The First 5 African-Americans to be Featured on U.S. Stamps

Many wonder who were the first group of African-Americans to get their own stamp.

It’s no secret that African-Americans have contributed to the development of the United States; more than we are given credit for. However, most of the ones who have been acknowledged for their work in America have been honored with their very on U.S., postage stamp.

While we know Harriett Tubman and other famous African-Americans have their pictures on stamps, many wonder who were the first group of African-Americans to get their own stamp.

Check out the list below to find out:

1. Booker T. Washington

Born of slaves, Booker T. Washington worked his way through Hampton Institute and Wayland Seminary. By the age of 25, he was named the president of the Tuskegee Institute. Washington was known for being one of the best orators of his time who used his oration skills to be the voice for African-Americans. He also helped develop 5,000 small schools to educate African-Americans throughout the south.

Washington was awarded with a 10 cent stamp in 1940. The U.S. Postal Service invited the pubic for recommendations and Booker T. Washington’s name was repeatedly submitted. Him receiving a 10 cent stamp was an honor in itself because most of the other African-Americans featured were relegated to the stamps worth a penny or two.

2. George Washington Carver

As one of the most famous African-Americans of his time, George Washington Carver became known as “The Peanut Man” due to his extensive work trying to explain the positive effect peanuts could have on the southern farming industry. After being invited by Booker T. Washington to become the Director of Agriculture at Tuskegee Institute, Carver continued his work in botany and agriculture until the day he died in 1934.

George Washington Carver was commemorated with a three cent stamp in 1948. He was picked to receive a stamp for his work in science and how his work with the peanut and sweet potato industry helped farming continue to succeed when most thought the farming industry was on its last legs.

3. Paul Laurence Dunbar

The son of an escaped slave, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry and prose helped foster a better understanding of what African-Americans were going through at the time. Dunbar had been the only African-American to attend his high school and therefore was able to tap into a very emotional side to convey the hardships of his people.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was awarded with a 10 cent stamp for his contributions to writing. While race relations were still hostile, at best, when he was given the stamp, his work was a small piece of common ground African-Americans and whites could find themselves. Paul Laurence Dunbar proved there’s nothing more powerful than the written word.

4. Frederick Douglass

Before becoming famous, Frederick Douglass was different. He was born a slave and when his master sold him to a relative, he was taught how to read which was against the law in the 1800s. After escaping to freedom in 1833, Douglass continued to self-educate himself. He went on to become one of the loudest voices in the abolition of slavery.

Douglass was commemorated on a 25 cent stamp in 1967. Due to the fact there were different developing technologies at the time the stamp was being produced, there are several different versions of his stamp. His stamp was issued as part of the Prominent American’s Series.

5. Archer Alexander

Archer Alexander is a slave who became the face of freed slaves when he was immortalized in the form of the Emancipation Statue in Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Park. Alexander was a slave who made it his life’s goal to have freedom for himself and family. Archer Alexander escaped from his Missouri plantation and found freedom in Illinois. While on the run, he avoided capture by warning Union soldiers of planned attacks Southern sympathizers were developing. Once slavery was legally outlawed in Missouri , Alexander was reunited with his wife and several of his ten children.

Archer Alexander’s likeness was placed on a stamp in 1940 to celebrate the anniversary of the 13th Amendment. It was important for Alexander’s picture to be featured on a stamp because he was the last slave to be captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.

article by jhailey via

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