Street Renamed for Brooklyn Catholic Hero

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Inspiration, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

A street sign forever memorializing FBI special agent Edwin R. Woodriffe, a hero from the Brooklyn Diocese.

In 1969, Woodriffe was shot and killed while on the job. He was the first African American FBI agent murdered in the line of duty. He was only 27 when he died.

His daughter, Lee Ann Woodriffe, wanted her father to be honored in his Brooklyn neighborhood.

She chose Jefferson Avenue because it’s where St. Peter Claver Church is located, a place that held a special spot in her father’s heart.

Lee Ann explained, “And so this church here is where he was an altar boy, he went to school right here, he was married here, his first-born was baptized here, his funeral was here, he was eulogized here, so I said this is the fitting corner, this is the street out of any other place in New York.”

Getting a street named after someone is not easy. In addition to government red-tap, the Woodriffe’s also faced criticism from supporters of Brooklyn radical activist Jitu Weusi, he’s been accused of being anti-Catholic.

After two and a half years of hard work and patience Lee Ann Woodriffe’s dreams finally became a reality.

Father Alonzo Cox, the pastor of St. Peter Claver, Brooklyn’s first African American Catholic church, and Auxiliary Bishop James Massa attended the unveiling ceremony, both expressed great respect for Woodriffe.

Bishop Massa said, “This is a day to really hold up a great New Yorker and a member of our Catholic community.”

Father Cox said, “The Woodriffe family considers this place their home, so it’s really such a beautiful day.”

The sign will now stand as a reminder Woodriffe, his success, his faith, and his sacrifice.