The legacy of the late Tallahassee south-side activist D. Edwina Stephens now will be highlighted with her name affixed to the city’s main U.S. Post Office at 2800 S. Adams St.
President Joe Biden Thursday signed into law Rep. Al Lawson Jr.’s D. Edwina Stephens Post Office bill (H.R. 2324), the congressman’s office announced. Although a dedication ceremony will be held later, the new name goes into effect immediately.
The South Adams Street facility is not far from Stephens’ former home in the College Terrace neighborhood near Florida A&M University.
Many improvements to the College Terrace neighborhood and others throughout Tallahassee’s south side are the result of Stephens’ years of lobbying, organizing and demanding equality in amenities and services.
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For instance, it was her vision and leadership that helped lead to the creation of the Speed Spencer Stephens Park on the south side of Tallahassee.
Her advocacy earned her the revered title of “Mother of the South Side.” She not only had the support of other committed seniors in her neighborhood but was a respected voice at City and County Commission meetings and during her many appearances before the Leon County School Board.
Her ability to speak up, organize and not give up endeared her to a younger generation of neighborhood activists, especially women.
Stephens, a retired nurse, died from injuries suffered in a car crash in Tallahassee in 2011. She was 86.
“The Southside community adored Edwina Stephens for her work to advance the neighborhood,” Lawson said in a release. “The opportunity to name the main post office after such a social justice giant is incredible. She was committed to fighting for civil rights and advocating for projects that enhanced the community.”
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Stephens worked as a registered nurse at Florida A&M University and later, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. She was a member of many religious and civic organizations including the Leon County Juvenile Justice Council, Keep Tallahassee/Leon County Beautiful, Habitat for Humanity, Community in Schools Task Force, and the Smith-Williams Foundation Board, according to records.
One of her many honors include the Florida Finest Award presented by Gov. Lawton Chiles.
She was a faithful member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Lawson introduced the legislation in April 2021, gaining bipartisan support from every member of Florida’s Congressional delegation.
“Naming a post office in Tallahassee is a meaningful way to honor Edwina Stephens’ enduring legacy and her unyielding fight for justice,” Lawson said at the time. “Mrs. Stephens’ influence and kindred spirit will never go unnoticed.”
Contact Community/Opinion Editor Byron Dobson at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @byrondobson.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Biden signs bill: Tallahasse post office now named for D. Edwina Stephens