U.S. Stamps Profiling Minority Veteran


Originally intended to honor Hispanic Veterans, this 20-cent stamp issued in 1984 was changed to honor the contributions made by Hispanic Americans from all walks of life.






In 1994, a U.S. Stamp with a value of 29 cents was issued to honor African-American cavalry soldiers known as the Buffalo Soldiers for their legendary courage and valor. The Buffalo Soldier regiments played a major role in the settlement of the American West. Twelve of them earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. These black troops served in the Ninth and Tenth U.S. Cavalry and the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry. Led by white officers, the four regiments were comprised entirely of African-American soldiers. In the late 19th Century, they patrolled the turbulent Western frontier from Arizona to Montana, and distinguished themselves in campaigns against the Apache, Cheyenne and Sioux. It was the Cheyenne who first referred to these hard-fighting black men in blue as "Buffalo Soldiers" - reportedly because their hair resembled that of the revered bison. To the Plains Indians, the buffalo was a symbol of strength and courage - characteristics easily identified with the black troops of the West. Proudly adopted, the name became a highly respected American legacy - Buffalo Soldiers of the West.*


*Excerpt from http://www.allenscreations.com/mkbsotw.html


 In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Civil Rights series of stamps recognizing Executive Order 9981 signed by President Harry Truman, which officially ended segregation in the United States Armed Forces. The 37-cent stamp shows detail from “Training for War”, a silk screen print made circa 1941 by William H. Johnson depicting African-American soldiers.

Other Stamp Campaigns for Minority Veterans

There are other national efforts currently taking place to have U.S. Commemorative Stamps issued for specific minority veteran groups who have contributed in U.S. war efforts. Sadly, these other efforts have not been successful to date.


The Nisei were American-born men and women of Japanese ancestry who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. The “Nisei” who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team would become one of the most decorated units in WWII.

When the U.S. government and public discovered that Japan was to blame for the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, misguided outrage was directed against Americans of Japanese descent. Most were American citizens, born and raised in the U.S. Whole families, mainly on the West Coast of the U.S. (though some also in Hawaii and Latin American countries like Peru), were forced into war detention camps, also called "internment camps." Patriotic Japanese American men in uniform and their families from Hawaii and the Mainland U.S. were unfairly treated with suspicion. Many enlisted from these camps where they and their families were incarcerated due only to Japanese ancestry. 120,000 Japanese Americans from West Coast states were forced from their homes en masse into 10 war camps. Despite such harsh discrimination against the Nisei, over 20,000 enlisted in the U.S. Army, where they trained and served in segregated units. Many would later openly explain that they served to prove their loyalty to America.

The Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) (commanded by a Puerto Rican, Col. Virgil R. Miller), including the 100th Infantry Battalion, became the most highly-decorated unit for its size and length of service in American military history. These men fought for the U.S. and its allies across southern and central Europe in many key battles.

Japanese Americans also served with great distinction in the Pacific Theater in the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Service (M.I.S.). Among over 14,000 awards, the Japanese American soldiers of World War II earned 21 Medals of Honor, 9 Presidential Unit Citations, and 9,486 Purple Hearts for their sacrifices in Europe and the Pacific.

Although it has built momentum over the years, there has been an unsuccessful national campaign to have a U.S. stamp issued commemorating the Nisei. The Nisei Stamp Committee has obtained thousands of signatures and letters (including more than 10,000 online signatures) and six state resolutions for the proposal, two of which recently passed this year (in Washington and Oregon), attest to the level of support the stamp continues to receive. Nevertheless, the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee announced in August, 2009 that it continues to reject the proposed stamp for the Nisei WWII veterans.

*Some information above copied from http://www.niseistamp.org/history.php


The Tuskegee Airmen were an elite group of African-American pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps trained to use single-engine planes at the segregated Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Alabama during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were assigned to the 100th, 301st and 302nd squadrons, which along with the 99th Pursuit Squadron became the 322nd Fighter Group. Training on twin engine planes began in 1943 to train African Americans as bomber pilots. They became the 477th Bombardment Group, however the war ended before any of these cadets saw action.

