Norton Unveils First Official D.C. Stamp
Statement from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
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July 31, 2003
Washington, DC-Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today joined Postmaster Delores Killette and Mayor Tony Williams at a news conference to unveil the city's first official D.C. hometown stamp at the Lincoln Theatre. The stamp was developed after the 50 state collection was issued last year and Norton objected that there was no D.C. stamp. She said that she was gratified that the Postal Service had worked closely with her and had produced a stamp featuring D.C.'s hometown identity, including the stamp's triangle shape depicting the original plan for the District, characteristic D.C. row houses, and portions of the current map of the District. Several well known monuments also appear on the stamp.
Norton said that symbols like the D.C. stamp have substantive effects because the more Americans see D.C. residents treated like other Americans, the less likely they are to accept the denial of the rights to D.C. citizens. She said, "We hope the combination of our monuments and row houses attract and intrigue tourists, please collectors worldwide, and give our officials and our business community a new tool for marketing our city." Norton said that she also expects that the D.C. stamp, like the stamps in the 50 state collection, will become collector's items. The full text of the Congresswoman's remarks follow.
My thanks to the Postal Service for working closely with me to develop the first hometown D.C. stamp. For us, the stamp is a historic first, featuring a historic hometown view here in Shaw, which of course accounts for our choice of the historically renovated Lincoln Theatre for the D.C. stamp unveiling. When Congress returns, I will be introducing as well my bills for a D.C. statue to sit in the U.S. Capitol and for a D.C. coin like the coin bill I have twice gotten through the House.
My experience in Congress has been that such bills help inspire greater respect for our city in Congress and in the country. The symbolism inevitably has a substantive effect. The more often Americans see D.C. treated as other Americans are, the less likely they are to buy into the second-class depiction of our city as an appendage of the Congress with residents not entitled to their full rights as American citizens.
My most important objective was to get a stamp reflecting hometown D.C. rather than official Washington. This was not easy because the city is known nationally and internationally chiefly by its monuments. There have been many stamps depicting official Washington, but the city deserves a stamp that identifies the District as our home just as the states typically are identified by characteristic scenes from the states.
The stamp itself is shaped like the original perfect triangle shape of the city. Today's D.C. map is represented in the upper corner of the triangle and is identified by its most salient feature, the missing part of the Southwest corner. On the left side are three of our most famous monuments, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial and at the bottom, the cherry blossoms--all there to show the link between the city and its monuments to help promote tourism, one of the major benefits the stamps provide to their states. Of course my favorite part of the stamp will be almost instantly recognizable to residents as the historic row houses found all over the city, especially in Shaw.
The stamps of the states inevitably tell a story. We are pleased to have the opportunity to have our story portrayed on an official stamp of our country. States want their stamps to convey both the pragmatic and the poetic. We hope the combination of our monuments and row houses attract and intrigue tourists, please collectors worldwide, and give our officials and our business community a new tool for marketing our city.