New Forever stamp to debut at South Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration
Mississippi became the 20th state of the Union on Dec. 10, 1817. This new U.S. Forever stamp shows a close-up of a musician’s hands as he plays his guitar in honour of the birthplace of many legendary blues artists who created a uniquely American genre of music. The stamp will always be equal in value to the current first-class mail one-ounce rate. The stamp was designed by art director Greg Breeding based on the 2009 photo by Bopp.
THE MAGNOLIA STATE
Known as the Magnolia State, Mississippi is named after the Mississippi River, which runs along its western border. Among U.S. states, Mississippi is 32nd in size, and with about three million people, it ranks 31st in population.
The word Mississippi is derived from a Native American word meaning “great water” or “father of waters.” Among the native peoples were the Natchez, part of the Mound Builders culture. The Mound Builders constructed large earthen mounds used for burials or ceremonial purposes.
The area that’s now Mississippi was first explored by Europeans in 1540. Conflicts during the 18th century saw the area change hands between the colonial powers of Britain, France, and Spain, which eventually ceded the territory to the U.S. in the 1790s.
Attendees of the March 31 ceremony include James Cochrane, executive vice-president and chief customer and marketing officer of USPS; Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi; William Gardner Hewes, mayor of Gulfport, Miss.; Elizabeth Johnson, district manager of USPS Mississippi District; Laura Lee Lewis, Miss Mississippi 2016; Walt Grayson, writer and broadcaster for WLBT-TV; Bishop Lewis Kihneman, pastor for St. Philip the Apostle Parish; George Schloegel, director of Hancock Holding Company; Jimmy Duck Holmes, musician; Jesmyn Ward, novelist; and Rev. Quintin Smith, of the Historical Baptist Church of Millington.
OTHER U.S. STAMPS COMMEMORATING MISSISSIPPI
In April 1948, a three-cent stamp (U.S. Scott #955) was issued to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Mississippi Territory, which existed from April 7, 1798 until Dec. 10, 1817, when Mississippi became the 20th U.S. state.
In December 1967, a five-cent stamp (U.S. Scott #1337) was issued to mark the 150th anniversary of Mississippi statehood. The stamp features a magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), the official state flower.
More recently, in 2009, USPS issued a 44-cent coil stamp (U.S. Scott #4300) depicting Mississippi’s state flag alongside black bears as part of its Flags of Our Nation series.
Followers of the USPS Facebook page can stream a live feed of the event this Friday at facebook.com/USPS.