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A Tribute to our Philatelic Leader

Click picture to see video interview.

Mani pic 1.jpg

Click picture for Mani's obituary 

by Dr. Esper G. Hayes, Founder of ESPER


It is an honor to write this tribute to one of our giant leaders of the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events & Reflections, a past president for eleven years (1998-2011), Manuel Gilyard.  Mani, as he affectionately was called, was a friend, a colleague, and an enthusiastic stamp collector.  His passion for his philatelic interests was displayed in his creative designs seen at the ESPER table at many philatelic shows.

I met Mani in 1997 just as he was beginning to take an interest in stamps with Black faces.  He had been asked by his wife Gwen to help with a school project.  She wanted to teach her class something about African and African American heritage.  This first encounter marked the beginning of our longstanding, professional friendship with many philatelic endeavors and adventures.

When Mani became a member of ESPER, he served as a dedicated, hardworking, promising member.  His diligent hours of propelling ESPER into the spotlight at philatelic venues and in the media were unwavering.  With our memberships in the American Philatelic Society and the American Topical Association, he demonstrated outstanding leadership, eventually getting ESPER our 501(c)(3) status.

Mani’s focus was increased membership, and he preached ESPER membership everywhere he went.  He also championed petitions for unsung Africans/African Americans who should be honored with stamps and felt that ESPER should support others who advocate and petition for these leaders to be honored.

The philatelic world has lost a fallen leader, and we all shall miss him, but we of ESPER must honor his legacy and vision by promoting his memory with increased membership and continuing our dedication to promoting the collecting of stamps and philatelic material depicting people and events related to the African Diaspora and to encouraging and supporting the interest and participation of Black people in all aspects of philately.

Thank you Mani.

Stamps related to Mani's journey through life

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