Ernest J. Gaines Dedication Ceremony
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Conference Center
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Left to right : Matt Kelly, Beatrice Cox, Alma Jones, Wilhelmenia Rembert, Melanie Pratt, Postmaster Justin Henderson, Vivian Roscoe, Londia Langston, Eloise Harris, Doris Brown, Robert Weeks
ERNEST J. GAINES STAMP DEDICATION
AND FIRST 2023 NC ESPER MEETING
NC ESPER, the Seniors in the Spotlight Stamp Club, and the Seniors in the Spotlight Ministry of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church collaborated to sponsor a dedication of the 2023 Black Heritage Series stamp depicting an image of author, Ernest Gaines. Gaines is best known for his novels “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Lesson Before Dying”. The Stamp Dedication was held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 10:30 am in the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Conference Center, 3400 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28216. The stamp is the 46th in the Black Heritage Series, the longest running series in U.S. postal history. Approximately 200 people attended in-person or virtually via the ZOOM Platform.
Our special guests were children from the Friendship Day School and several of their teachers. We recently met with Day school staff to create an after school program with students, teaching them about stamps in the Black Heritage Series and helping them start their own collections of these stamps and other stamps that might interest them. Members of Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Book Club acted as greeters.
NC ESPER members featured their stamp albums and other display items on tables around the room for attendees to peruse. Many were fascinated by the large number of African Americans stamps issued by the US Postal service. NC ESPER also solicited signatures on a petition from National ESPER to be mailed to the Stamp Advisory Committee, requesting that a stamp be created honoring Lewis H. Latimer, American Inventor. Latimer, working with the Edison team, contributed greatly to a patent using a filament in the electric light bulb.
The Gaines stamp and other postal memorabilia were available for purchase at the event. The Charlotte Postmaster, Justin Henderson, brought remarks and performed the stamp unveiling ceremony.
NC ESPER has sponsored stamp dedications every year from 2007- 2019. The 2020 Gwen Ifill dedication was cancelled 3 days prior to the event taking place due to the onset of the Covid-19 epidemic. The Seniors Ministry took the lead in 2021 and 2022 with ZOOM virtual presentations.
At 1:00 pm a luncheon meeting of NC ESPER was convened several blocks away at the House of Prayer for All People with 17 people in attendance (12 members and 5 guests/ prospective members).
After Introductions, Mary Love educated us about Gaines and other Black authors on U S Postage Stamps using materials from her display at the stamp dedication.
Beatrice A. Cox
NC ESPER Director
Children attending from the Friendship School
Bea Cox - Co-chair of Unveiling event,
NC Esper Director
Vivian Roscoe - President, Seniors in the Spotlight Stamp Club
Melanie Pratt - Praise 100.9 - Bea's Daughter
AA Authors display by M. Love
Eloise Harris - Co-chair of Unveiling event
Gaines's display with 5 books by M. Love
Charlotte Postmaster - Mr. Justin Henderson
Attendees at the unveiling
Vivian Roscoe and Members Of Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Book Club
NC ESPER and SRS in Spotlight Stamp Club memberd in attendance. L to R: Joan Williams, Dr. Lorraine Dancy, Ricky Johnson, Dr. Robert Cox, Wilhelmina Bell, Doris Brown, Beatrice Cox, Vivian Roscoe, Eloise Harris, Dr. Mary Love
NC ESPER and SRS in Spotlight Stamp Club memberd in attendance. L to R: Joan Williams, Dr. Lorraine Dancy, Ricky Johnson, Dr. Robert Cox, Wilhelmina Bell, Doris Brown, Beatrice Cox, Vivian Roscoe, Eloise Harris
L to R: Beatrice Cox, Postmaster Justin Henderson, Rev. Harry Tyson, Vivian Roscoe
Group attending dedication ceremony talking group picture