Tuskegee graduated 992 pilots of which 450 saw combat action. Over 150 of these African American pilots lost their lives either in combat or in training. The Tuskegee Airmen flew 1,578 combat missions, (more than any other unit in Europe) and over 15,500 sorties. They destroyed 261 enemy aircraft and were the recipients of over 850 medals. There were originally 16,000 pilots and ground crew who were based in Tuskegee, Alabama, between 1942 and 1946.

In March 1945, The 477th Bombardment Group was moved to Freeman Field in Indiana. The white base commander, Colonel Robert Selway had issued a document called Regulation 85-2 which endorsed a strict segregationist policy. On April 5, 1945, African American Pilots led by 2nd Lt. Roger C. Terry and Lt. Marsden Thompson of the 477th Bombardment Group attempted to enter the segregated Officer's Club and on April 9th, Selway ordered them all of the Black officers to sign a statement that they had read and accepted Regulation 85-2. The Black officers refused in an incident which became known as the Freeman Field Mutiny. It was not until August 12, 1995 that the Air Force finally cleared the service records of the Tuskegee Airmen involved in the incident. Over 60 years after the end of World War II, Congress awarded about 300 Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal on March 29, 2007. The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site will be honored on a new commemorative quarter being issued by the U.S. Mint. Since 2006, California Congressman Adam Schiff, and Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr., have led an initiative to create a commemorative postage stamp to honor the Tuskegee Airmen.

*Some information above copied from http://esperstamps.org/t63.htm

To learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen: http://www.tuskegeeairmen.org/Tuskegee_Airmen_History.html


The Code Talkers were Native American soldiers who used a special code based on the their native language to transmit messages, making it impossible for the Japanese enemy to decipher American battle messages during World War II about the times and places of attack. The most widely known and used Code Talkers were the Navajo Marines.

Many Americans who staked their lives on the success of the Navajo view the Code Talkers contributions to the war effort as nothing short of monumental. One Marine Corps signal officer summed up the situation after the war: "Were it not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima and other places".

Navajos were an integral part of the war effort even though they were not given the right to vote in Arizona until 1948, in New Mexico until 1953, and in Utah until 1957! After 56 years since the end of World War 2, on July 26, 2001, the first group of Navajo Code Talkers (the original 29), who developed and initiated the secret Navajo code, were given the Gold Congressional Medal of Honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC. Only 5 were alive and only 4 were able to attend. In November 24, 2001, the other approximately 400 Navajo Code Talkers were given the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor at Nakai Hall, Navajo Nation Fairgrounds, in Window Rock, AZ. Few Navajo Code Talkers were alive to attend. Instead many family members of deceased Navajo Code Talkers accepted their medals.

It should be mentioned that other American Indians, most notably, the Hopi, Sioux, Choctaw, and Commanche, also used their native languages as a code during World War I and World War II, for the U.S. Army. On October 15, 2008, the "Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008, H.R. 4544" was signed by President Bush and became public law. This act required the issuance of medals to recognize the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers with the exception of the Navajo Code Talkers who received their Congressional Meals of Honor and recognition on July 26th and November 24th of 2001.*

*Some information above copied from http://www.lapahie.com/NavajoCodeTalker.cfm

Since 2007, there has been a campaign to have a U.S. stamp issued honoring the Navajo Code Talkers. But this campaign excludes the other 16 Native American tribes who sent men to serve as Code Talkers in World War I and World War II, including the Hopi Tribe from Arizona. Supporters of the Navajo stamp say the Navajo Code Talkers’ operation was much larger than those conducted by members of other tribes. Others feel that the stamp should honor the Code Talkers from all tribes.


