Fifty years after Woody Woodriffe’s family suffered great tragedy, there is now a lasting tribute in New York City. The corner of Jefferson Avenue and Claver Place in Brooklyn is now known as FBI Special Agent Edwin R. Woodriffe Way.
This high honor was bestowed upon Woody’s father, who was the first black FBI agent to be killed in the line of duty.
Edwin and his partner Anthony Palmisano were gunned down in pursuit of a robbery suspect in 1969. At the time of his death, he was just 27 years old. Woody was six and his sister, Lee, was five.
Edwin’s story began in Brooklyn as the third and youngest son of immigrants from the island of Trinidad. Then Edwin moved through St. Peter Claver School, Brooklyn Prep and Fordham University with a degree in accounting before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“He will always be the kid from Brooklyn,” said Lee Woodriffe. “That is the place he loved, the city that he loved. That was the place that he one day, wished to return.”
And that sparked Lee into action, with the idea of heralding Edwin’s return to Brooklyn with a street re-naming in his honor. After all, he spent many of his formative years connected to St. Peter Claver School and the longstanding church across the street.
But this difficult process was made even harder by resistance from supporters of an accused anti-Catholic activist, but after two and a half years of struggle the family found success. It came thanks to the support of the St. Peter Claver parishioners and church leaders.
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Source: Fox 2 Detroit