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Hopewell Post Office renamed in honor of civil rights leader

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Posted at 12:10 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 12:27:04-04

HOPEWELL, Va. -- The Hopewell Post Office has a new name.

A dedication service was held Thursday morning in honor of the late Reverend Dr. Curtis West Harris -- who served the Hopewell community for decades as the city's first African American mayor, president of the NAACP and as a Baptist pastor.

Now, the building will be known as the Reverend Dr. Curtis West Harris Post Office.

Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04) was part of the dedication ceremony, as he introduced House Bill 3847 to rename the post office in honor of Harris.

"He really fought for all people," McEachin explained. "It wasn’t just African Americans, it was all Americans that he fought for to try to expand civil rights, to try to make sure everyone was playing on a level playing field, to try to help clean up this world and our environment, so he was a man for all seasons and all causes."

Some of Harris’s biggest moments in the fight for civil rights included organizing peaceful protests and sit-ins all across Virginia as well as marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Five of Harris's children were present for the dedication ceremony, and his daughter Joanne Harris Lucas gave personal sentiments about her father's life, touching on his sense of humor and love for the Hopewell community.

"If there is no immortality to be among us human beings, it’s certainly only in the love that we leave behind," explained Lucas. "Daddies like ours don’t die."

McEachin said he's grateful politicians from both sides of the aisle came together to recognize the importance of dedicating this building in Harris’s honor.

McEachin also noted he hopes people who visit the building will reflect on Harris’s mission, and join him in the fight because he said the work to ensure everyone is treated equally is ever-going.