Former Hawks player Mike Glenn opens Black stamp exhibit at APEX Museum

Former Atlanta Hawks player Mike Glenn, left, is introduced by former TV colleague Jerome Jurenovich during a ceremony coinciding with the opening of Glenn's Black stamp collection at the Apex Museum in Atlanta. The exhibit opened in October 2021. (Photo contributed by Mike Glenn)
Caption
Former Atlanta Hawks player Mike Glenn, left, is introduced by former TV colleague Jerome Jurenovich during a ceremony coinciding with the opening of Glenn's Black stamp collection at the Apex Museum in Atlanta. The exhibit opened in October 2021. (Photo contributed by Mike Glenn)

Credit: Photo contributed by Mike Glenn

Credit: Photo contributed by Mike Glenn

Former Hawks basketball player Mike Glenn opened a Black stamp collection at the APEX Museum in October. While Glenn has many interests outside of the basketball, one thing he takes pride in is Black history.

Before Glenn started the stamp collection, he states the idea came from his love from collecting books.

“I started collecting rare first-edition books in 1997, so I’m one of the renowned African American book collectors in the country,” Glenn said. “I have been doing exhibits to share my collection, I’ve done over 30 exhibits off of rare books. I found that newspapers, magazines and stamps themselves were good complements to my exhibits. I could talk about a person and then show the U.S. Postal Service commemorated their service and existence with a postal stamp. It kind of validated it to a certain extent and created more interest. I noticed I have a lot of stamps.”

Glenn’s love for stamps and his inspiration for his collection came from reading and collecting books. One of his favorite books is a widely known book in the Black community. He explains how this book led to him learning even more history.

“My favorite books are ‘The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass’ that was published in 1845,” Glenn said. “It was printed in the anti-slavery office of Boston. When I show that book to young people that it was published in the anti-slavery office, they can’t even believe it was an anti-slavery office. It opens their eyes to history and understanding the past and being interested in the past, the present and the future. My most valuable book is ‘Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.’ It is the rarest book in my collection. Those are two that stand out in American history.”

Although he is an avid book collector, his love for stamps came first.

“As they started the Black heritage stamps in 1978, I was interested every February who would be on the new stamp, and I am still interested to see who will be on the stamp in February,” Glenn said. “That was my first initial interest.”

His love for stamps grew as he traveled more when he worked as a Hawks TV commentator.

“I begin to research and collect other stamps,” Glenn said. “When I traveled with the Hawks as their commentator, in Philadelphia, they had a stamp and coin store near the hotel where we stayed. I started buying some of them and keeping them. Then I wanted the envelopes for the first-day issues to complement when these stamps were issued and where they were unveiled. I found out that you can have American history and stamps. What I found was that you can include Black history in more than just February because National Stamp Collecting Month is in October.”

The Stamp Exhibit starts with Peter Salem and Salem Poor and how critical they were in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It ends with actress Hattie McDaniel and why she was important.

“I made sure we ended the exhibit with Hattie McDaniel,” Glenn said. “Hattie was such an acclaimed actress who did not get the opportunity to be at the premiere of “Gone with the Wind,” which was here at Atlanta, Georgia. Because of the racism and segregation, she never got her applause for the movie she won an Academy Award for. She was the first African-American to win Best Supporting Actress, and she played in 300-plus films.”

Glenn owns many stamps and loves to see which new stamp will be coming out in February. While he could not choose one, he has multiple favorite stamps.

“The Statue of Freedom, it was released in 1875, and I have two of them,” Glenn said. “Georg Olden stamp in 1963 and was the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. I have to mention Harriett Tubman and Booker T. Washington.”

The most important thing Glenn wants everyone to know about his stamp exhibit is the importance of continually celebrating Black history.

“It would be that they can learn history through stamps,” Glenn said. “I want teachers, educators, museums and libraries to know this is a vital way to teach history 12 months throughout the year. Everybody that has been on there has been stamped by the U.S. government to issue a stamp in their honor.”

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