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Substitute postal workers rally for higher wages: 1934 | by Washington Area Spark
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Substitute postal workers rally for higher wages: 1934

Six hundred Post Office substitutes gathered in Washington, D.C. and marched on the White House January 24, 1934 to lobby for a minimum wage applicable to them.


Workers from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Cleveland and New York, including approximately 100 African American workers joined the march that also rallied at the Main Post Office at North Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue NE.


Leaders of the delegation, including two African American delegates from New York, met with an aide to President Franklin Roosevelt.


The bill passed Congress, but the Post Office department—then a direct government agency--laid-off all substitute employees and reduced hours for all full time employees, citing a financial crisis.


Roosevelt then vetoed the bill saying that a return to work by the substitutes would help them more than the minimum wage bill.


The street sign in the image reads Morse Street, but the cross street is illegible. The location could be near 6th & Morse Street NE or possibly near 5th & Florida Ave. NE. Another possibility is near Morse and Bladensburg Road NE.


UPDATED: This is pretty conclusively where Morse Street runs into Bladensburg Road--the identifiers are the Trinidad car barn (to left of image) and the Blue Bell hamburger restaurant that looks similar to a White Castle. Note Goodacre's White Coffee Pot on H Street--another early local fast food spot. Thanks to Old Time DC Facebook community for help with the identifiers.


African American workers can be seen below the “Repeal the 15% cut for all Post Office employees” and below the corner of the “$6. a week is not enough” sign.


For more information and related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is an auction find.

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Taken on January 24, 1934