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

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

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.

Click here to download the stamp report. 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, D.C.

The CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and longest-established national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. 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 U.S. through research and public education programs. To learn more about the CSJ, visit us on the Web at or contact us via e-mail at