How timely, then, is the following article from The Wilmington Journal:
BUTTERFIELD BILL SEEKS TO HONOR GEORGE HENRY WHITE WITH STAMP, WEEK OF FEBRUARY 1-7, 2007
The Wilmington Journal
Originally posted 2/5/2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On the anniversary of former U.S. Rep. George Henry White’s last speech before Congress, Congressman G. K. Butterfield on Monday offered legislation that would create a postage stamp commemorating White’s life and accomplishments.
“George Henry White fearlessly and consistently stirred the conscience of America to embrace racial justice and equality for all people,” Butterfield said. “It was a life worthy of remembering.”
Butterfield said that he wanted to offer the bill to try to speed the process of honor [sic] White with a stamp produced by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Last year, Butterfield sent a written request to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) asking that White be honored with a stamp as part of the popular Black Heritage stamp series. The request was co-signed by all 42 House members of the Congressional Black Caucus and all but one of North Carolina’s 13 House members. That request is still pending.
Additionally, Butterfield previously succeeded in naming the Tarboro Post Office in White’s honor.
The 15-member CSAC makes recommendations to the U.S. Postmaster General on which stamp proposals merit consideration. The Committee meets four times a year in Washington, D.C. At the meetings, the members review all proposals that have been received since the previous meeting.
Butterfield said that White, one of 22 black members who served in Congress between Reconstruction and 1901, gave a powerful final speech before Congress on January 29, 1901. In his speech, White predicted, “This is perhaps the Negroes’ temporary farewell to the American Congress; but let me say, Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again. These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heart-broken bruised and bleeding, but God-fearing people, faithful, industrious, loyal, rising people - full of potential force.”
Butterfield also has a bill directing the Architect of the Capitol to create exhibits which depict the Congressional careers, accomplishments and contributions of the 22 African-American Members of Congress who served during the Reconstruction Era, beginning with Congressman Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina and ending with White. Butterfield has a meeting scheduled with the Architect of the Capitol to discuss the bill later this week.
Butterfield said that his strong personal interest in history as well as White’s connection to the district spurred the legislation.
NEEDLESS to say, I was (and am) somewhat in awe that I can call this great man a relative, an ancestor, one of my people. And to think, he might be on a postage stamp someday.
There are a few more prominent Black Americans in my biological family tree that I intend to honor in the coming days as well.