A lasting tribute to an iconic Richmond postmaster

Photo credit: Rafael Lima

It was a beautiful tribute for the late longtime Richmond Postmaster Harold D. McCraw, Sr.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier hosted a renaming ceremony on Friday, Feb. 22, for the Richmond Main Post Office at 1025 Nevin Ave.

The downtown branch is now called the Harold D. McCraw, Sr. Post Office Building.

Family and friends of McCraw joined Rep. DeSaulnier as well as Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and U.S. Postal Service representatives in sharing stories about an important community member deserving of lasting recognition.

“In this era where celebrity status seems to be revered, people who do the work and assist in our communities are the people who make this country great,” said DeSaulnier, who credited former Congressman George Miller for starting the renaming process.

The bill to rename the building, H.R. 606, passed unanimously in both chambers of Congress.

That legislation was almost derailed in 2017 when the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to close the historic downtown branch and sell the building as a cost-cutting measure. In July 2018, however, that decision was reversed, and the branch was spared.

Mayor Butt, who worked with Rep. DeSaulnier on a campaign to save the branch, said he suspects the renaming effort influenced the decision to keep it open.

”Once you put the name of a deserving individual…you can’t dispose of it,” the mayor said. “This building now, for the first time, is safe.”

McCraw, Sr. began working at the Richmond Post Office in 1956 and was Richmond Postmaster for 24 years. He was also distinguished in the Richmond community, having served on various boards and commissions and having started the East Bay Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS). He was also a board director for the Greater Richmond Community Social Services Corporation, where he facilitated the development of a child care facility that has expanded to five locations and cares for hundreds of children, according to Congressman DeSaulnier’s Office.

McCraw’s family and friends remembered him at Friday’s ceremony as a hard working man who led by example. His sister, Annie Jones, said he “always had a job” since he was a child.

“He always carried himself with a grown man style,” she said.

Along with being a great cook, McCraw was described as a great student, athlete and someone who truly loved his job and cared deeply about equality, particularly voting rights. When asked once why he wouldn’t retire, he said, “My life is the Post Office. I love the people I work with. I love the people I’m surrounded with.”

Video by Rafael Lima