POSTPONED Everyone is Served: Celebrating New Life for the Edna Griffin Building

Everyone is Served: Celebrating New Life for the Edna Griffin Building is an entertaining family event that will be held on the second-floor open space of the building named in her honor in Des Moines. The opening celebration runs from 2 – 4:30 PM on Saturday, April 4, and it is hoped that children/students will attend with their parents.

On July 7, 1948, Mrs. Griffin and her party were refused service due to their race at the Katz lunch counter located on the first floor of the building. Mrs. Griffin led pickets, sit-ins and other actions to bring attention to discrimination and civil rights violations of the 1884 Iowa Civil Rights Act. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 1949. This was only one of many ways that Mrs. Griffin advocated for civil rights and justice throughout her life.

There will be various speakers who knew Edna, a visual display of her amazing accomplishments, video, live music by Dartanyan Brown, architectural tours and food. The Langston Hughes Players will be part of the creative experience organized by Tiffany Johnson of Pyramid Theatre. This is a free event, but you must make a reservation . Get your ticket at Eventbrite

Originally constructed in 1885, with three additional floors added in 1906, the Edna Griffin building is on the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance in Iowa and US civil rights history. Today, extensive interior rehabilitation of the building involves first floor retail, where Kum & Go will launch a new healthy convenience store, second floor office space and approximately thirty-five apartments.

The Iowa Architectural Foundation will have information about its architecture programs for students, including downtown tours, speakers, Adventures in Architecture summer day camp at Central Campus, student drawing and photo contests and our Downtown Des Moines architecture mobile app for self tours.