Postmark to honor pioneers

GOOSE CREEK — John Matthews, a retired computer systems salesman, was so impressed by a new series of stamps honoring civil rights pioneers that he thought of a way to keep the momentum going in South Carolina.

The 12 Civil Rights Pioneers stamps were unveiled in February at the 100th anniversary meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in New York. Matthews, who helped start the Goose Creek NAACP chapter five years ago, was there.

"Sometimes there's a lot of baggage with the NAACP," said Matthews, who has been a member for 30 years. "I think we can be progressive and get beyond all that and move forward."

He got back home and called Harry Spratlin, the Postal Service's communications coordinator for South Carolina, about developing a special postmark. The commemorative stamps had been selling well in South Carolina, and postmarks also are collector's items, Spratlin said. The NAACP Goose Creek Civil Rights Pioneer Station postmark got the green light.

The postmark will be unveiled at 7 p.m. today at Goose Creek City Hall, off U.S. Highway 52. Postmasters and NAACP and civic leaders from around the Lowcountry have been invited to the ceremony. Elementary school students will recite a brief history of the leaders on the stamps.

The postmark can be ordered for 30 days by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Civil Rights Pioneers Postmark Station, Attn: Postmaster, 307 Goose Creek Blvd. Goose Creek, S.C. 29445-9998.