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Lake City Post Office renamed, dedicated in honor of Frazier B. Baker

February 23, 2019 GMT

LAKE CITY, S.C. – Congressman James E. Clyburn and the family of late Postmaster Frazier B. Baker were joined by supporters Friday morning to “repair a fault.”

The Lake City Post Office has been renamed in honor of Baker and the sacrifice he made 121 years ago. Lawmakers and members of the Lake City community gathered at Lake City United Methodist Church Friday for a special dedication ceremony for the Postmaster Frazier B. Baker Post Office. The church is located across the street from the post office.

Baker was the first African-American appointed to serve as postmaster at the Lake City Post Office in 1897. He was lynched for refusing to give up his post.

Baker and his infant daughter, Julia Baker, died at the family’s home on Feb. 22, 1898, after being shot during an attack by a white mob.

Clyburn sponsored legislation to designate the post office name change in an effort to “right a wrong” and acknowledge the sacrifices of Baker and others who stood up against injustice.

At Friday’s dedication ceremony, Clyburn said if people go about the business of repairing faults, they will not only maintain greatness, but make that greatness apply fair and equitably to all American citizens.

“That’s why we’re here. And I hope that once we leave here, every time we walk into this post office, every time we pass by this post office, you can think about the commitment, the sacrifice that Frazier Baker made to allow us to be here,” Clyburn said. “On this day exactly 121 years ago, he gave his life for us. Let’s not let that life go in vain.”

Darryl Martin, the United States Postal Service’s district manager for greater South Carolina, said it is great to know the post office will bear Baker’s name and forever pay tribute to his sacrifices.

“And today’s dedication is a reminder that the deed committed here more than a century ago, which was designated to keep people apart, did not succeed,” Martin said. “Instead, it did the opposite. It has ultimately brought us together.”

Martin said that 121 years ago, there were some people who did not believe a black man could be a postmaster. But today, Martin, a black man, is responsible for managing every post office in the state. That could have only happened because of the brave people like Baker, he said.

Several members of Baker’s family attended Friday’s dedication ceremony including his grandniece Dr. Fosteina Baker who gave remarks. She said she did not want to get emotional at the ceremony, but thanked those who attended.

“Thank you, Lake City. Thank you, everybody,” Fostenia Baker said. “The Bakers are overjoyed to say the least.”

She said a Frazier Baker Scholarship is being developed and a book titled “A Black Postmaster and a White Town “will be released in April.

State Rep. Roger Kirby and other state officials presented Fostenia Baker with a concurrent resolution at the ceremony. Kirby said the resolution was unanimously passed by both bodies this week to commemorate the date.