Robert R. Taylor U.S. Postal Stamp unveiling, 2015

Robert R. Taylor U.S. Postal Stamp unveiling, 2015
Courtesy Tuskegee University

Official unveiling of the Robert Taylor postage stamp, Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C., 12 February 2015. Pictured: L. Rafael Reif, MIT President (far left); Valerie Jarrett, great-granddaughter of Robert R. Taylor and then Senior Advisor to the U.S. President (4th from right); Eric Holder, 83rd U.S. Attorney General (far right). 

Press Release

United States Postal Service, 12 February 2015

Robert Robinson Taylor, believed to have been both the first African-American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the nation’s first academically trained black architect was inducted into the Postal Service’s Black Heritage Stamp series today as the 38th honoree. His great granddaughter, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett joined Postmaster General Megan Brennan in dedicating the stamp.

The first-day-of-issuance ceremony, which took place at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, coincided with the opening of the museum’s Freedom Around the Corner: Black America from the Civil War to Civil Rights” exhibit.

“Anytime I face a daunting challenge and self-doubt creeps in, I think of my great grandfather, Robert Taylor, the son of a slave, who traveled from Wilmington, NC, to attend M.I.T. in 1888,” said Jarrett. “He believed that with a good education, hard work, relentless determination and a dedication to family, there were no limits to what he could accomplish. The example he set gives me strength and courage. My family is proud to stand on his shoulders and we know that it is our responsibility to embrace his values, to ensure that his legacy will be ‘forever stamped’ in the conscious of future generations.”

“Robert Robinson Taylor expanded opportunities for African-Americans in fields that had largely been closed to them,” said Brennan, who earned her MBA from MIT...“As one of our nation’s calling cards, we hope this stamp will encourage more Americans to learn more about Robert Robinson Taylor’s life and career.”

Joining Brennan and Jarrett in the dedication were MIT President Dr. Rafael Reif; Tuskegee University President Dr. Brian Johnson; Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee member Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Smithsonian National Postal Museum Director Allen Kane.

Timeline: 2010s
School: School of Architecture and Planning
Department: Architecture
Career: CommunityGovernment & Law
Object: Image
Collection: Exhibits, Honors, L. Rafael Reif, MIT Presidents, Pop Culture, Rising Voices 1995-Present, Robert R. Taylor, Stamps, Tuskegee