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Canada’s First Black Postal Carrier – Albert Jackson

06 Feb 2019  Wed

On 25th January, Canada Post released a new stamp from its Black History series. This stamp honours Albert Jackson, who is considered to be Canada’s first black postal carrier. It features Jackson in his uniform in Toronto, delivering letters from his mailbag.

Albert Jackson was born in 1857 in Delaware where he and his family were subjected to slavery. His two elder brothers were sold as slaves which could have been the reason behind his father’s death. A young Jackson, seven siblings and his mother escaped to Canada through the Underground Railroad. After the family settled in Toronto, Jackson earned a job as a letter carrier in 1882. He was humiliated and discriminated by his co-workers because of his colour. They had even refused to train Jackson. This led to major debates in the city. Toronto’s black community and newspapers applied political pressure and finally, Jackson started training on 2nd June 1882. He continued to deliver mails until his death in 1918.

A newspaper from Toronto called “The Star” had published a story about Jackson in 2012. References from a book by Karolyn Smardz Frost and the journal Ontario History were used for this article. People started reading more about Jackson A play on his life was written and performed as well.

Andrew Perro designed the permanent rate stamp and Ron Dollekamp illustrated it. Lowe-Martin printed the stamps by four-colour lithography in 150,000 booklets of 10. The stamp image is repeated on the booklet cover. 8,000 first-day cover were produced and cancelled in Toronto. It features the street sign for Albert Jackson Lane which is between Harbord Street and Bathurst Street. The lane was dedicated to Jackson in 2013.

The Black History stamp series was introduced in 2009 to help celebrate February as Black History Month. Abraham Doras Shadd and Rosemary Brown were featured on the first two stamps from the series. Abraham was involved in the Underground Railroad and the first black person to hold a political office in Canada, while Rosemary was the first black woman to be elected to public office.

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Image Courtesy: Canada Post

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