To date, all efforts to have a U.S. stamp issued commemorating these various minority soldier units mentioned above have failed. On March 5, 2007 the Arizona Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 1010 urging Congress to establish a new postage stamp honoring three groups of minority veterans who fought bravely for our country: The Tuskegee Airmen, the Japanese American soldiers and the Navajo Code Talkers. The New Mexico Congressional delegation is submitting a similar resolution to call on the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service to approve a Navajo Code Talker stamp.

The information below was copied from http://www.niseistamp.org/news.php:

The Postal Service notified the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) that they continue to maintain their internal guideline restricting commemorative stamps that honor "units, sub-units, and divisions of the military." Linda Macasa, representing the Postal Service as Government Relations Representative, explained their stance as follows:

"Honoring individual components or units would result in hundreds of requests from people wanting recognition. It is a given that all of these units or groups have done wonderful work and made tremendous sacrifices. They have shown extraordinary heroism, played vital roles in maintaining our freedoms, and contributed to the winning of wars and maintaining peace. The committee finds it extremely hard to hold up one group over another. Their choice is to focus on the military in general terms as a way of honoring their contributions."

The Nisei stamp campaign co-chairs believe that certain pioneering groups within the military are indeed deserving of commemoration. Few groups, for example, are singled out in history to be taught in our nation's high schools. The Japanese American WWII veterans are among those, in addition to the Tuskegee Airmen and Native American Code Talkers. These groups are among those credited with opening the U.S. military to integration. This historic reason alone ought to warrant special consideration of select groups of veterans like these. The co-chairs believe that a blanket rejection of all veterans for commemoration because the stamp committee fears receiving too many proposals for such stamps is not ample justification.

The Nisei stamp campaign co-chairs continue to seek a stamp for the Japanese American WWII veterans. Stamp proposals can be reconsidered annually even if rejected by the stamp committee. Each year for the past 4 years the Postal Service has resisted change, and each year, the support for the veterans stamp increases. Just this year for example, Congressman Mike Honda was joined by 42 Members of Congress in co-signing a second Congressional letter of support for the stamp.


What is obvious from reading the above is that our country feels a need to honor all of the various minority veterans who served valiantly and proudly in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the many war efforts and the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee is not recognizing this need. The stamp campaign should be a collaborative effort so that all of these minority units can be recognized. We will continue our efforts for a Borinqueneers U.S. Stamp but encourage you all to support these other efforts simultaneously.


Puerto Rico Stamp (1899)PuertoRico-1899-stamp.jpg

American definitives were overprinted for use in Puerto Rico in 1899-1900.

Sellos de los Estados Unidos eran estampados con las palabras "Porto Rico" para uso en Puerto Rico de 1899-1900.




Territorial Issues (1937)

PuertoRico-1937-Stamp.jpgThe late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, an avid stamp collector, proposed the design for the first commemorative stamp featuring the island of Puerto Rico. In 1937, Roosevelt suggested to Postmaster General James A. Farley that La Fortaleza, the governor's residence should appear on the Puerto Rico stamp as part of the Territorial Issues. The issues also featured the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Alaska. Originally a fort when it was constructed in 1540, La Fortalezais the oldest executive mansion still in use in the Western Hemisphere. The 3-cent stamp, designed by W. Schrange and W. Roach, was issued November 24, 1937, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Emisiones Dedicadas a los Territorios
El presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt, un afanoso coleccionista de sellos, propuso el diseño del primer sello en honor a la isla de Puerto Rico. En 1937, Roosevelt sugirió al Administrador General de Correos que La Fortaleza, la residencia oficial del gobernador, debería aparecer en el sello de Puerto Rico como parte de una serie dedicada a los territorios de los Estados Unidos. En dicha serie también se incluyeron sellos dedicados a las Islas Vírgenes, Hawaii y Alaska. La Fortaleza, originalmente un fuerte construído en 1540, es la mansión ejecutiva más antigua, todavía en uso en el hemisferio occidental.

