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Thomas Co. man works to get a stamp for Flipper

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

A Thomasville historian is fighting to get a pioneer servicemen recognized by the US postal service. He's been at it for years and says getting the community behind him is the key to removing a dark cloud from Lt. Henry O. Flipper's career.

Jack Hadley says he won't stop until he gets the answer he wants when it comes to restoring Flipper's legacy. "I won't stop until we get him on a US postal stamp then I'll know that the mission has been accomplished," he said.

Henry O. Flipper was born in Thomasville as a slave, but went on to become the first black graduate of West Point amongst other accomplishments. Flipper was a Buffalo Soldier but his service career was cut short by a misunderstanding. It involved the loss of thousands of dollars kept in his possession as a quartermaster.

"They court martialled Lt. Flipper, they cleared him of embezzlement charges but gave him a dishonorable discharge, which remained with Lt. Flipper until his death bed, seventy years later."

A man named Roy McCoy started the effort that has continued and eventually lead to the honorable discharge of the serviceman in 1976.  The efforts also led to the return of his remains to Thomasville in 1978.

"They buried him here in Thomasville over 500 people attended the service that was held at First Missionary Baptist Church, including a lot of major networks," recalled Hadley.

About 20 years later, a post office was named in his honor in Thomasville, and President Bill Clinton cleared his name; all things the pioneer never got to witness, but historian Jack Hadley hopes that with the help of the community a dream will be realized.

"As soon as I get about 200-300 signatures I'll mail it off."

Hadley has received letters letting him know that the stamp is under consideration, but he plans to wear the US Postmaster General down, hundreds and thousands of signatures at a time, and he believes his persistence will pay off.

 

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