George A. Jones (1870-1951)
In 1894, George A. Jones became the first African American mail carrier in the city of Scranton. This may sound like a trivial occupation to some folks, but this was just three decades after the slavery was abolished. To put it in perspective, 56.8% of the African American populations in the 1890s were illiterate (unable to read or write). This was a highly respected occupation for any race, that required skill and reading proficiency that many Americans did not have. For that we honor his legacy.
The 19th century was a time of enormous change in the postal workforce — from 1802, when Congress banned African Americans from carrying U.S. Mail, to the late 1860s, when newly-enfranchised African Americans began serving as Postmasters, clerks, and city letter carriers. At a time when most workplaces were closed to African Americans, postal jobs provided an avenue of advancement into the middle class. The United States Postal Service compiled a “List of known African American Letter Carriers, 1800s” there were 323 known African American mail carriers in the U.S. during this century and George A. Jones was among the ranks.