Smithsonian National Postal Museum

About the Museum
Stamp Collecting
Getting Involved
Activity Zone
Museum Library

Rotating images of postal history material featuring African Americans African Americans in the Postal Service and Philately Online Resources


Celebrating Black History Month, February 2014

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

Arthur Ashe postage stamp   The Black Experience: African Americans On Postage Stamps
Since the founding of the United States, African Americans have played a pivotal role in the shaping of American history and heritage. This featured collection showcases the black experience in the United States through the lens of American postage stamps.
stamp design sketch   Negro Leagues Baseball Stamp Exhibit
The Negro Leagues Baseball stamps pay tribute to the all-black professional baseball leagues that operated from 1920 to about 1960. From October, 2010 to July, 2011 the museum featured this original art produced by Kadir Nelson for the creation of the stamps.
William Carney, the first African American to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.   The History and Experience of African Americans in the Postal Service
This article explores the unique history and experience of African Americans in America’s Postal Service, illustrating that the United States Postal Service has been both a place where African Americans were discriminated against, and a place where many African Americans found opportunities for advancement.
stamp image   Booker T. Washington Stamp: The first stamp to feature
an African American

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.
African American female postmaster handing out mail, 1930s.   Letter Writing in America: The Great Migration
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.
African American Letter Carrier delivering Christmas mail   Untold Stories: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice, and Equality
By guest blogger Philip F. Rubio. On November 7, 1940, just two days after the election that President Franklin D. Roosevelt won for his third term, he signed Executive Order 8587 abolishing the civil service application photograph. This was no minor matter...
Postmaster John T. Jackson   Postmaster John T. Jackson
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.
  Related Link
 • The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER)

 • African-American Postal Workers in the 20th Century

Back to Top

Homedivider Copyright and PrivacydividerContactdividerSitemapdividerSmithsonian InstitutiondividerCredits