Monday, September 16, 2019

Judith Anne Still Suggests Postage Stamp for William Grant Still & Florence Price

 William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

Judith Anne Still writes:


I am wondering if you would be interested in posting my idea about a postage stamp for William Grant Still and Florence Price, America's greatest composers of concert and opera music. 

There was a sinister reason for the U.S. State Department and White-Power elements to destroy the promise of the operas of William Grant Still and the symphonies of Florence Price and William Grant Still in the 1940s.   How could the dominance of non-minorities be justified if the greatest American composers were proven to be "of color"?   It was bigotry that caused Price and Still to pass on without the recordings, commissions, performances and revenues that they so richly deserved.

And, over 40 years after Still's death, poor and unknown as he was, there remains no proper recognition by the United States government of his achievement, and the same is true of Florence Price.   Both composers wrote 5 wonderful symphonies each, and the "Afro-American Symphony" is the most praised and performed symphonic work in American history.  Still's cantata, "And They Lynched Him on a Tree," had so many performances since 2016 that it is the acknowledged leader among American cantatas.  Even the Congressional Chorus, along with 3 other D.C. choruses presented it with huge acclaim in the Capitol.  (Trump did not attend.) 

In spite of the public interest in Price and Still since 2016, there is no movement on the part of the United States Postal Service to honor great composers of Color. They honor Blacks from the popular realm in the field of non-classical music, and they honor White composers such as Leonard Bernstein, who said of William Grant Still, "We do not admit those composers," but they do not recognize the composer who wrote the works "To You America" (for West Point) and "Plain Chant for America."

If there are any among your readers who feel that this is an omission,  I would like to ask  them to write to Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 1735 N. Lynn St. Room 5013, Arlington, VA 22209-6432.  Or to the U.S. Postmaster, see for the newest  E-mail address. A word to representatives in Congress might also be productive. 

This period in our nation's history is critical, to cut out the rotten elements in national thought, and to bring us all together in a spirit of mutual respect and restoration of the ideals of the American 

Judith Anne Still

William Grant Still Music 

No comments: