Black Heritage

1983 20¢ Black Heritage: Scott Joplin
November 24, 1867

Happy Birthday Scott Joplin 

While Scott Joplin’s exact birthdate is unknown, it’s often considered to be November 24, 1868, as shown on his tombstone.  Joplin was dubbed the “King of Ragtime Writers,” known for hits such as “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer.”

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1995 32¢ Jazz Musicians: Coleman Hawkins
November 21, 1904

Happy Birthday Coleman Hawkins

Jazz musician Coleman Randolph “Hawk” Hawkins was born on November 21, 1904, in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Hawkins is credited with establishing the tenor saxophone as a prominent jazz instrument.

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1969 6¢ W. C. Handy
November 16, 1873

Happy Birthday, W.C. Handy

Composer and musician William Christopher Handy was born on November 16, 1873, in Florence, Alabama. He called himself the “Father of the Blues” for his role in popularizing the style on a national level.

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1991 29¢ Jan E. Matzeliger
September 15, 1852

Birth of Jan Matzeliger

Inventor Jan Matzeliger was born on September 15, 1852, in Paramaribo, Dutch Guyana (present-day Surinam).  He invented a device that is considered “the most important invention for New England” and the “greatest step forward in the shoe industry.” 

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2001 34¢ Black Heritage: Roy Wilkins
August 30, 1901

Birth of Roy Wilkins 

Civil Rights activist Roy Ottoway Wilkins was born on August 30, 1901, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a leader in the Civil Rights movement and a major figure in the NAACP for over 20 years.

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2018 50¢ Black Heritage: Lena Horne
June 30, 1917

Birth of Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born on June 30, 1917, in New York City, New York.  Horne was one of the great icons of the 20th century.  She spent over 70 years in the entertainment industry as an actress and jazz singer and was also an acclaimed civil rights activist. 

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2015 49¢ Robert Robinson Taylor
June 8, 1868

Birth of Robert R. Taylor

Robert Robinson Taylor was born on June 8, 1868, in Wilmington, North Carolina.  He was the first African American student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the first fully accredited African American architect in the US.

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1994 29¢ Blues and Jazz Singers: Muddy Waters
April 30, 1983

Death of Muddy Waters

On April 30, 1983, legendary blues musician Muddy Waters died in Westmont, Illinois. Dubbed the “Father of Modern Chicago Blues,” Waters had dozens of hits over the years and has been a major influence for generations of musicians.

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2015 49¢ Maya Angelou
April 4, 1928

Birth of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Poet, actor, author, teacher, and activist, Angelou became an influential voice of the 20th century.  

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