Partially printed DS, "Stamp for Special Tax / United States / Internal Revenue." Approx. 7. x 7.5 in., cancelled, unused, No. L8188. The only line filled out is the one with Rapier's signature.
James T. Rapier was born in Florence, Alabama to free African Americans. He was educated at a secret private school for African American children, supported by his grandmother's work as a cleaning woman. He preferred drinking and gambling, however, so his father sent him to Canada to live with relatives in an experimental community composed entirely of African Americans, Buxton, Ontario. While there, he reportedly had a religious experience and was determined to help his race for the remainder of his life.
He watched most of the Civil War from Canada, then returned to Nashville, purchasing land and becoming a cotton planter. He later moved back to Florence, purchasing more land and supporting sharecroppers and tenant farmers. In 1872 he was elected to Congress for the 1873-1875 term, one of the first African Americans from the South. As he was working for formerly enslaved countrymen, he also faced death threats from the KKK. He was defeated in the next election, but was appointed as an internal revenue collector for Alabama, at which time he signed the Special Tax document.
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