Houston Forward Times

26 February 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

Senior Citizens and Activists Continue to Fight Historic Post Office Closure

The Houston Forward Times (HFT) has an update concerning the community’s fight to save the historic Southmore Station Post Office located in the Third Ward community of Houston, Texas. After reporting in January that thousands of written letters were hand delivered to the Post Master General at their U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington D.C., the HFT has now learned that the U.S. Postal Service has once again placed signage at the Post Office announcing its plans to proceed with the relocation of the station. The Southmore Station Post Office, which has been designated a historic site in Third Ward, is the place where students marched from Texas Southern University’s campus to perform the first sit- in demonstration in Houston. Those Black students challenged the segregated lunch counters at Weingarten Supermarket in 1960 and now there is a Texas Historical Commission marker at the site that commemorates the non-violent protests that helped integrate public facilities. The Southmore Station Post Office is the only one of six targeted Post Offices in the city of Houston that a decision has not been made yet for relocation. The other sites that have been decided on are: Greenbriar, Julius Melcher, Medical Center, Memorial Park and University, according to local U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Dionne Montague. The U.S. Postal Service has not released any information on where the five relocated locations would be, but they have decided that they will no longer reside at their current addresses. The Southmore Station Post Office, if relocated would be moved to a location within the same 77004--ZIP code, according to Postal Service officials. “Notices for the five locations with the exception of Southmore have come forward,” said Montague. “Because we got so many letters, we’re still reviewing Southmore. There will be an announcement for Southmore shortly, once we finish the review process.” The fact that all the letters for the Southmore Station Post Office have not been fully reviewed is troubling to many community residents who find the new relocation signage troubling. Earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service removed a notice concerning the relocation of the Southmore Station Post Office, after an initial rally and Town Hall meeting prompted the U.S. Postal Service to extend the date for accepting appeals until January 17th; so when patrons saw a new relocation notice placed on the doors of the Post Office before the other letters had been reviewed, it prompted Congresswoman Jackson Lee and community activists to hold another press conference and rally. At the press conference, which was held in front of the Southmore Station Post Office, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and several other concerned citizens expressed their disdain with the proposed relocation and shared their thoughts with the media. “Where in the world……,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “Where in the world will seniors who are disabled and operate mobilized wheelchairs going to go? This is a fight for our seniors, businesses and families. For safety reasons, our senior citizens don’t want important documents to come to their home.” When asked if all the letters submitted to the U.S. Postal headquarters in D.C. had been reviewed, Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated that the letters were still being reviewed and more would be coming. After the press conference, Congresswoman Jackson Lee led senior citizens, community activists and concerned citizens on a march inside the Southmore Station Post Office to express their outrage with the potential closure of the Post Office. The Postal Service is accepting appeals to its Southmore Station decision until March 26. The Postal Service is accepting appeals on all other relocations until March 21. Written comments objecting to the relocation or all of the proposed relocations should be submitted to: Vice President of Facilities, c/o Sandra A. Rybicki, Real Estate Specialist, U.S. Postal Service, Southern Facilities Service Office, P.O. Box 667180, Dallas, TX 75266-7180. The Houston Forward Times will keep our readers informed about any decisions being made.