Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Going Postal: There May Not Always Be Work at the Post Office

This morning I woke to the news that the U.S. Postal Service is warning Congress that it may shutdown before the year is over.

I recently ended up at the National Postal Museum as I was trying to get to the Great Migration exhibit at Union Station next door. In a blog for Examiner.com I wrote:
"I had been to this museum once before, years ago when I first arrived in DC and then I thought nothing of it…but now being in a postal museum seems prescient--will a national postal service one day be a thing of the past?"

This was just last week and I'm sure my thoughts were influenced by having read "What we'll lose if we lose the post office" in The Washington Post. Throughout the museum, I saw pictures reminding me that the postal service employed many African Americans, even when other places wouldn't. It wasn't necessarily smooth sailing because employment did not mean there was no discrimination, but still, employment at the post office helped lift families out of poverty.

The ripple effect of the end of postal service would be huge. For years there was talk of cutting Saturday service and there was an outcry against it. I don't know that this would have prevented all of its fiscal woes, but some cuts and being willing to do with less in some capacity may have kept things from getting to this point.

Here is my blog post about my museum visit: A Visit to the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

PHOTO: African American postmen loading bags of mail into U.S. mail trucks (1960s)
Warren K. Lefler, photographer/ Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

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