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The Postmistress – Part 3

August 3, 2017

Indianola, Mississippi was not far from where President Theodore Roosevelt had hunted bear during the autumn of 1905.  In a letter dated April 27, 1906 he bemoaned the sudden departure of the black postmistress he had reappointed with bipartisan support.

Mrs. Minnie Cox was not only an able postmistress, she was charitable as well.  When her white customers were short of funds, she would pay their overdue P.O. box fees.  She invested in local businesses and grew prosperous.  From the late 1880s into the early years of the 20th century she was accepted and respected by the community at large.

When the bad element drove her out of office, the remaining locals, according to Roosevelt, “deprecated the conduct of the mob and said it was ‘not representative of the real southern feeling.’”  But did they invite her back?  No!  “[They] then added that to save trouble the woman must go!”

The President was not pleased.  He continued the postmistress’s salary but closed the Indianola post office for the remainder of Mrs. Cox’s term.  Meanwhile, the people of Indianola, in order to retrieve their mail, had to avail themselves of the post office in Greenville, more than 25 miles away.

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