25¢ Frederick Douglass
Prominent Americans Series
Issue Date: February 14, 1967
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Color: Rose lake
Prominent Americans Series
The Prominent Americans Series recognizes people who played important roles in U.S. history. Officials originally planned to honor 18 individuals, but later added seven others. The Prominent Americans Series began with the 4¢ Lincoln stamp, which was issued on November 10, 1965. During the course of the series, the 6¢ Eisenhower stamp was reissued with an 8¢ denomination and the 5¢ Washington was redrawn.
A number of technological changes developed during the course of producing the series, resulting in a number of varieties due to gum, luminescence, precancels and perforations plus sheet, coil and booklet formats. Additionally, seven rate changes occurred while the Prominent Americans Series was current, giving collectors who specialize in first and last day of issue covers an abundance of collecting opportunities.
The 25¢ denomination pictures abolitionist and publisher Frederick Douglass (1818-95). The man who would become a leading voice for abolition was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland. At the age of 8, Frederick Douglass was sent to work for one of his master’s relatives. Douglass’ new mistress violated the law and taught him to read.
Douglass escaped to Massachusetts in 1838 and continued to educate himself while working as an unskilled laborer. His impassioned 1841 speech at a Massachusetts Antislavery Society meeting led to a series of anti-slavery lectures. His autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, was published in 1845 to critical acclaim.
Afraid that his former master would reclaim him, Douglass fled to England, where he continued to speak out against slavery. Sympathetic friends raised funds to purchase his freedom, and Douglass returned to the United States in 1847. Douglass fueled the abolitionist movement with his newspaper, The North Star, operated a station on the Underground Railroad, and advised President Lincoln during the Civil War. Later in life, Douglass served as the recorder of deeds in the District of Columbia and U.S. minister to Haiti.
Birth Of Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell was born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Terrell was born to entrepreneurial freed slaves – her father was the first African-American millionaire in the South and her mother was one of the first African-American women to run her own successful hair salon.
Terrell received her early education at the Antioch College Model School in Ohio because her mother didn’t think the schools in Memphis were good enough. She then went on to become one of the first African American women to attend Oberlin College, where she majored in Classics. During her time there, she was voted class poet, joined two literary societies, and worked as an editor of the school paper. She was then one of the first African American women to earn a bachelor’s degree in 1884, before going on to earn her master’s four years later.
After graduating, Terrell began teaching at Wilberforce College in Ohio. She then moved to Washington, DC, where she taught Latin at the M. Street School. Terrell also spent two years in Europe studying French, German, and Italian.
Terrell became interested in activism while she was in college, becoming particularly interested in Susan B. Anthony’s work for women’s rights. She had also met Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, who were both friends of her father. Over the course of her career, she worked on several civil rights campaigns with Douglass. And when she considered abandoning activism for a private life, he convinced her that she was too important to the cause.
After a friend’s lynching, Terrell sought President Benjamin Harrison’s public support against racial violence. Failing that, she adopted the pen name Euphemia Kirk and often wrote about the civil rights of both blacks and women for newspapers around the country. In 1892, Terrell was elected the first female president of the Bethel Literary and Historical Society in Washington, DC. And in 1896 she became the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, which created nurseries and kindergartens. That same year she also founded the National Association of College Women. Terrell’s work ultimately led to her appointment to the District of Columbia Board of Education in 1895, a post she held until 1906. She was the first African American woman in that position. In 1909, Terrell was one of two African American women to participate in the organizational meeting of the NAACP.
During World War I, Terrell worked with the War Camp Community Service. As the war ended, she worked with the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and also attended the International Peace Conference. She was very active in the women’s suffrage movement, pushing for the passage of the 19thAmendment that gave them the right to vote.
In 1949, Terrell and some of her colleagues were denied service at a local restaurant. They quickly filed a lawsuit and over the next three years, Terrell staged boycotts, sit-ins, and demonstrations against other segregated restaurants. Then in June 1953, the court ruled these segregated restaurants in Washington, DC were unconstitutional.
Terrell continued her activism into her 80s, joining in picket lines and speaking out on Civil Rights. She died on July 24, 1954, in Annapolis, Maryland. In the years since, her Washington, DC home has been declared a National Historic Landmark and school was named in her honor.