The Virginia Post Office at the 4th US President’s estate was closed due to ‘white’ and ‘colored’ signage

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

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

Management said its decision was informed by concerns that some clients of their office might attach racial connotations to their operations in Virginia because of the segregated entries.

Madison’s Montpelier Estate was the traditional residence of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison and his wife, where they owned a plantation with slave labor. The estate is considered a racial establishment as it once served as a separate institute.

The Postal Service in a statement signed by Philip Bogenberger explained that they did not find racial labels acceptable in the direction of their operations. According to Bogenberger, they cannot bear to operate in a facility that recalls the painful legacy of discrimination and segregation.

The decision, however, faces strong opposition from the municipal authorities. Montpelier Foundation communications director Christy Moriaty said he wants the USPS to reverse its decision and reopen the post office.

She explained that it has a historic attachment to the community and that it would be unfair to close it because of the symbolism of the labels on its exterior doors. She indicated that the museum will remain open as they own the train depot building and exhibit.

The Montpelier Foundation communications director’s call has won support from US Regional Representative Abigail Spanberger, who is calling for the post office to be opened.

Kevin E. Boling