Following the Emancipation Proclamation, Frederick Douglass, a former slave and prominent abolitionist began recruiting free blacks for the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Douglass’s sons Lewis and Charles would eventual join this regiment. In August 1863, President Lincoln and Frederick Douglas met at the White House to discuss inequalities in compensation and treatment of black Union soldiers. The following year the two men met again, this time Lincoln solicited Douglass’s advice on tactics the Union could employ in assisting slaves to escape the South in the event that Federal forces could not defeat the Confederacy.
The stamp featured here depicting President Lincoln was at first designed showing Lincoln in an orator’s pose. However, for the final version, Mark Hess, the artist for this issue changed the stamp to one depicting Lincoln in a formal pose. The background is the unfinished capital building present during the Civil War. The artist depicts dark clouds, representing the fact that the war was a troubling time in Lincoln’s life. The Postal Service issued these two stamps honoring Lincoln and Douglass along with eighteen other stamps showcasing famous Civil War battles and individuals on June 29th, 1995, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.