George Byron Hamlet: Monroe’s first African-American mayor

George Byron Hamlet

A few weeks ago, I was just playing around on the internet, seeing what was out there by searching prominent names in Monroe’s history, and seeing what came up.  I decided to search using George B. Hamlet’s name.  Lo and behold, I found a site talking about the role African-Americans have played in the history of the national postal system, and I found the above photo.  It turns out, the National Archives (National Archives photo no. 28-IP-8) had the above photo and I was able to get a copy of it.  I was SO excited!  George was originally from Ohio.  After the Civil War, in 1869 he came to New Orleans.  Around the next year, he made his way to Tensas parish and he states in government records he moved to Monroe February 3, 1873.  During Reconstruction, he became Monroe’s first African-American mayor and then Ouachita Parish’s first African-American Sheriff.  At the end of Reconstruction in Ouachita parish, he left and went back north.  He became Chief Postal Inspector of the Post Office, becoming the first African-American to do so.  the people in DC did not realize his race until he had held the post for many years.  George died in Landover, MD January 24, 1926, leaving behind a wife and son.

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