Edna M. Griffin (1909–2000) was an American civil rights pioneer and human rights activist. Known as the "Rosa Parks of Iowa" Her court battle against the Katz Drug Store in Des Moines in 1948, State of Iowa v. Katz, foreshadowed the civil rights movement and a landmark case before the Iowa Supreme Court.
Early life 
Griffin was born in 1909 in Kentucky, and raised in rural New Hampshire. She has said that she learned to read by reading The Crisis, the publication of the NAACP. According to Griffin, she never experienced discrimination in New Hampshire, although her family was the only African-American family in a four-county area. Her family later moved to Massachusetts, where she was first exposed to negative attitudes regarding race. She was educated at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she received a degree in English. She married Stanley Griffin, a doctor, and settled in Des Moines, Iowa in 1947. She had three children, Phyllis, Linda, and Stanley.
Civil rights 
Seven years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person and touched off the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Griffin made it her mission to end discrimination in Des Moines. On July 7, 1948, Edna Griffin, her daughter Phyllis, and two friends were refused service at Katz Drug Store in downtown Des Moines because of racial discrimination.
Griffin launched a campaign to force Katz to serve African Americans by picketing every Saturday in front of the establishment, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. The Polk County Attorney's Office eventually prosecuted the Katz manager under Iowa's only civil rights law, a criminal statute prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. The manager was found guilty by a jury and fined $50. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 1949; one week before the Supreme Court ruling, civil rights attorneys Charles P. Howard and Henry T. McKnight, from the local NAACP Legal Redress Committee, negotiated an agreement which successfully ended Katz's discriminatory practices. The case was the first successful enforcement of the 1884 Iowa Civil Rights Act. Lunch counters and restaurants in Des Moines finally began serving African Americans almost twelve years before the sit-ins at the lunch counters in Nashville.
Later work 
Griffin continued to be an active participant in the civil rights movement throughout the 1950s and 1960s. She founded the Iowa chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and organized Iowans for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. At 75, she went to Nebraska and sat in the middle of the highway to stop nuclear warheads from being shipped into the Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base.
Griffin has been honored with the YWCA's Mary Louise Smith Award, the Community Service Award from Blacks in Government (1993); Urban Dreams' Trailblazer Award (1998), and the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice (1998) . In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of her successful desegregation efforts, the Flynn Building at 319-7th Street  (SE corner of 7th and Locust), which once housed Katz Drug Store, was renamed the Edna Griffin Building. The same year, Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels declared May 15 as Edna Griffin Day. In 2004, a Pedestrian bridge in downtown Des Moines was named after her.
- Iowa Civil Rights Commission (09/30/98). "DRAKE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL TO CELEBRATE LANDMARK CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY". Text " archive: http://www.iowa.gov/government/crc/docs/pressrelease10198.html" ignored (help)
- "Famous Iowans: Griffin, Edna". Des Moines Register. Unknown parameter
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- "Celebrating Iowa’s Civil Rights History". iowa.gov. Text " archive: www.iowa.gov/government/crc/docs/Edna%20Griffin.doc " ignored (help)
- Edna Griffin Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Library
- Iowa Civil Rights Commission
- Roxanne Conlin
- Iowa Women's Hall of Fame
- Iowa Department of Transportation
- Video interview: Iowa Supreme Court: A History of Civil Rights in Iowa