The United States Postal Service renamed a post office in New York City to pay homage to a group of Black heroes who risked their lives to fight for America.
A bill to rename the post office in Harlem after the Tuskegee Airmen was introduced to Congress by Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat in November 2017. The House and Senate unanimously passed it and signed it into law in July 2018.
The post office in the historic Manhattan district is now known as the Colonial Park Station.
“Renaming this post office facility after the Tuskegee Airmen is a fitting tribute to the honor their memory and contributions to this country has been,” Espaillat told Abc7.
On Monday, a ceremony was held at the post office in recognition of the Black pilots who fought in World War II.
State Senator Brian Benjamin said, “We’re late on this post office, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
The historic Tuskegee Airmen were an all-black squadron who fought during World War II under the U.S. Army Air Corps. The men faced massive racial discrimination as they served their country.
100-year-old Wilfred DeFour, an aircraft technician of the Tuskegee Airmen, attended the ceremony. He said at the time he and the others didn’t know they were making history, but “were just doing our job.”
“I regret so many of my comrades are no longer here with us,” said DeFour, who worked as a postal employee for more than 30 years after serving in the military.
Espaillat told the New York Daily News, “They were really known for breaking racial barriers in the military, and were active in fighting against Jim Crow in the South.”
He added, “It is a fitting tribute to honor their memory and contribution to this country.”
“Can you imagine our country being attacked by Japanese, Italians and Germans, and through the poison of racism and segregation a group of human beings of color have to fight for the right to defend this nation?” said Rangel. “Oh, no. We needed this.”