. 24, his birthday.

Postmark Pursuit by Molly Goad

Two San Juan, Puerto Rico, postmarks honor leaders new and old.

Historian and activist Arturo Alfonso Schomburg is featured on the Jan. 24 cancel shown here. Born in Puerto Rico on Jan. 24, 1874, to parents of African and German descent, Schomburg noticed the lack of African history taught in his classrooms. When he immigrated to New York City in 1891, this curiosity grew and laid the foundation for what would become his life’s work.

According to the New York Public Library, Schomburg was “one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials.”

His personal collections — more than 5,000 books, 3,000 manuscripts, 2,000 etchings and paintings, and more — are housed in the library’s Harlem, N.Y., research center, named after Schomburg in 1972.

Today the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture remains a vital cultural hub, housing collections and sponsoring programs that celebrate Black history and experience worldwide.

On May 21, 2020, Schomburg was honored on a United States forever stamp in the Voices of the Harlem Renaissance set of four (Scott 5472).

A second postmark (not pictured) contains text marking the inauguration of the 14th governor of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Pedro Pierluisi’s ceremony was held on Jan. 2 at the Capitol of Puerto Rico in San Juan. The Jan. 2 cancel has been extended for 30 days.

To obtain either postmark, address your request to: 2021 INAUGURATION Station (for the inauguration postmark) or PLAZA ALMIRANTE CRISTOBAL COLON Station (for the Schomburg postmark), Supervisor SDO, 585 Ave. FD Roosevelt, Suite 223 San Juan, PR 00936-9681.

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