Arago: Exhibits


The Black Experience

The Black Experience: African-Americans On Postage Stamps

Created By: Angelo Wider, United States Postal Service & Alexander Haimann, National Postal Museum

On April 7, 1940 the United States released the 10-cent Booker T. Washington stamp as part of the 1940 Famous Americans Issue. This was the first time that an African American was commemorated on a United States postage stamp. The Famous Americans Issue included thirty-five different Americans who made important contributions to the fields of poetry, literature, education, science, music, art and mechanical innovation.

Since the founding of the United States, African Americans have played a pivotal role in the shaping of American history and heritage. Their contributions to America have included the fields highlighted by the 1940 Famous Americans and many more. This featured collection showcases the black experience in the United States through the lens of American postage stamps.

NPM - 10c dark brown Booker T.  Washington single

In 1881, Booker T. Washington became the first principal at

Alabama’s Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), and over the next several decades, he emerged as the foremost educator and spokesman for African Americans. Washington also helped found the National Negro Business League in 1900 and served as an advisor to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.