African Americans in the Postal Service and Philately

Topical Reference Page
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37c Alvin Ailey and Dancers stamp, 2004

The National Postal Museum celebrates African American history by providing online resources about the role of African Americans in the postal service and philately.

Object Spotlight

On April 7, 1940, the Post Office Department (POD) issued a stamp honoring African-American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) as part of its Famous Americans Series. The nation's first stamp to honor an African-American, it holds a unique place in American history.

1924 Colored World Series teams features Ed Bolden as manager of the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale Athletics
Chief curator Daniel Piazza shares intimate knowledge, little-known facts and secrets about the stories told in “Baseball: America’s Home Run,” highlighting some of the spectacular objects on display, including discussions with key lenders to the exhibition on artifacts never-before displayed for pubic view.
February 15, 2015 - February 15, 2016

A chronicle of the African American experience told from the perspective of stamps and mail. Includes letters carried by enslaved Americans, mail to and from famous leaders of the civil rights movement, and a significant selection of original artwork for the USPS Black Heritage stamp series from the Postmaster General’s Collection.

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On September 18, 1970, legendary musician Jimi Hendrix died. In celebration of Hendrix's life and music, the National Postal Museum has created this mini-exhibit highlighting different postage stamps with connections to Jimi Hendrix and the era in American history that he helped shape.

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Wooden countertop distribution case
On April 1, 1891 John T. Jackson became the postmaster of Alanthus, Virginia. When he began his career, the twenty-nine year old was greeted with threats from those unwilling to accept an African-American in that position. He remained in his job for 49 years, retiring in 1940.
Langston Hughes stamp
Langston Hughes
February 1, 2002 - August 2, 2002

This exhibition of stamps, books, photos, and illustrations honored the life of Harlem Renaissance poet and writer Langston Hughes (1901-1967), known for his lyrical, jazz-tinged interpretations of African American life. The exhibition opened on the 100th anniversary of Hughes' birth and coincides with the United States Postal Service's release of a stamp honoring the writer. This exhibition was part of the "Stamps with Personality" series, which highlighted the achievements of historical figures honored with their likenesses on postage stamps issued by the United States Postal Service.

Research Article
This article explores the place of letter writing in American history, revealing through the words of its citizens the nature of American life and documenting the country’s search for a uniquely American identity.


Related Blogs

African American Representation on U.S. Postage Stamps

An exploration of the United States Postal Service's philatelic efforts to commemorate African Americans.

Roberto Clemente 1966 Pittsburgh Pirates Home Uniform

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Roy Campanella 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Road Jersey

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