Rutledge, James S. (1876–1918)

By: Gladys Rutledge Edwards

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

Updated: November 8, 2017

James S. Rutledge, one of the organizers of the National Alliance of Postal Employees, son of Louis and Jane (McMillon) Rutledge, was born at Hempstead, Texas, on January 21, 1876. He received his early education at Shady Grove School in nearby Gladish. After attending Prairie View Normal School, he went to Houston in 1904 to work for the United States Postal Service as a railway mail clerk. The National Alliance of Postal Employees, an organization formed to protect the rights and privileges of African Americans in the postal service, was originally projected and fostered by the black railway postal clerks in Houston. It had its origins in a May 12, 1913, meeting in Houston attended by a number of black postal clerks in the city, including Rutledge. From this meeting grew the Progressive Postal League, which led to the Chattanooga convention that founded the National Alliance of Postal Employees. Rutledge was a deacon and trustee of New Hope Baptist Church. He married Mollie Moore (1879–1946) in 1906; the couple had three children. Rutledge died on February 12, 1918.

The Red Book of Houston (Houston: Sotex, 1915).

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Activists
  • Civic Leaders
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Gladys Rutledge Edwards, “Rutledge, James S.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995
November 8, 2017

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