1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.

BTW Stamp
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.


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.

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.

The legislation:
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.


history… April 7

1712 – A slave revolt broke out in New York City.

1798 – The territory of Mississippi was organized.

1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh, TN.

1864 – The first camel race in America was held in Sacramento, California.

1888 – P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time under the name “Collier’s.”

1922 – U.S. Secretary of Interior leased Teapot Dome naval oil reserves in Wyoming.

1927 – The first long-distance TV transmission was sent from Washington, DC, to New York City. The audience saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover.

1930 – The first steel columns were set for the Empire State Building.

1933 – Prohibition ended in the United States.

1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.

1943 – British and American armies linked up between Wadi Akarit and El Guettar in North Africa to form a solid line against the German army.

1945 – The Japanese battleship Yamato, the world’s largest battleship, was sunk during the battle for Okinawa. The fleet was headed for a suicide mission.

1948 – The musical “South Pacific” by Rogers and Hammerstein debuted on Broadway.

1948 – The United Nations’ World Health Organization began operations.

1953 – The Big Four met for the first time in 2 years to seek an end to their air conflicts.

1953 – IBM unveiled the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine. It was IBM’s first commercially available scientific computer.

1957 – The last of New York City’s electric trolleys completed its final run from Queens to Manhattan.

1963 – At the age of 23, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament.

1963 – Yugoslavia proclaimed itself a Socialist republic.

1963 – Josip Broz Tito was proclaimed to be the leader of Yugoslavia for life.

1966 – The U.S. recovered a hydrogen bomb it had lost off the coast of Spain.

1967 – Israel reported that they had shot down six Syrian MIGs.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material.

1970 – John Wayne won his first and only Oscar for his role in “True Grit.” He had been in over 200 films.

1971 – U.S. President Nixon pledged to withdraw 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.

1980 – The U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran and imposed economic sanctions in response to the taking of hostages on November 4, 1979.

1983 – Specialist Story Musgrave and Don Peterson made the first Space Shuttle spacewalk.

1983 – The Chinese government canceled all remaining sports and cultural exchanges with the U.S. for 1983.

1985 – In Goteborg, Sweden, China swept all of the world table tennis titles except for men’s doubles.

1985 – In Sudan, Gen. Swar el-Dahab took over the Presidency while President Gaafar el-Nimeiry was visiting the U.S. and Egypt.

1985 – The Soviet Union announced a unilateral freeze on medium-range nuclear missiles.

1987 – In Oklahoma a 16-month-old baby was killed by a pit bull. On the same day a 67-year-old man was killed by another pit bull in Dayton, OH.

1988 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to final terms of a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Soviet troops began leaving on May 16, 1988.

1988 – In Fort Smith, AR, 13 white supremacists were acquitted on charges for plotting to overthrow the U.S. federal government.

1989 – A Soviet submarine carrying nuclear weapons sank in the Norwegian Sea.

1990 – In the U.S., John Poindexter was found guilty of five counts at his Iran-Contra trial. The convictions were later reversed on appeal.

1990 – At Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center a display of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs went on display. On the same day the center and its director were indicted on obscenity charges. The charges resulted in acquittal.

1994 – Civil war erupted in Rwanda between the Patriotic Front rebel group and government soldiers. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in the months that followed.

1998 – Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono, won a special election to serve out the remainder of her husband’s congressional term.

1999 – Yugoslav authorities sealed off Kosovo’s main border crossings to prevent ethnic Albanians from leaving.

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.

2002 – The Roman Catholic archdiocese announced that six priests from the Archdiocese of New York were suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct.

2006 – The Boeing X-37 conducted its first flight as a test drop at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

2009 – Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.

Source: on-this-day.com