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The Postmistress – Postscript

August 10, 2017

Minnie Cox was a resourceful individual.  So was her husband.  On April 27, 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to a friend regarding the mob which prematurely ended Mrs. Cox’s career as postmistress of Indianola, Mississippi.  Then, on June 21 Roosevelt wrote another letter to that same friend where he quoted from two sources.

Quoting from the first source, the President wrote:  “It will interest you to know that the Cox family, over whom such a disturbance was made in connection with the Indianola, Miss., post office, have started a bank in that same town which direct and reliable information convinces me is in a prosperous condition.  The bank has the confidence of both races.  It is a curious circumstance that while objection was made to this black family being at the head of the post office, no objection is made to the black man being president of a bank in the same town.”

Quoting from the second source:  “Now with reference to Mr. W.W. Cox, of Indianola, Miss., I beg to advise that no man of color is as highly regarded and respected as he.”

But the President was still upset over Mrs. Cox’s ouster.  Referring to the earlier incident he wrote: “This woman and her husband came to the conclusion that perhaps their death, certainly the destruction of their property, would follow any effort of the woman to retain her office; and the Mayor and Sheriff said they could not protect her.  Out she went.  Now the fantastic fools and moral cowards who encouraged or permitted the mob to turn her out are depositing their funds in the husband’s bank…”

Theodore Roosevelt was rightly skeptical.  He had demonstrated good judgment regarding the Indianola postmistress, but in a matter of weeks his judgment would fail him as he reacted to a serious incident in Brownsville, Texas.

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