Sons of Italy News Bureau

Press Release .....
Italian Americans Passed Over by U.S. Postal Service, Sons of Italy Reports

WASHINGTON - July 17, 2003 - Since 1869, the U.S. Postal Service has honored only 15 Italian Americans with postage stamps compared to 150 African Americans, 36 Jewish Americans and 14 Hispanic Americans, according to "Honoring Diversity: A Selection of Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamps," a new report from the Sons of Italy's Commission for Social Justice (CSJ).

The Italian Americans with commemorative stamps are: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, football coach Vince Lombardi (2 stamps and an envelope), Bank of America founder Amadeo P. Giannini, soprano Rosa Ponselle, boxer Rocky Marciano, comedian Lou Costello and the 18th century patriot Francesco Vigo, believed to be the first Italian to acquire American citizenship (1747-1836).

Also honored are Italian citizens whose careers flourished in the United States: Arturo Toscanini, Enrico Caruso, Rudolph Valentino, Enrico Fermi and Filippo Mazzei, who was an 18th century physician and friend of Jefferson.

In addition to the 15 stamps honoring Italian Americans, 56 stamps commemorate Italian art and 47 honor Columbus. "Honoring Italy's art is fine," says CSJ National President Michael Paolucci, "but we would also like the U.S. Postal Service to recognize more Italian American leaders and history."

The Sons of Italy is campaigning for stamps honoring World War II hero John Basilone and Watergate federal judge John Sirica. Contact: The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, U.S. Postal Service, Stamp Development, RM 4474E, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20260-2437.

The stamp report can be downloaded at OSIA org. For a free printed copy, send a stamped (37 cents), self-addressed business envelope to Sons of Italy Stamp Report, 219 E Street NE, Washington, DC.

The CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA), the largest and longest-established national organization for men and women of Italian descent in the United States. The CSJ fights the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising and media industries. It also promotes the achievements and contributions of Italian Americans to the United States through research and public education programs.

OSIA Press Contact:
Diane Crespy
Communications Manager
voice: 202.547.8115