‘It’s a good feeling to see where we came from’: Greenville’s first Black mail carrier looks back on his career

Black History Month

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s a symbol known by many, but there’s history behind that eagle.

“It’s a good feeling to see where we came from and how we got a chance to get better jobs,” said Charlie Boyd.

That feeling came as Boyd received a job as a mail carrier in Greenville. He spent time in New York during the summers as a kid when he decided he would take the postal exam himself.

“We went down to the post office in lower New York and took the exam and meanwhile, while we were in there, he said, ‘if there’s anywhere you want to work in the United States, you can do it’,” said Boyd.

That opportunity brought him home to Greenville. He began his career in 1970 at the age of 18, making him the youngest and first-ever Black mail carrier the city had seen.

“When I started a couple guys said, ‘you’re the youngest man we have out here, you think you can handle it?’ And I said, ‘I can do it.’”

Boyd spent the next three decades working hard to prove he could do the job. People around Greenville had never seen a Black mailman so he did his best to meet everyone he could.

“They wondered, who are you? I said ‘I’m the mailman’ and I said ‘I’ll be delivering your mail now.’ ‘Mom we got a Black mailman!’,” Boyd said.

He became someone special to the community, not just a mailman. Receiving awards through his career, Boyd said he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“It was a good feeling that normally you were used to seeing a white person or Caucasian deliver the mail and then, when they see a Black person, it’s something out of the ordinary, they’re not used to seeing that,” said Boyd.

Boyd said he would love to take his kids and grandkids back to the Rockefeller Center in New York to show them where it all started. For now, he said, he’s grateful to have been a part of Greenville’s history.

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