Public celebration to mark first day of sales for John Lewis stamp

On the same day a commemorative stamp honoring the late Congressman John Lewis will go on sale, the community is invited to a public celebration of his life and legacy as a political and civil rights leader.

The Friday, July 21 event at Morehouse College is open to anyone who wants to attend, as long as they RSVP.

“In his passing during COVID, we weren’t able to have a true celebration of his life in the way that he would have liked to have had,” said Michael Collins, who was Lewis’ right-hand man up until his death three years ago. Collins is among those who played a key role in planning the first-day-of-issue event with the U.S. Postal Service.

“This celebration on July 21 is to bring everybody together,” Collins said. “There are many people that want to come to just celebrate Congressman Lewis’ life one more time and his legacy one more time.”

Michael Collins, a former aide to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, shakes hands with former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a ceremony last month in Washington to mark to reveal the design of a stamp honoring Lewis. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

Lewis’s son, John-Miles Lewis, will deliver remarks during the event. Oscar-nominated actress Alfre Woodard, who struck up a friendship with the congressman after she was assigned to christen a Navy ship named for him, will serve as the host. Lewis died while the vessel was still under construction, and it launched from San Diego a year after his death.

A color guard from one of the many schools named for the civil rights icon will present the flags, and there will be performances and celebrity appearances. Attendees will also be able to purchase stamps on site.

The Postal Service is prepared to meet demand by printing two million panels with 15 stamps each or 30 million stamps total.

Pre-orders are already underway via the USPS website. Stamps will also be sold nationwide, including at the main post office in Atlanta, which will soon bear Lewis’ name.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who last month unveiled the stamp’s design during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, will also be on hand. During the event in Washington, DeJoy said the stamp will help keep alive the memory of Lewis and all that he accomplished.

“John Lewis lived a life of consequence,” DeJoy said. “He was a passionate leader of America’s civil rights movement throughout his life and a voice for his generation. Our nation certainly benefited from his fearlessness and his unfailing willingness to get into good trouble.”


What: John Lewis Stamp First-Day-of-Issue Celebration

When: Noon Friday

Where: Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta

To attend: RSVP by visiting