Albert Jackson stamp issued today

A stamp honouring Albert Jackson, who’s thought to be the first Black letter carrier in Canada, was issued nationwide by Canada Post today.

Jackson earned his appointment to the civil service in 1882 but faced racism from his colleagues, media and members of the public as he pursued what ultimately became a successful 36-year career with the postal service. The colourful stamp, which measures 26 millimetres by 33 millimetres, depicts Jackson in his circa 1890 uniform as he delivers mail along his route.

“Albert Jackson’s determination opened the doors for many Black Canadians to enter the postal service,” said Ann Therese MacEachern, chief human resources officer at Canada Post. “His courage laid the foundation for the diverse workforce we have at Canada Post today.”

Originally from Delaware, Jackson was born into slavery. He was just a toddler when his mother, Ann Maria, fled the U.S. with seven of her children, making the daring escape after her two eldest sons were sold.

The family arrived in Toronto via the Underground Railroad in 1858 and settled in St. John’s Ward, near Osgoode Hall.

A total of 8,000 official first-day covers measuring 190 millimetres by 112 millimetres were also issued nationwide today.

HOMETOWN HERO

Growing up in Toronto, Jackson was able to pursue his education and as an adult, he competed for and won a position as a letter carrier in 1882; however, when he reported for work, his co-workers refused to train him and he was assigned a lower job as hall porter.

After political pressure – particularly from Toronto’s Black community – and intervention from Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, Jackson was soon out walking his delivery route in Harbord Village, where a laneway has since been named after him.

The new issue is available in booklets of 10 stamps, 150,000 of which were printed by Lowe-Martin using four-colour lithography.

Designed by Andrew Perro and illustrated by Ron Dollekamp, the stamp showcases Jackson in the uniform he fought so hard to wear. Recreating Jackson’s look was the biggest challenge, Dollekamp said.

“I wanted to show him performing his duty with a slight smile and a spring in his step as if he has stepped out of history to hand you your mail.”

An official first-day cover (OFDC) was also cancelled in Toronto The OFDC features an illustration of the modern-day street sign marking Albert Jackson Lane, near the Toronto intersection of Harbord Street and Bathurst Street. The lane was dedicated to Jackson in 2013.

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