The United States Post Office Department 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.
Born a slave in Hale’s Ford, Virginia, Washington served as a role model for
other struggling African-Americans, and, as founder of Alabama’s Tuskegee
Normal Industrial School (renamed Tuskegee Institute in 1937), he profoundly
influenced the community’s self-esteem and self-reliance.
In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, responding to numerous petitions
from African-American supporters, recognized the timeliness of such a stamp
and directed that Washington be considered for this important stamp series.