Post Office Named for Black Postmaster Lynched 120 Years Ago

Post Office Named for Black Postmaster Lynched 120 Years Ago
Lavinia Baker with her five surviving children. Source: Library of Congress

A post office in a small South Carolina town will be named after the first Black postmaster of Lake City, who was lynched 120 years ago, the Post and Courier reports.

Frazier B. Baker was killed Feb. 22, 1898, by an angry White mob who set the town’s post office and his home on fire to force him outside. He reportedly told his wife, “Come on, we might as well die running as standing.” His wife and five of his kids survived, but he and his infant daughter, Julia, were shot and killed.

Baker was appointed to the post in 1897 by President William McKinley, which angered the predominately White Lake City community, per The Smithsonian. 

According to the Post and Courier, U.S. Rep Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) helped push to rename Lake City’s post office after Baker. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law last month.

“This post office naming ensures the story of Frazier Baker will no longer be lost to history,” Clyburn said in a statement. “As a former history teacher, I believe it is our duty to heed the words of George Santayana, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’”

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Relatives of the postmaster applauded the new law. “We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize that we are coming close to 121 years since the painful event against Frazier and the other members of the family,” said Dr. Fostenia Baker, Frazier’s grandniece. “We, as a family, are glad that the recognition of this painful event finally happened. It’s long overdue.”

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