We begin with the year 2014 in Part 14 of the Black Heritage stamp series with Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). Known for her ability to break down long-standing barriers, she was never afraid to speak her mind and always supported the disadvantaged. She became the first black woman to be elected to Congress and served seven terms in the United States House of Representatives. She frequently championed the rights of women and minorities during her tenure, exclusively hiring women for her legislative office — half of whom were African-American. Also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus, in 1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman to campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
The subject of the 2015 stamp was Robert Robinson Taylor (1868-1942). An architect and educator, he spent much of his career at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he supervised the design and construction of many of the buildings on campus while also overseeing the school’s programmes in industrial education and the building trades. He served under Tuskegee Institute’s founder and first President, Booker T. Washington (see article Black Heritage, Part 1). Taylor was the first African-American to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is thought to be the first academically-trained black architect in the United States.
Richard Allen (1760-1831) was featured on the 2016 Black Heritage stamp. Born into slavery, he was an educator, author, activist and abolitionist whose passionate writings inspired later visionaries. Allen became a church minister after purchasing his freedom from slavery. In 1794, he founded the Bethel Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, it was controlled by white church leaders. But in 1816 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, declared that the church could be independent of the white leaders and it became the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The 2016 Richard Allen stamp coincided with the 200th anniversary of the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
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