February is a very special time for me. It’s a time when our nation celebrates and widely honors the proud legacy of African-Americans and their central role in U.S history.
Black History Month started as “Negro History Week.” It was created by Harvard-trained historian and author Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African–Americans, including minister Jesse E. Moorland, founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements of black Americans and others of African descent.
President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Since that time, countries across the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
Each year, the Postal Service salutes this special time to celebrate our nation’s leading African-American educators, entertainers, civil rights activists, politicians, scholars, athletes and business pioneers with the Black Heritage Stamps series. Launched in 1978 with the Harriet Tubman stamp, the series includes stamps honoring Shirley Chisolm, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Fitzgerald, Marian Anderson and many others. This year, the series recognized Robert Robinson Taylor, who is believed to be the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Today, these giants appear on stamps and are available online at The Postal Store and by calling 800-782-6724.
The Postal Service is proud to immortalize these great Americans who shattered barriers of race and gender, with their contributions felt to this very day. We stand of the shoulders of these many trailblazers to fill us with inspiration and action to pay it forward together as one nation.