February 12, 2015
WASHINGTON — 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. “Booker T. Washington recruited Taylor to the Tuskegee Institute to help show the world what an all-black institution could accomplish. Taylor designed and oversaw the construction of dozens of new buildings built in an elegant, dignified style that befitted his personality. But it was Tuskegee’s Chapel that Taylor considered to be his finest achievement and masterpiece. Washington referred to the graceful, round-arch structure as the ‘most imposing building’ at Tuskegee. 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.”
Read more at usps.com