Arago: 25-cent Douglass

25-cent Douglass

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) is the subject of the Prominent Americans Issue's 25-cent stamp. Douglass was the best known and most influential Black spokesman for the abolitionist movement in the nineteenth century. Born a slave, he escaped to the North, where he became an anti-slavery leader. The self-educated Douglass published his own newspaper in 1847, which not only championed emancipation but also women’s rights. He collaborated with the white abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, and he lectured extensively at anti-slavery conventions across the nation. Douglass's best-known work is his autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," which was published in 1845.

Douglass conferred with President Lincoln on the treatment of black soldiers and with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of black suffrage. During the Reconstruction period, he was appointed to the territorial legislature of the District of Columbia and subsequently served as police commissioner and later as minister to Haiti.

The 25-cent rose lake Douglass stamp was issued on February 14, 1967, in the District of Columbia. The sheet stamp was printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 11 x 10.5 perforations. The stamp was also printed as 'magenta' due to an inadequately cleaned ink fountain that had been used to produce the 15-cent Holmes magenta-colored stamp. The stamp was designed by Walter DuBois Richards, based on a photograph approved by Douglass’s descendants. Arthur W. Dintaman engraved the vignette, and Kenneth C. Wiram engraved the lettering. This was the first time Frederick Douglass appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 25-cent stamp paid the foreign airmail letter rate to Asia, and later to North, Central, and South American. The stamp also paid the twenty-five cents Special Handling fee and was used extensively as multiples and with other denomination to pay existing postage rates.

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