Post office supporters won’t back down

by Cierra Duncan

Third Ward residents continued to rally to save the Southmore Post Office on Almeda while commemorating the 54th Anniversary of Houston’s first sit-in.

In March, 1960, Texas Southern University students marched to what was then the Weingarten’s supermarket on Almeda. Their objective was to be served at the lunch counter like their white counterparts.

TSU students sitting at the lunch counter at Weingarten's supermarket on March 4, 1960.

TSU students sitting at the lunch counter at Weingarten’s supermarket on March 4, 1960.

Today the post office is one of six still being considered for closure or repurposing by the U.S. Postal Service. Supporters refuse to stop fighting to keep it open, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is urging residents to write letters of support to a postal executive by March 26.

Jackson Lee also asked residents to inform others who may be unaware of what is going on.

“Everyday people are using the post office and they don’t even know [it could close],” she said. Jackson Lee added that the facility remains busy and is needed by the community.

“This post office may seem like a small issue,” said Assata Richards, a Project Row House board member. “But it is an opportunity to galvanize our community and say that our community is not for sale, that the history of our community is valuable and that we are valuable.”

Serbino Sandifer-Walker, a journalism professor at TSU, reflected on the facility’s history. She played an instrumental role in getting a historical marker commemorating the sit-in placed at 4110 Almeda.

Texas Southern University professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker talks about the Southmore Post Office's history.

Texas Southern University professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker talks about the Southmore Post Office’s history.

“The students did something in this city that had never happened before,” she said. “They stood up and they said change would have to happen… They wanted justice and equality for African-American people who had been treated like second-class citizens for years.”

Letters of support for the post office can be addressed to Vice President of Facilities, c/o Sandra Rybicki, Southern Facilities Service Office, P.O. Box 667180, Dallas, Texas, 75266-7180.

The above article was published in Volume 83, Number 19 (March 13, 2014) of the Defender newspaper in Houston, TX. (