African Americans on Postage Stamps

W.C. Handy

“Father of the Blues”

6-cent W. C. Handy stamp
The W.C. Handy stamp was issued May 17, 1969.

W.C. Handy is known as the “father of the blues.” He felt that the music from poor rural African-Americans living in the Mississippi Delta was worth writing down and arranging in properly harmonized versions. In the early 1900s he established his own band in Memphis and wrote such songs as “Memphis Blues,” “Beale Street Blues,” and the world-famous “St. Louis Blues.”

The Black Experience