Community members and elected officials pose with the stamp. (Michael L. Jones/USPS)


An overflowing crowd filled the atrium of the Leslie Nelson Shaw Sr. General Mail Facility on Central and Florence for the unveiling of the John Lewis Commemorative Forever Stamp on July 23. 

 The event, hosted by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-43rd) and L.A. Postmaster Jeremie Six, commemorated the stamp’s nationwide issuance on July 21as well as acknowledged Lewis’ pivotal role in the nation’s Civil Rights Movement.  

“This is a very special moment in the city of Los Angeles, honoring John Lewis,” said Waters, who described Lewis as “a very good friend” whom she worked with on projects in Atlanta, Georgia before serving with him in the U.S. Congress. 

“John Lewis was one of the greatest civil rights leaders that this country has ever known. Most of you know how he walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was a march that John Lewis led, and he didn’t stop, going all the way to the Congress of the United States, leading the fight for voter’s registration, voting rights and civil rights. Nobody or nothing could stop John Lewis,” declared the congresswoman. 

A multicultural and multigenerational crowd attended the event. (Michael L. Jones/USPS) 

Many notable community members came out for the celebratory occasion. The families of Tom Bradley, L.A.’s first Black mayor, and Leslie N. Shaw, the city’s first Black postmaster, were represented.  Also in the audience were Lawrence Brown, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 24; Dr. Earnestine Roberts, chair of the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee and former dean of Academic Affairs at Southwest College; and Lura Daniels-Ball, president of Our Authors Study Club.  

In addition, Donny Gilbert from Nicholas Gardens Housing Development and Greg Brown brought scores of young people to the program. Also, members of the Los Angeles Philatelic Club were in the crowd. 

Several elected officials from various cities attended the ceremony including Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, Gardena Mayor Tasha Cerda, Gardena Mayor Pro Temp Mark Henderson, Inglewood Councilmember Gloria Gray, Inglewood Treasurer Wanda Brown, Hawthorne Councilmember Katrina Manning, and Gardena Councilmembers Paulette Francis, Wanda Love and Rodney Tanaka.   

Saxophonist Don Bell (Michael L. Jones/USPS)

The program also featured saxophonist Don Bell playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and vocalist Christy Heath singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

As Waters noted in her remarks, Lewis’ legacy is forever enshrined in the modern Civil Right Movement. In the 1960s, he participated as a Freedom Rider, chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped organize the 1963 March on Washington.    

Determined to eliminate legal segregation in the nation, he led three marches in Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery to raise awareness of the issue.  His first march in 1965 ended in a vicious attack on the nonviolent marchers by state troopers.  Television cameras aired the brutal assault worldwide and the incident became known as “Bloody Sunday.” 

Christy Heath sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” (Michael L. Jones/USPS)

Lewis later served on the Atlanta City Council before being elected in 1987 as the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th District. During his 30+ years in Congress, Lewis continued to advocate for equality and justice for all Americans.  Also, he devoted more than 10 years to establishing the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC. 

Many people attended the unveiling of the John Lewis Commemorative Forever Stamp. (Michael L. Jones/USPS) 

The recipient of numerous honors, Lewis was awarded more than 50 honorary college degrees. In 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. Lewis died in 2020 at the age of 80. 

The John Lewis Commemorative Forever Stamp features a photo of the late congressman taken by Marco Grob in 2013 for Time Magazine.  The stamp is available in panes of 15 at local post offices or online at