Link marked African-American History Month last year by looking at notable African-American postal workers from the 19th century. Here’s a look at some 20th-century pioneers.
1. Christopher Scott. In 1961, this 38-year postal veteran from Los Angeles was appointed as deputy to the assistant Postmaster General for transportation, making him the highest-ranking African-American in the Post Office Department at the time.
2. Evelyn Brown. Brown started delivering mail in Washington, DC, in 1963, becoming the first woman to deliver mail in the city since World War II.
3. Leslie Shaw. This successful banking executive took a 25 percent pay cut to accept the job of acting Postmaster of Los Angeles in 1963. He was appointed Postmaster the following year and served until 1969.
4. Henry W. McGee. In 1966, McGee, a 37-year postal veteran, was appointed as Postmaster of Chicago. He was not only the city’s first black Postmaster, he was also reportedly the first career postal employee to lead a major Post Office in the United States.
5. John R. Strachan. In 1967, Strachan, a 22-year postal veteran, was appointed as New York City’s Postmaster. He later served as manager of the New York Metropolitan Postal Center from 1971-72 before returning as New York City’s Postmaster.
6. Ronald B. Lee. Lee, formerly the head of the Post Office Department’s planning and systems analysis office, became the first African-American assistant Postmaster General when President Nixon appointed him to oversee planning and marketing in 1969.
7. Emmett E. Cooper Jr. In 1977, Cooper became the first African-American to attain the position of regional Postmaster General when he was appointed to oversee the Eastern region.
The usps.com Postal History page and the National Postal Museum site’s African-American history section have more information about these and other pioneers. Got ideas for future editions of “The list”? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.