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Steven J. Niven

postmaster and businesswoman, was born Minnie M. Geddings in Lexington, Mississippi, one of two daughters of William Geddings and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown). Her parents’ occupations have not been recorded, and little is known about Minnie's early life in Holmes County on the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta. In the mid-1880s she left Lexington for Nashville, Tennessee, where she enrolled at Fisk University. Upon graduating—probably around 1888—with a teacher's certificate Geddings returned to Lexington to teach in the town's public schools. On 31 October 1889 she married Wayne Wellington Cox, the principal of the Indianola public schools in nearby Sunflower County. The Coxes had one daughter, Ethel.

In 1891 Republican president Benjamin Harrison appointed Minnie Cox as the nation s first African American female postmaster In a state where the Democratic Party controlled virtually all local political patronage and at a time when the ...