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Remembering ‘Aunt Connie’

A mail handler recalls her connection to Constance Baker Motley and a carrier retires after 66 years

A relative of Constance Baker Motley stands next to the latest stamp release
Jeanette Perry, a Melville, NY, mail handler, stands near a Constance Baker Motley stamp poster at a recent local dedication ceremony.

Constance Baker Motley, the subject of this year’s Black Heritage stamp, is remembered as a trailblazing icon of the Civil Rights Movement, but to Jeanette Perry, she was “Aunt Connie.”

Perry, a Melville, NY, mail handler, is Motley’s great niece. They met when Motley spoke at another relative’s graduation ceremony.

Days later, Motley and Perry went to lunch.

“That lunch lasted five hours. I was just absorbing everything she had to tell me,” Perry said.

During her storied legal career, Motley represented Martin Luther King Jr. and worked with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

It’s a legacy Motley’s family remains very proud of, according to Perry, who has also worked as a paralegal.

Several women in the family are named Constance in Motley’s honor, she added.

“She was a loving person. I am glad she is finally getting recognized,” Perry said.

Clocking out

“It’s been a good run.”

That whopper of an understatement was made by Alfonzo T. Wilson Jr., who recently retired after a 66-year postal career.

The Cleveland letter carrier admitted to needing some guidance on how not to work. “I have some friends who are already retired, and they are trying to teach me how to retire,” he said.

Wilson started with the organization in 1957, when it was known as the Post Office Department, and has served as both an on-the-job instructor and union representative.

He was chosen as one of 25 employees to be interviewed for a USPS oral history project in 2021.

“Not only do I enjoy the people I work with and work for,” he told a local TV news crew, “but the [customers] on my route were magnificent and I love them.”

The feeling is no doubt mutual.

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