Virginia post office at 4th U.S. President’s estate shut down over ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ signage

Stephen Nartey August 18, 2022
The Montpelier Station railroad depot was built in 1910. Photo: Clint Schemmer/The Star-Exponent via AP

The Montpelier historic train depot museum in Virginia will remain open to the public, but, the small post office serving at least 100 customers in the community will remain closed. The post office, which had one employee, operated for four hours daily.

That’s according to the United States Postal Service (USPS) which stated that the museum still has signage above its outside doors that are labeled “White and “Colored”.

The Management said their decision was informed by concerns that some patrons of their office may associate racial connotations to their operations in Virginia based on the segregated entrances.

The Madison’s Montpelier estate was the traditional residence of the United States’ fourth president, James Madison and his wife, where they owned a plantation with slaves. The estate is considered a racial establishment because it once served as a segregated institute.

The postal service in a statement signed by Philip Bogenberger explained that they do not find the racial labels acceptable in the direction of their operations. According to Bogenberger, they cannot support operating in an establishment that serves as a reminder of the painful legacy of discrimination and segregation.

The decision is however facing stiff opposition from city authorities. The Montpelier Foundation Communications director, Christy Moriaty, said they want the USPS to back track on their decision and reopen the post office.

She explained that it has historical attachment to the community and it would be unfair to close it over the symbolism of labels on its outside doors. She indicated that the museum will remain open because they own the train depot building and the exhibition.

The Montpelier Foundation Communications director’s call has gotten the backing of U.S. Representative for the region Abigail Spanberger, who is asking for the postal office to be opened.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 18, 2022


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