Puerto Rico Election (1949)PR-1949-stamp.jpgTo celebrate the first Puerto Rican gubernatorial election, a 3-cent stamp was issued in San Juan, the island's capital, on April 27, 1949. The stamp's designer, C.R. Chickering, featured in the design a rural Puerto Rican, called a "jíbaro," holding a cogwheel symbolizing industry and a ballot box representing the election of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín on January 2, 1949. Muñoz, a journalist and a poet, conceived the political philosophy that led to granting the island's commonwealth status, which it still has.

Para celebrar las primeras elecciones gubernamentales en Puerto Rico, se emitió un sello de tres centavos el 27 de abril de 1949. El diseñador del sello, C.R. Chickering, mostró en el diseño un jíbaro que sostiene una rueda dentada, símbolo de la industria, y una urna electoral que representa la elección del gobernador Luis Muñoz Marín el 2 de enero de 1949. Muñoz, poeta y periodista, concibió la filosofia que llevó la Isla al sistema de gobierno del Estado Libre Asociado que aún existe.

San Juan Commemorative (1971)

San Juan StampFounded in 1521, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was founded in 1521. An 8-cent stamp commemorating San Juan's 450th anniversary was released September 12, 1971, the opening day of that year's National Governors' Conference. The stamp design features a sentry box at San Juan's famed El Morro Castle, which symbolizes Puerto Rico to the rest of the world. In order to capture the 16th century atmosphere, artist Walter Brooks executed his design as a woodcut.

San Juan de Puerto Rico fue fundada en 1521. El diseño del sello de ocho centavos muestra la famosa garita del Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, que también sirve para representar a Puerto Rico en el resto del mundo.

Juan Ponce de León (1982)

Ponce de Leon StampJuan Ponce de León began his career of exploration in 1493 as a member of Christopher Columbus's second expedition to the New World. Nine years later, he traveled to the West Indies. In 1508 and 1509, he explored and settled Puerto Rico, founding the island's oldest settlement, Caparra, near what is now San Juan. Ponce de León served as the island's first governor. Royal orders to colonize new lands and acquire additional sources of gold, combined with the desire to discover the legendary Fountain of Youth, led to his discovery of Florida in 1513. A 20-cent stamp honoring Ponce de León was issued in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Columbus's Day, October 12, 1982, during ESPAMER '82, a major international philatelic exhibition.

Ponce de Leon died in Cuba in July of 1521. Later, his remains were transported to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1908, his remains were transported from the Dominican church to the Cathedral of San Juan. Above him an epitaph reads "Beneath the structure rests the bones of a Lion; Who performed deeds mightier that his name."

Juan Ponce de León comenzó su carrera de explorador en 1493 como miembro de la tripulación de Cristobal Colón en su segundo viaje al Nuevo Mundo. Nueve años más tarde viajó a las Antillas. En 1508 y 1509 exploró y colonizó a Puerto Rico, estableciendo allí el poblado más antiguo de la Isla cerca de lo que es ahora la Ciudad de San Juan. Ponce de León fue el primer gobernador de la Isla. Encomiendas reales para que colonizara nuevos territorios y para que adquiriera fuentes adicionales de oro se combinaron con su deseo de encontrar la legendaria Fuente de la Juventud que lo llevaron a descubrir a la Florida en 1513.

Roberto Clemente (1984, 2000)

Roberto Clemente Stamp 1984                                  Roberto Clemente Stamp 2000     

    1984                                                               2000

The fourth stamp issued in the American Sports Series honored baseball star Roberto Clemente. A 20-cent stamp (1984) and a 33-cent stamp (2000) were issued in his honor.

Roberto was the National League Batting Champion four times and played in two World Series. He was awarded twelve Golden Gloves and was the 1971 World Series MVP. He had a lifetime batting average of .317, lifetime RBI of  1,305 and hit 240 homeruns over the course of his career.

