This Booker T. Washington stamp was part of a series depicting influential educators. (Smithsonian National Postal Museum)
How Booker T. Washington Became the First African-American on a U.S. Postage Stamp
At the time, postage stamps usually depicted white men
By Erin Blakemore
The person in question was Booker T. Washington, the legendary educator and author who went from slave to esteemed orator and founder of the Tuskegee Institute. Washington’s inclusion on not one, but two postage stamps during 1940 represented a postal first—one that was hard-fought and hard-won.
To understand just how important it was to see a person of color on a U.S. postage stamp, you need only imagine what stamps looked like during the first half of the 20th century. Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, tells Smithsonian.com that at the time, the only subjects thought worthy of being depicted on stamps were “presidents and generals and such,” white men whose national stature was deemed significant enough to rate inclusion on the nation’s envelopes.
By 1940, women had only appeared on stamps eight times—three of which were depictions of Martha Washington, and two of which were fictitious women. In the 1930s, controversy broke out over whether the Post Office Department should issue a stamp that portrayed Susan B. Anthony and celebrated women’s suffrage as opposed to stamps that portrayed military figures. Anthony’s supporters prevailed, and the struggle in turn inspired a black newspaper to ask why there were no African-American people on U.S. postage. “There should be some stamps bearing black faces,” wrote the paper.
New York slave rebellion of 1712. Written By: New York slave rebellion of 1712, a violent insurrection of slaves in New York City that resulted in brutal executions and the enactment of harsher slave codes. The population of New York City in 1712 numbered between 6,000 and 8,000 people, of whom approximately 1,000 were slaves.
The President Signs the “Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act of 2000”
President Clinton signed into law P.L. 106-182, the Senior Citizens’ Freedom To Work Act of 2000. As yet, a public law number has not been assigned.
Eliminates the Social Security retirement earnings test in and after the month in which a person attains full retirement age–currently age 65. Elimination of the retirement test would be effective with respect to taxable years ending after December 31, 1999.
In the calendar year the beneficiary attains the full retirement age, permanently applies the earnings limit for those at the full retirement age through age 69 ($17,000 in 2000, $25,000 in 2001 and $30,000 in 2002) and the corresponding reduction rate ($1 for $3 offset) to all months prior to attainment of the full retirement age. (In applying the earnings test for this calendar year, only earnings before the month of attainment of full retirement age are considered.)
Permits, beginning with the month in which the beneficiary reaches full retirement age and ending with the month prior to attainment of age 70, the retired worker to earn a delayed retirement credit for any month for which the retired worker requests that benefits not be paid even though he/she is already on the benefit rolls.
On March 1, 2000, the House approved an earlier version of H.R. 5. The Senate approved an amended version of the legislation on March 22, 2000. The House agreed to the Senate amendment to the legislation and cleared the measure for transmission to the President on March 28, 2000. For additional detail, see Legislative Bulletins 106-16, 106-17, 106-18 and 106-19.
2000 – U.S. President Clinton signed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits.