3¢ Lincoln Emancipation Statue
Issue Date: October 20, 1940
City: World’s Fair, NY
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10.5 x 11
Color: Deep violet
U.S. #902 was issued to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, which declared that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude” would be allowed in the United States.
The stamp pictures a statue of Abraham Lincoln, who issued his Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately result in any slaves being freed, because the Confederacy was not under federal government control, but stated that all slaves in the Southern states would be free once the war was over.
The Great Emancipator
“Colored people lost their best friend on earth.” This was the reaction of Charlotte Scott, a freed slave, upon hearing of President Lincoln’s assassination. She then declared that she wanted to honor the fallen President with a memorial. She donated the first five dollars she earned as a free woman. Over the next two years, other freed slaves donated a total of $18,000 to help fund the statue.
Sculpted by Thomas Ball, the statue was dedicated in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1876 – exactly eleven years after John Wilkes Booth shot the President. The day’s events included a 50,000-person parade and a stirring speech by Frederick Douglas, who said, “He was the white man’s president, with the white man’s prejudices… [Speaking to the whites in the audience] You are the children of Abraham Lincoln, we are at best his step children; children by adoption; children by force of circumstance and necessity...even if Lincoln was motivated by political expedience by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, he is our liberator.”
The statue features The Great Emancipator gripping his document as he stands over a newly freed slave with broken shackles, preparing to stand and embrace his freedom. The model for the freed slave is believed to be Archer Alexander, the last man captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #902. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother introduced the future President to stamp collecting at a young age. Throughout his life, he turned to his collection to relax and unwind.
Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt promoted the importance of stamps by personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. This included suggesting topics, rejecting others, and even designing some of the stamps himself. He used U.S. postage stamps to educate Americans about their heritage, to buoy war-weary spirits during World War II, and to send a message of peace and hope as Europe faced the overwhelming task of rebuilding.