United States Postal Service Postmaster makes history in Roanoke

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Roanoke postmaster makes history

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Gwen Ifill was a legendary African American journalist. She’s been honored with her own stamp. It was unveiled Sunday during the United States Postal Service 2020 Black History Celebration, that was held at William Fleming High School in Roanoke. Ifill’s stamp wasn’t the only contribution to Black History Month. Roanoke’s new postmaster left her mark as well.

“The first African American female postmaster of Roanoke. Which I didn’t know when I applied for it. I just applied for the job, and I wanted to do the job. Plus I loved the city. But that was the icing on the cake,” says Tashonda Harley.

Hartley got the position in January, and she’s still in shock by the honor.

“I kind of got teary-eyed, that I’m actually a small part depending on how you look at it of Black History. I never thought that I would accomplish something like that. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s humbling,” explains Harley.

For Harley, what made the celebration even better was being able to share the stage with another female pioneer in the African American community.

“Because I knew I was doing the stamp unveiling I actually started learning more about her [Ifill] and what she did. She was the first of many in a lot of different things when it came to journalism. So I’m proud to have that opportunity to have presented that stamp,” states Harley.

For Tashonda Harley, the celebration spreads awareness about the importance of inclusiveness and visibility.

“A lot of time we’re not taught everything in school. We have to seek ways of finding out information about black history. We have accomplished so many things throughout history and some of it is known and some is unkown,” says Harley.

A few of the most recent African Americans who have been enshrined on postal stamps are actor and dancer Gregory Hines, singer Lena Horne, and civil rights leader Dorothy Height.

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