Faced with history, the Postal Service flinches

By the Washington Post Editorial Board

As some Americans grapple with their country’s fraught history of racism, it is crucial that the nation’s institutions ensure they are not tuning out the past. That’s why the U.S. Postal Service was wrong to close a stamp-size post office at a century-old former train depot in rural Virginia, a quaint building it shared with a small museum on Jim Crow segregation.

The segregation exhibit — curated with large plaques inside and outside the depot offering historical context and explanation — opened in 2010 at the entrance to President James Madison’s Montpelier estate, southwest of D.C. The museum, accessible through side-by-side doors marked “White” and “Colored,” has attracted tourists who see photographs, information panels and waiting rooms that were racially segregated until the late 1950s. The post office — one employee, open four hours daily — has a separate entrance around the side of the building.


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