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Hattie McDaniel, movie actress, singer, radio and television personality, and the first African American to win an Academy Award today became the 29th honoree in the U.S. Postal Service’s long-running Black Heritage commemorative stamp series.

The 39-cent Hattie McDaniel commemorative stamp highlights the achievements of this legendary performer who won the Oscar for her role as Mammy in the award-winning 1939 film Gone With the Wind. The new stamp is available today only in Beverly Hills Post Offices and nationwide tomorrow, January 26.

“When you are a person who is determined and hard-working, the tables can be turned. Hattie, though the youngest child of former slaves, achieved her greatest honor doing what she loved most-entertaining-for her role impersonating a slave,” said Edgar Goff, nephew of Hattie McDaniel. “Her favorite expression was, ‘Humble is the way.'”

Although McDaniel was often heavily criticized for playing maids and other stereotypical roles, she worked behind the scenes to battle racism and discrimination. McDaniel is remembered for saying, “I’d rather play a maid than be one,” and although she encountered racism in Hollywood, she and several other black actors worked to change the film industry from within during the 1940’s.

“The United States Postal Service is proud to salute the life and extraordinary legacy of Hattie McDaniel,” said James C. Miller, Chairman of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, who dedicated the stamp. “This stamp is a powerful reminder of her unprecedented contribution to Hollywood and to her pioneering legacy to help make this country a better place.”

The ceremony took place at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where the Hattie McDaniel collection includes photographs of Hattie and other family members, as well as scripts and other documents. The collection also contains a large number of recordings from the radio program, “Beulah.”

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How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue: Postmark Customers have 30 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 1-800-STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site at www.usps.com/shop.They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Hattie McDaniel Stamp
Postmaster
325 N Maple Dr
Beverly Hills CA 90210-9998