An extraordinary leader, committed public servant, and champion of civil rights, Patricia Roberts Harris (1924-1985) dedicated her life to improving the quality of life for all Americans. She was the first African-American woman to hold a U.S. ambassadorship (Luxemburg). In 1971 she became the first African-American woman to serve as a director of a major U.S. corporation when she was appointed to be director of I.B.M. In 1977, President Carter nominated Harris as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As a member of his cabinet, she dramatically increased the number and variety of available subsidized houses, and the number of businesses in blighted neighborhoods.
The stamps was issued in Washington, DC, on January 27, 2000 and designed by Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, Arizona. Ashton Potter (USA), Ltd., produced 150 million stamps in the offset process with microprinting "USPS."
This stamp is part of the Black Heritage Stamp Series. Initiated in 1978, the USPS continues to issue a stamp featuring a notable Black American every February in conjunction with Black History Month and at other times during the year.
Postal Bulletin (December 16, 1999).