1948 3¢ Joel Chandler Harris Issue
Issue Date: December 9, 1948
City: Eatonton, Georgia
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Bright red violet
U.S. #980 features Joel Chandler Harris, a journalist and writer who became famous for his “Uncle Remus” stories. Strongly considered for inclusion in the 1940 “Famous Americans” series, Chandler’s stamp had a similar design to the “American Authors” set within that series.
Harris was a journalist for the Atlanta Constitution who took over a column while a colleague was on a leave of absence in 1876. He wrote the “Story of Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox as told by Uncle Remus.” It was the first of 34 plantation stories. They were presented as if an old black man (“Uncle Remus”) came into the newspaper office to discuss social and racial issues. The stories often featured the trickster “Br’er Rabbit” as the central figure.
The stories were instantly popular. Harris drew from tales he heard growing up on a plantation, and also verified the fables from other sources. He gained both praise and criticism for his portrayal of blacks in the South. Mark Twain wrote that Harris was “in the matter of writing [black dialect], he is the only master the country has produced.”
Harris’ writing influenced Rudyard Kipling and A.A. Milne, among others. Of Harris later articles in the Saturday Evening Post, Booker T. Washington wrote, “It has been a long time since I have read anything from the pen of any man which has given me such encouragement as your article has.”