Detroit, Michigan: National Alliance of Postal Employees, 1946-1947. 12” x 9”. Stapled self-wrappers. Four issues pp. 24, one pp. 32. Publication sequence: Vol. XXXIII, Nos. 8 (Aug 1946), 10 (Oct 1946), 12 (Dec 1946); Vol. XXXIV, Nos. 4 (Apr 1947), 5 (May 1947). Generally good plus with light corner and edge wear and a bit of toning; one issue with a few inked notations to rear wrapper, another with a few dogears.
This is a group of five issues of The Postal Alliance (TPA), the journal of an African American-established union, the National Alliance of Postal Employees (NAPE). NAPE was founded in 1913 at a meeting of Black postal workers held in Chattanooga. Since its founding, NAPE has invited all members regardless of race, sex, creed or religion and the union claims that it was the first in the federal service to do so.
Each issue of TPA on offer here stated its objective:
“To keep the membership informed as to what is going on in the Postal Service; improve our efficiency for the good of the service and to show that Negroes form an integral part of American civilization, and . . . are entitled to the same equality of opportunity as other citizens to play their part in the function of our National Government.”
The journal provided news coverage of NAPE branches nationwide including reports on national, state and district conventions. A few issues contain editorials by J. Hamilton Johnson, a frequent and oft-cited contributor to the Chicago Defender, with titles such as “Are 15,000,000 American Born Citizens Americans or Just 'Negroes'?” and “We Fought for Democracy – Is Fascism the Payoff?” Other columns also relate to politics and labor, including one on African American fruit-pickers entitled “They Work, That All May Eat.”
This run also features eight different profiles of women. We learn about Dolores Greene Stevens, secretary of the Michigan branches of the NAACP, who was the “first Negro to be appointed as Music Teacher in New Bethel Township, where three-fourths of her students are white. She organized the first group of Negroes as Nurses Aides in her city.” One issue features Lulu White, who served as director of the Texas branches of the NAACP. White played an integral role in the historic Heman Sweatt case in Texas which ruled that a university could not reject an applicant solely on the basis of race. Sweatt was also a letter carrier in Houston and a member of NAPE; another issue here covered his case and asked, “Do you not take pride in belonging to an organization with men of courage like Heman Sweatt?”
The issues are rich with photographic images. There are shots of NAPE officers with government officials and other notable African Americans such as Thomasina Johnson, Chief of Minority Group Services of the United States Employment Service. One image, captioned “NAPE Legislative Committee Entertains the Press,” shows Alice Dunnigan of the Associated Negro Press. Dunnigan was the first Black female White House correspondent, and went on to work in various capacities for the Kennedy/Johnson administration. Other images in the journal depict postal workers receiving awards and participating in conventions, civic and social activities.
In 1965, NAPE was renamed the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees and exists today as an independent labor union with national headquarters in Washington, D.C. and branches in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A celebratory and well-illustrated journal of an African American-led federal union. OCLC shows twenty institutions with various holdings of TPA over three entries, many of which are bound volumes. Searching individual library catalogs revealed that eight of the institutions hold copies of the issues on offer here, though we note that seven of them hold the copies within bound volumes. Good +. Item #7198