Gaines will be honored  on the 46th Black Heritage stamp, which will be released on Mon. Jan. 23, 2023.. 

In 1933, Gaines was born to sharecroppers on the Riverlake Plantation in Oscar, LA and later spent his childhood in California. Later he would draw on his childhood experiences to tell the stories of rural African Americanswith them often navigating life in the South.

He is best known for his  breakthrough 1971 book  “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” for which he received a Pulitzer Prize. 

The novel highlights recollections of its 110 years old protagonist, whose life spans slavery to the civil rights era. The book was made into a movie featuring Cicely Tyson. 

Gaines wrote nearly a dozen novels throughout the years.  Others he’s most recognized for are “A Long Day in November,” “A Lesson Before Dying” and “A Gathering of Old Men,” about a group of Black men who assert their humanity and pride in the face of long-standing prejudice and violence.

In 2013, he was recognized for his work by receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

The critically acclaimed novelist passed away in 2019 from cardiac arrest. 


Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio.  The prolific writer penned more than a dozen novels and went on to write a series of children’s books with her son Slade Morrison.  

Morrison almost exclusively wrote about the Black American experience, particularly Black female experience.  In an unjust society, her characters struggle to find themselves and their cultural identity.

She attended Howard University (B.A., 1953) and Cornell University (M.A., 1955). She taught at  Texas Southern University, Howard, State University of New York at Albany, and finally at Princeton University, before retiring from teaching in 2006.  .

Her first published novel The critically acclaimed Beloved (1987), which won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction,was “The Bluest Eye” in 1970, followed by “Sula,” Song of Solomon.” “Tar Baby,”  followed by the critically acclaimed Beloved (1987), for which she won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction,

She went on to write more than a half dozen more novels, and in 1993, followed up her Pulitzer Prize with a Nobel Prize for Literature.In 2012, she was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Morrison died in 2019..  The USPS has a policy of not featuring living people on stamps, which explains what many may believe is a long overdue recognition of Morrison.