2021 55¢ August Wilson – Black Heritage Series
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: January 28, 2021
First Day City: Pittsburgh, PA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset, microprint
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 45,000,000
On January 28, 2021, the United States Postal Service issued the 44th stamp in the Black Heritage Series. It honors award-winning playwright August Wilson, best known for a series of ten plays called The Pittsburgh Cycle.
Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel Jr. on April 27, 1945, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His neighborhood was poor and home to mostly African Americans and Jewish and italian immigrants. Wilson faced difficulties throughout his childhood due to his mixed parentage. he was treated as an outsider by both African American and white culture until later in life.
Wilson dropped out of high school at age 16 and spent much of his free time at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was there so often that the library later awarded him an honorary high school diploma. He found inspiration in works by Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, and others.
Wilson began fulfilling his dream of becoming a writer at age 20, and wrote and directed his first play a few years later. In 1978, Wilson moved to Minnesota, and later began a fellowship with The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. From there, his work took off. He became one of history's best playwrights and brought African American theater to great acclaim.