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Griffin building
  • Title: Edna M. Griffin Building - Des Moines, Iowa
  • Location: Des Moines, IA
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The Edna M. Griffin Building in downtown Des Moines became part of civil rights history when Edna Griffin led a campaign in 1948 to force the Katz Drugstore, housed here, to serve African Americans. Often called the Rosa Parks of Iowa, Griffin was a civil rights pioneer who led sit-ins and protests of Katz Drug Store after being refused service on July 9, 1948 because she was black. Her lawsuit against the drugstore's owner led to the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that made it illegal to deny service based on race in the state. Originally called the Flynn Building, the structure was renamed the Edna M. Griffin Building on the 50th anniversary of her successful desegregation efforts. Built in 1885 (with 3 more floors completed in 1906), the building has undergone several renovations and alterations over the years. RDG Planning & Design is working with the current owner to rehabilitate this Civil Rights Landmark as a vibrant mixed-use location with retail, restaurant and residential space.