Friday, February 06, 2009

First African American on U.S. Stamp

For Black History Month, the National Postal Museum has selected the 1940 Booker T, Washington stamp as its "Object of the Month."

The 10-cent stamp was the first stamp to honor an African-American. As part of the Famous Americans Series, Booker T. Washington(1856-1915)was honored as an educator.

In 1888, Washington was appointed as the first leader of the Tuskegee Institute, a teachers' college for blacks. By the time died in November, 1915, the Tuskegee Institute had an endowment of $1,945,000, a staff of almost 200, and a student population of 2000.

According to the museum's Web site, "In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, responding to numerous petitions from African-American supporters, recognized the timeliness of such a stamp and directed that Washington be considered for this important stamp series."

It goes on to say, "Enthusiasm for the Booker T. Washington stamp and its momentous significance for the African-American population prompted two official second day of issue ceremonies, events unprecedented in philatelic history—one in New York City and the other in Philadelphia."

Critics of the stamp said that the stamp should have been the regular first class rate of 3-cents so that more people would have seen it.

Booker T. Washington honored once again in 1956, the centennial of his birth, with first class rate stamp. Shown here, the stamp’s vignette features an image of a cabin similar to the one in which he was born.

To learn more about the Booker T. Washington stamp, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM