When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, my family planned our vacations around big picnics for post office employees. I remember the thrill of taking the train from San Francisco to one of these gatherings in Santa Cruz.
For my parents, both longtime postal employees and union officers, that was their community. Back then, it was mine, too.
Today, the U.S. Postal Service is under pressure to slash costs in ways that would be devastating for customers and employees of all races — but especially African Americans. For black families like mine, the Postal Service has long been one of the few reliable paths to the middle class.
My parents were so proud in 1957 when they had saved enough money to buy a house. They sometimes held union meetings in our living room and had me put my seventh-grade typing skills to good use addressing envelopes for the union newsletter.