Learn about the Detroit Postal Service’s new commemorative stamps honoring the Underground Railroad and its role in American history

Detroit was a major part of the secret network of freedom seekers

By Layla McMurtrie

Gateway to Freedom International Memorial in Hart Plaza in Detroit.

Gateway to Freedom International Memorial in Hart Plaza in Detroit.Steve Neavling

The Detroit Postal Service is honoring 10 men and women who helped enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The figures are depicted in sepia-toned portraits in a new collection dubbed “Underground Railroad Forever Stamps.” The project is a partnership with the Detroit Postal Customer Council and The Detroit River Project.

“We are honored to partner with The Detroit River Project, a team of historians, educators, and scholars dedicated to sharing the history of the Detroit River region,” District Manager Rick Moreton, USPS Michigan One District, said in a statement. “We recognize the pivotal role Detroit played in the Underground Railroad, and along with our business partners in the Detroit Postal Customer Council, are privileged to pay tribute to the brave men and women who left their mark on history.”

The Underground Railroad refers to a loosely organized secret network of freedom seekers and brave operatives who assisted them that started before the Civil War. Over time, the network became a well-organized system of secret routes and safe houses. Detroit was a major piece of the puzzle, providing a route for people to escape to Canada across the Detroit River.

“The women and men of the ‘network to freedom’ as the Underground Railroad is known, worked tirelessly through fear of detection and arrest to give the dream of freedom to those who sought that what was denied,” said Kimberly Simmons, executive director of the Detroit River Project.

Photo vis USPS Stamp Information

The Underground Railroad pane of stamps.

The 10 men and women honored on the new stamps are Harriet Tubman, Catharine Coffin, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, Laura Haviland, Lewis Hayden, Harriet Jacobs, William Lambert, Rev. Jermain Loguen, and William Still.

The stamps will not only serve to honor these figures but also as a way to educate the public on their impact.

A Special Stamp Dedication Ceremony is being held this Saturday, March 23 at 1 p.m. for the Underground Railroad Forever Stamps, at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. The event is free and open to the public.

“Our DPCC business community members are committed to educating the public about important people and events in the city of Detroit,” said Jake Busacker, industry co-chair of the Detroit Postal Customer Council. “The Underground Railroad Stamp Dedication Ceremony is an opportunity to bring members of the Detroit community together to learn and share stories that will better our community.”

More information on the stamps is available at the USPS’s Stamp Information page.

#USPS #stamps #UndergroundRailroad

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