By Janice Malone
NASHVILLE, TN — Last week the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) and the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp in honor of legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne. The unveiling took place in the conference room of the post office on Royal Parkway. NMAAM Chief Curator Steven Lewis gave remarks detailing some of the
many highlights of the legendary Ms. Horne’s lengthy and illustrious career, that spanned from film, music, Broadway television and a lifetime of dedication to civil rights and equality for all. “Lena Horne is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic figures in American entertainment. She rose from humble beginnings to a prominent place in American history on the strength of her many performing talents and her lifelong commitment to social justice,” Mr. Lewis shared with those in attendance. Henry Beecher Hicks III, president and CEO of NMAAM, shared his personal reflections about the new honorary stamp with the Tribune earlier this week, “Lena Horne is one of the most iconic figures in American entertainment and was a pioneer in the American civil rights movement. She devoted herself to breaking barriers and challenging the limitations others sought to impose on her because of her race and gender. We hope that, by our honoring her stoic legacy at the museum, other emerging African-American performers will be encouraged to do the same.” The National Museum of African American Music is scheduled to open sometime in the year 2020.
Lena Horne is best known for appearing in Hollywood classic films including “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather” and the Tony Award-winning one-woman show called “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1917, she spent part of her childhood in the South and Midwest as her mother struggled to establish herself amid the limited options for black performers at the time. In addition to her entertainment endeavors, Ms. Lena also played an active role in the civil rights movement during the mid-20th century. She used her fame to stand up for political causes advancing racial equality and justice. She worked closely with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws, performing at the 1963 March on Washington, and working with the NAACP, SNCC and National Council of Negro Women.
The new Lena Horne stamp is available now for the general public to purchase and for philatelists or stamp collectors at the nearest post office. According to Mr. Hicks Lena Horne will be featured in the museum in an exhibit sharing her emergence into music. “Part of the exhibit will show a short video of her performing ‘Stormy Weather,’ he adds.
The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in 2020, will be the only museum solely dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating the influence African-Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, please visit www.nmaam.org