Shirley Chisholm (2014) – Chisholm was the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in 1968 and served seven terms. She was also the first Black (man or woman) to run for the United States presidency. Throughout her career, Chisholm championed causes like civil rights, advocating for early childhood education and women’s rights.
Harriet Tubman (1978, 1995) – If anyone deserves a stamp it’s Harriet Tubman. The woman literally risked her life time and time again for not only the freedom of herself but the freedom of others. She deserves high praise and not tacky, comedy videos that make light of her legacy. The Postal service recognized this and in 1978, she was the first Black woman to appear on a postage stamp; and again in 1995.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1985) – Born to parents who had been slaves, McLeod Bethune was known as an educator and Civil Rights leader. She started a school for Black girls in Daytona Beach, Florida which eventually became Bethune-Cookman University. She used the school as a way to show the capabilities of educated Black people and it often rivaled or bested the achievements and standards of white schools.
Sojourner Truth (1986) – Black abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. She went to court to retrieve her son and became the first Black woman to win this type of case against a white man. She is best known for her impromptu speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.
Ida B Wells (1990) – Born a slave in 1862, Ida B Wells would go on to become a journalist and newspaper editor by trade. Wells spent her life as a leader in the civil rights movement. She was best known for documenting the lynchings that were taking place across America.
Ethel Waters (1994) – Waters was best known for her career in jazz, big band, gospel and pop music. She also participated in Broadway stage plays and other concerts. Her most popular songs include “Stormy Weather,” “Am I Blue?” and her rendition of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” In 1962, Waters became the first Black person to be nominated for an Emmy.
Bessie Coleman (1995) – As the picture may reveal, Coleman was an aviator. But before then she was a manicurist listening to the stories of pilots come from the war. But when Coleman went to flight school no one would admit her because of her race and gender. Even Black pilots wouldn’t train her. She had to leave the country in order to learn to fly. Her hard work and perseverance made her the first female, Black pilot. From there she became the first American to hold an International pilot’s license.
Madam C.J. Walker (1998) – Even though Madame C.J. is credited as developing products and technologies to straighten the hair, Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) was adamant that her main goal was to grow hair. She went from selling her wares door to door to opening her own manufacturing company in Indianapolis. But, while becoming a millionaire, she also made sure to give back and empower both men and women in the Black community.