Constance Baker Motley’s remarkable contributions as a civil rights pioneer and judiciary trailblazer were lauded during the Postal Service’s Jan. 31 dedication ceremony for the stamp in her honor.
Motley, the first African American woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first to serve as a federal judge, is the 47th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series.
“Judge Motley was a brilliant legal strategist who conquered adversities, helped dismantle legal segregation and served as a role model and mentor for those who followed in her footsteps. Her tireless work and unwavering dedication impacted nearly every touchpoint of the 20th-century Civil Rights Movement,” said Anton G. Hajjar, a member of the USPS Board of Governors who spoke at the ceremony.
The event was held at a recreation center named for Motley in New York City.
Other speakers included Sue Donoghue, commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; Constance Royster, Motley’s niece; Charly Palmer, the stamp artist; Sherrilyn Ifill, a former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; William Kuntz II, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; and Gillian Lester, dean of Columbia Law School.
Gloria Browne-Marshall, a professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was master of ceremonies.
The ceremony also featured performances by singers Craig Stagg and Anahera Smith-McDaniel.
Motley began her career in 1945 working for future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She would stay 20 years, rising to associate counsel, second from the top.
While working for the organization, she sued the University of Mississippi on behalf of James Meredith, who had been refused entrance, and the state of Mississippi on behalf of the Freedom Riders, who had been jailed while testing interstate transportation laws.
She also represented Martin Luther King Jr. after he was arrested for marching in Birmingham, AL, in 1963.
Motley worked on about 60 cases that reached the Supreme Court. She won nine of the 10 cases she argued before it.
She and her colleagues often faced danger and disrespect as they challenged the entrenched racist system of the South. She also experienced sexism at a time when female lawyers were a rarity.
In 1966, Motley was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York — the largest and busiest federal trial court in the country.
Despite her nomination being held up for seven months by Sen. James Eastland, a strident segregationist from Mississippi, Motley took the oath in 1966 — the first African American woman on the federal bench.
She rose to chief judge in 1982 and senior judge in 1986.
Motley was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001 by President Bill Clinton. She died in 2005.
“It never felt like hers was a household name among the giants of the Civil Rights Movement, or easily associated with landmark cases or clients, when in fact she was,” said Royster. “Behind familiar names like James Meredith, Charlayne Hunter Gault, Judy Heumann, Melissa Ludtke and many others was a great servant of the law — Constance Baker Motley.”
Capitol Heights, MD, Postal Inspector David Starks Sr. was recently driving on a highway near Washington, DC, when he saw a car crash into the back of a school bus.
Starks safely parked his vehicle and called 911.
While checking on the bus driver and students, he heard a popping sound and saw flames engulfing the front of the crashed car and the back of the bus.
Starks quickly evacuated the students and driver as the bus filled with smoke. He then helped free the trapped driver in the car.
Emergency responders extinguished the blaze and determined that the drivers and students were uninjured.
Starks, however, was taken to a local hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He was discharged later that day.
“Inspector Starks’ quick thinking and heroic actions that morning saved over 20 middle school children, the school bus driver and the driver trapped inside the burning sedan,” said Ivan Balaguer, a Postal Inspection Service team leader.
Employees featured in “Heroes” receive letters of commendation through the Postmaster General Heroes’ Program. The nomination form is available on Blue.
The USPS Benefits and Wellness team wants employees to know the importance of heart health, including the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops pumping.
If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiac arrests are caused by certain types of arrhythmias that prevent the heart from pumping blood.
Signs of a cardiac arrest may include gasping for air or not breathing, not having a pulse, collapsing suddenly and not responding to shouting or shaking.
A heart attack occurs when a part of the heart muscle does not get enough blood.
Coronary artery disease, which is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, is the main cause of a heart attack.
Signs of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort; feeling weak, lightheaded or faint; pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back; pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders; and shortness of breath.
In women, heart attack symptoms may also include indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and dizziness.
If you or someone you know experiences signs or symptoms of cardiac arrest or heart attack, call 911 immediately.
You know about stamp collectors, but did you know postmarks have their fans, too?
A local chapter of the Post Mark Collectors Club recently toured the Hartford, CT, Processing and Distribution Center, where John Aberg, a USPS electronic technician, gave them a firsthand look at a machine that cancels postage.
Aberg showed the group the Advanced Facer Canceler System and explained how it arranges letters so they are oriented correctly before they reach the cancellation stage.
He also showed them how the ink jet printer applies an image to envelopes.
“It was a pleasure to demonstrate to these serious collectors some aspects of the sophisticated machines we use at the plant today,” Aberg said.
Kelvin Kindahl, a club member, said seeing the Advanced Facer Canceler System was a highlight of the tour.
“Since we are postmark collectors, that was probably the single most interesting thing in the building for us,” he said.
Coats devotes all
Linda Coats, a Miami letter carrier, recently marked 50 years with USPS.
Coats joined the organization in 1973, becoming the second female letter carrier at South Miami Branch. Since 1990, she has been based at Sunset Branch.
“My family and the Postal Service are my life,” she told co-workers at a celebration of her career milestone.
“People” appears regularly in Link. Got news to share? Email us.
USPS employees who use the GetThere travel booking tool no longer need a username and password to access the web-based app.
Instead, employees will have to access GetThere by using special URLs, depending on whether they are individually billed account or centrally billed account users.
The new URLs can be found on the Travel and Relocation Blue page, under the GetThere tab.
USPS Office of Inspector General employees, however, will continue to access GetThere by using their ACE ID and password.