Roberto Clemente died on December 31, 1972. On December 23, 1972 Managua, Nicaragua was hit by an earthquake that killed thousands and left many homeless. Roberto and four others gathered relief supplies and chartered a plane  to bring help to the victims. The Plane crashed shortly after takeoff and all aboard were killed. 

Roberto Clemente was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame on August 6, 1973. He was the first Hispanic inducted into the Hall. 

El cuarto sello que se emitió como parte de la Serie de Figuras del Deporte Americano honró al desaparecido astro borinqueño, Roberto Clemente. En los Estados Unidos, se recuerda a Clemente por su carrera estelar con los Piratas de Pittsburgh. También se recuerda a Clemente en Puerto Rico como una gran figura humanitaria. Murió trágicamente, la víspera de Año Nuevo de 1972 en un accidente aéreo mientras iba rumbo a Nicaragua a socorrer las víctimas de un terremoto. El diseño del sello fue presentado en el Estadio de los Yankees de la Cudad de Nueva York en septiembre de 1982.

Luis Muñoz Marín (1990)Muñoz Marin Stamp
Luis Muñoz Marín was the son of publisher and patriot Luis Muñoz Rivera, who led the autonomist movement in pursuing Puerto Rico's autonomy from Spain before the U.S. takeover. Muñoz grew in Puerto Rico and in Washington, D.C., where his father was the island's resident commissioner until he died in 1916. Muñoz Marín attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he studied law. He advocated Puerto Rican independence from the United States and espoused socialism. In 1926, he returned to Puerto Rico to edit his father's newspaper, La Democracia, later called Diario de Puerto Rico. He left the paper in 1928, but returned when he was elected to the Puerto Rican Senate in 1932 on the Liberal Party ticket. Muñoz was elected the first governor of Puerto Rico and was reelected three more times in 1952, 1956 and 1960. He was effective in changing the island's status. Luis Muñoz Marín appears on a 5-cent stamp issued in 1990 as part of the Great American Series.

Luis Muñoz Marín fue el hijo del editor y patriota, Luis Muñoz Rivera, que dirigió el movimiento que luchó por la autononía en Puerto Rico de España antes de que los Estados Unidos tomaran el poder. Muñoz Marín asistió a la Universidad de Georgetown en Washington, D.C., donde estudió leyes. Muñoz abogó por la independencia de Puerto Rico de los Estados Unidos y adoptó el socialismo. Fue elegido al Senado de Puerto Rico en 1932 bajo la candidatura del Partido Liberal. Muñoz fue elegido como el primer gobernador y fue reelecto tres veces más. Fue un agente decisivo en el cambio del estatus de la Isla. Aparece en la espampilla de cinco centavos emitida en 1990 como parte de la serie dedicada a los Grandes Americanos.

500th Anniversary of Columbus' Landing in Puerto Rico (1993)Columbus Landing in Puerto Rico
A 29-cent stamp, commemorating the historic landing of Columbus on the western coast of Puerto Rico, was issued November 19, 1993, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the island's quincentennial celebration. The Columbus Landing in Puerto Rico stamp was designed by Richard Schlecht of Arlington, Virginia. The scenic design depicts two caravel ships approaching the Puerto Rican shore. Columbus used both caravel and naval vessels on his voyages.

Desembarco de Colón en Puerto Rico
Un sello postal de 29 centavos que conmemora la histórica llegada de Colón a la costa occidental de Puerto Rico se emitió en San Juan, Puerto Rico, el 19 de noviembre de 1993, celebrando así los quinientos años de la llegada de Colón a la isla.

Tropical Birds(1998) Antillean Euphonia

         Green-Throated Carib

Antillean Euphonia            Green-Throated Carib

The U.S. Postal Service issued four stamps featuring the Antillean Euphonia, the Green-throated Carib, the Crested Honey Creeper, and the Cardinal Honey Eater.  Two of the birds (above), the Antillian Euphoniaand the Green-throated Carib, are indigenous to Puerto Rico. The Antillean Euphonia is more likely heard than seen due to its preference of the thick mountain forests of Luquillo. The Green-throated Carib resides primarily on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico.

