Continuing with our series of articles regarding the U.S. Post “Black Heritage” series of stamps we have reached the year 1994 when Allison Davis (1902-1983) was featured on the 1994 Black Heritage stamp.
Dr. William Allison Davis was an accomplished anthropologist and the first African-American to achieve tenure at a predominantly white university – the University of Chicago – in 1947. Davis spent most of his career promoting equal education for American children. He developed the DavisEllis Intelligence Test to measure mental development – a test that is relatively free of class bias (upper class vs. low income). He served on the White House Task Force on the Gifted, the President’s Commission on Civil Rights, the Department of Labor’s Commission on Manpower Retraining, and was a member of the Conference to Insure Civil Rights.
Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) was shown on the 1995 Black Heritage stamp. Since it was very difficult in the 1920s for any woman to learn how to fly, Bessie Coleman travelled to France where she became the first woman to earn her International Aeronautics licence after just seven months. Coleman became known as “Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviatrix”, performing as a stunt flyer. She became such a celebrity that she received full honours by the African American Eighth Infantry Regiment of the Illinois National Guard at her burial. She remains a pioneer of women in the field of aviation.
Ernest E. Just (1883-1941) was the subject of the 1996 Black Heritage stamp. As an African-American biologist and educator best known for his pioneering work in the physiology of development, he received international acclaim for his experiments studying the fertilisation of the marine mammal cell, cell division, hydration and dehydration in living cells, and the effect of ultraviolet rays on chromosome numbers. Dr. Just served on the board of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts, founded the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and was the recipient of the first Spingarn Medal (awarded annually by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by a black American).
On the 1997 Black Heritage stamp Benjamin O. Davis Sr. (1877-1970) was featured. Brigadier General Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. began his military career as a volunteer during the Spanish-American War. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army and quickly moved up through the ranks, becoming the first African-American general in U.S. history. Davis was appointed to the Committee on Negro Troop Policies where he worked on changing the military’s policies on segregation. During his army career he received the Bronze Star medal and the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM).