2020 55¢ Voices of Harlem – Anne Spencer
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 21, 2020
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 16,000,000
Anne Spencer was born on February 6, 1882, in Henry County, Virginia. Her parents divorced when she was young, and Spencer and her mother moved to Bramwell, West Virginia. Her mother thought the local schools were not good enough for her daughter and kept her home. During this time Spencer spent her days exploring nature.
When Spencer’s father found out she was not in school, he threatened to bring her to live with him unless she enrolled. Spencer’s mother relented and sent her to begin her education at Virginia University of Lynchburg (Virginia Seminary) at age 11. Spencer excelled in school and graduated as valedictorian.
Spencer went on to become a teacher, librarian, gardener, and famous writer and activist. She published her first poem at 40 years old and became the first African American to have her poetry included in the renowned Norton Anthology of American Poetry. Her work coincided perfectly with the themes of the Harlem Renaissance. While far from Harlem itself, Spencer’s home was a cultural hub a wide variety of African American writers, artists, and scholars came to visit.
In her poems, Spencer explored race, nature, and feminism as it applied to African American culture. Her works were influential during the Harlem Renaissance and are still well known today.