El Servicio Postal emitió cuatro sellos destacando al Euphonia Antillana, el Green-throated Carib, el Crested Honey Creeper, y el Cardinal Honey Eater.  Dos de los pájaros (arriba), el Euphonia Antillana y el Green-throated Carib son indígenos de Puerto Rico.  El Euphonia Antillana se puede oir más frecuentemente que ver debido a su preferencia a los bosques montañosos de Luquillo.  El Green-throated Carib reside mayormente en la costa noreste de Puerto Rico.

Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory StampSix Probing the Vastness of Space stamps were issued in 2000 at the World Stamp Expo.  These 60-cent international rare stamps depict an illustration of the Hubble Space Telescope and photographs of the Radio Interferometer (the National Science Foundation's "Very Large Array" on the Plains of San Agustin, west of Socorro, in New Mexico), twin 10-meter optical and infrared telescopes (Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii), optical telescopes (NSF's Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, east of La Serena, Chile), 100-inch optical telescope (Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena, Calif.) and a 305-meter radio telescope (NSF's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico). The souvenir sheet pictures a digitally enhanced image from the Hubble Space Telescope, depicting the stellar nursery known as the Eagle Nebula.

Seis sellos "Probing the Vastness of Space" fueron emitidos en 2000 en el World Stamp Expo.  Estos sellos raros internacionales  de 60 centavos muestran una ilustración del "Hubble Space Telescope" y fotografías del Radio Interferometer (de la Fundación de Sciencia National en los Planos de San Agustin, oeste de Socorro, en Nuevo Méjico), telescopios gemelos de 10-metros opticales y de infrared (en el Observatorio Keck en Mauna Kea, Hawaii), telescopios opticales (del Observatorio Cerro Tololo Inter-Americanano, este de La Serena, Chile), el telescopio optical de 100-pulgadas (en el Observatorio Mount Wilson, cerca de Pasadena, Calif.) y el telescopio radial de 305-metros (el Observatorio Arecibo en Puerto Rico). La hoja conmemorativa enseña un imagen digital del Telescopio Hubble Space del "Eagle Nebula".

Julia de Burgos (2010)

Julia de BurgosWith this 26th stamp in the Literary Arts series issued in September, 2010, the U.S Postal Service honors Julia de Burgos, one of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated poets. The stamp goes on sale in September. A revolutionary writer, thinker, and activist, de Burgos wrote more than 200 poems that probe issues of love, feminism, and political and personal freedom. Her groundbreaking works combine the intimate with the universal. They speak powerfully to women, minorities, the poor, and the dispossessed, urging them to defy constricting social conventions and find their own true selves. The stamp features a portrait of de Burgos created by artist Jody Hewgill.

Con este sello de 26 centavos en la serie de Artes Literarias emitida en septiembre de 2010, el Servicio Postal honra a Julia de Burgos, uno de los poetas más famosos de Puerto Rico. El sello va en venta en septiembre. Una escritora revolucionaria, pensadora, y activista, de Burgos escribieró más de 200 poemas que sondan cuestiones de amor, feminismo, y libertad política y personal.  Sus obras innovadoras combinan el íntimo con el universal.  Ellos hablan poderosamente a mujeres, minorías, el pobre, y el desposeído, impulsándolos a desafiar convenciones sociales que estrechen y a que encuentren su propia identidad verdadera. El sello presenta un retrato de Burgos creado por la artista Jody Hewgill.



Thanks to Balcones de San Juan for allowing us to copy some of the above text regarding Puerto Rico stamps from their website at http://www.balconesdesanjuan.com/usps/usps.html.

Gracias a Balcones de San Juan por permitir el uso de su texto acerca de sellos de Puerto Rico de su página web en http://www.balconesdesanjuan.com/usps/usps.html