Playwright August Wilson is now a national treasure.
Chances are on any given day his image could decorate the right hand corner of envelopes delivered by the United States Postal Service to your mailbox.
Honored in the Black Heritage Series of Forever Stamps the dramatist is being acknowledged by the USPS to commemorate Black History Month.
The stamp features an oil painting based on a 2005 photograph. In the background is a picket fence that represents his Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences.”
Now available in panes of 20 stamps, they are priced at first class rate regardless of future price increases imposed by the USPS.
The 44th edition of the series features the Pennsylvania-born, trailblazing playwright who is acclaimed for helping to bring non-musical African American drama to the forefront of American theater.
“The Postal Service is honored to issue the August Wilson Forever stamp,” Joshua Colin, Vice President, Delivery Operations, U.S. Postal Service said at the dedication ceremony.
“Wilson is hailed as a trailblazer who brought fresh perspectives and previously unheard voices to the stage.”
“August Wilson was a literary master,” actress Phylicia Rashad added, “he understood the inherent power of language.”
During his lifetime, the storyteller managed to deliver 10 productions to the Broadway stage. Some returned as revivals.
Best known for a series of 10 plays collectively known as the Pittsburgh Cycle, Wilson chronicled the experiences and heritage of the African-American community in the 20th century.
Among Broadway’s best are: “Jitney (1982), “Fences (1984), “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (984), “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1986), “The Piano Lesson (1987), and “King Hedley II (1999).
His treasury also includes “Two Trains Running,” “Gem of the Ocean,” “Radio Golf” and “Seven Guitars.”
In addition, he penned “Recycle (1973) “Black Bart and the Sacred Hills” (1977) “Fullerton Street” (1980) “The Homecoming” (1989) “The Coldest Day of the Year” (1989) and “How I Learned What I Learned” (2002-2003).
Wilson is the most produced Black playwright in America.
Wilson collected innumerable accolades, including seven New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards; a Tony Award for 1987’s “Fences” and two Pulitzer Prizes for “Fences” and 1990’s “The Piano Lesson.”
Last Sunday when the Golden Globe Awards were presented to the elites in film and television, the late actor Chadwick Boseman posthumously won the best actor honor for his final role in the adaptation of the stage play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
The film was released last year on Netflix.
The coveted prize seemed a fitting end to Black History Month and an honor the widow of the “The Black Panther” exalted in expressing the pride her spouse would have eloquently voiced.
“Having a U.S. stamp made in your honor is an acknowledgment that you are an American treasure,” Janis Burley Wilson, the CEO of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center said.
“August Wilson documented the Black experience in every decade of the 20th century.
No other author, playwright or creative has ever done that,” Janis Burley Wilson added.
Wilson died in 2005 at age 60.