Aug. 16, 1963: First Black artist-designed U.S. postage stamp placed on sale

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The first U.S. postage stamp designed by a Black artist was placed on sale on Aug. 16, 1963. Graphic artist Georg Olden featured a broken chain on the stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Olden’s design was praised by then President John F. Kennedy as “a reminder of the extraordinary actions in the past as well as the business of the future,” reports The Professional Association for Design. From 1945 to 1960, Olden worked at CBS. At CBS, he was an ardent champion of contemporary art, commissioning on-air art and title cards by modern artists.

Georg Olden passed away in 1975 at 54 years old.


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