Charly Palmer Creates U.S. Stamp Bearing Constance Baker Motley
The United States Postal Service (USPS) continues its Black Heritage Series by unveiling its 2024 cohort of Black trailblazers to receive 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 the first Black woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, but eventually the first of her identity to be a federal judge as well. The celebration of her legacy is long overdue and her picture enshrined in 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 was the only woman part the Brown v. Board of Education case. Her list of firsts continued well into her career, also becoming 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. Harris listed Baker Motley as an influence in her pursuit of a career in law and politics, as confirmed by the Los Angeles Times.
The acclaimed visual artist unveiled the portrait of Baker Motley that will be used as part of the series, with the Postal Service releasing a statement detailing the symbolism of his work, designed by USPS art director Derry Noyes.
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 famed 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 Baker Motley are set to be released in the upcoming year.
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Source: Black Enterprise