Original Document
Original Document
Joseph F. Nolan, "B. T. Washington Stamp Rewards Philadelphia Banker," Philadelphia Bulletin July 27, 1939.

Five years of persistent effort on the part of a prominent Philadelphia Negro has been rewarded with the announcement by the United States Government that a United States postage stamp would shortly be issued bearing the likeness of Booker. T. Washington, outstanding Negro citizen and educator.

Major Robert Richard Wright, president of the Citizens and Southern Bank and Trust Company, Nineteenth and South Streets, was notified several days ago that the campaign he started in 1934 had finally borne fruit.

Major Wight has risen from a slave to be an educator, college president. Now, at the age of 84, he is one of the outstanding Negro bankers in the country and was for many years president of the National Negro Bankers Association of America. In his earlier days Major Wright held a number of responsible offices under the United States Government, and has been honored by educational institutions.

Major Wright today displayed several telegrams from postal authorities in Washington congratulating him on the successful culmination of his efforts on behalf of his race.

"You have every reason to be jubilant, and I am sure that your efforts to secure a stamp for your race have been crowned with success," wrote Ramsey S. Black, Third Assistant Postmaster General, in a telegram to Major Wright. The major has ordered 100,000 of the Booker T. Washington stamps.

"The issuance of such a stamp is timely," he said. "In 1940 we will celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, constitutionally liberating the American Negro slaves."

Major Wright was born in Georgia in 1855. As a small boy he was taken by his mother to Atlanta, where classes were taught in a dilapidated boxcar by a minister from Massachusetts. Connected with that humble school was a Sunday school which was addressed by General O. O. Howard, then head of the Freedman's Bureau.

One Sunday General Howard made a stirring speech to the small class and asked them what message he should carry to the North about them.

"Tell them we are rising, General." said a small boy in the back of the room. Whittier later wrote a poem about the boy who is the 84-year-old Philadelphia banker.

Continuing his studies young Wright attended Atlanta University, where he received. A.B. and A.M. degrees. He was the principal of the first high school in his State, and later became president of the Georgia State College where he remained for thirty years. For the last eighteen years he has been president of the Citizens and Southern Bank.

Associated with Major Wright in his efforts for a stamp for the Negro race, were the Rev. Marshall L. Shepard, a former member of the State Legislature, Dr. John P Turner, member of the Board of Education, the Rev. Dr. W. C. Williamson, pastor of the White Rock Baptist Church and Bishop Daniel H. Sims, of the African Methodist Church.

Credit: Philadelphia Bulletin
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