Arago: 5-cent Black

5-cent Black

A 5-cent Great American Series stamp honoring Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black was issued in Washington, DC, on February 27, 1986, the centennial of his birth. It went on sale at post offices nationwide on February 28, 1986. Designed by Christopher Calle of Stamford, Connecticut, the single-color engraved stamp features a solemn rendering of the distinguished justice.

Hugo LaFayette Black was born in Harlan, Alabama, on February 27, 1886. After a noteworthy career as an attorney, police judge, and county solicitor, Black was elected to the US Senate in 1926. He swiftly became the voice of Senate liberals, helping pass much of President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" legislation, including the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority and federal wage and hour laws.

In 1937, President Roosevelt named Black to the Supreme Court, where he became an ardent crusader for First Amendment protection. For more than three decades on the bench, Black advocated the enforcement of antitrust laws, racial desegregation, and protection of the rights of American citizens abroad. Generally, his was the liberal viewpoint in an otherwise conservative Court. Black died in Washington, DC, on September 25, 1971, one week after retiring from the Court.

The stamp was engraved through the intaglio process by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, with 100 stamps per pane.


Postal Bulletin (January 23, 1986).

Additional Records