U.S. # 4742
2013 46¢ Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Set
After a long day of work in December 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, just like any other day. But, that bus ride would make her an international icon. At the time, segregation laws forced African Americans to sit in separate, signed areas of buses. Drivers could move the sign, ask African Americans to stand, or leave the bus entirely.
That day, Parks sat in the assigned section, but when more white riders entered the bus, she was asked to move. Tired of the unfair treatment, she chose to take a stand. She refused to give up her seat and was arrested.
Parks was not the first to refuse to give up her seat – as Irene Morgan, Sarah Louise Keys, and Claudette Colvin had done so as many as three years earlier. But Parks’ actions inspired her community to boycott the bus company until they were treated with respect. Success came a year later when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.
Though Parks left Montgomery and did not participate in the boycott, she continued her activism in Detroit. She went on to receive several honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal. She was also the first woman and second African American to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol after her death.
Derry Noyes designed the Rosa Parks stamp using a painting by Thomas Blackshear. It was Blackshear’s 22nd U.S. stamp illustration; other issues he’s illustrated include Jean Baptiste DuSable, Joe Louis, Classic Movie Monsters, and Mother Teresa. The painting of Parks is reportedly based on a 1950s photograph and shows her seated on a bus.
Value: 46¢ First-Class letter rate
Issued: February 4, 2013 – Parks’ 100th birthday and the National Day of Courage
First Day City: Dearborn and Detroit, MI
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 200, with 10 panes of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut ¾
Quantity Printed: 63,000,000 stampsa
The Rosa Parks stamp was the second of three stamps issued in 2013 commemorating important moments in the Civil Rights movement. The other two stamps honored the Emancipation Proclamation (U.S. #4721) and the March on Washington (U.S. #4804).