Jamaica street co-named for civil rights activist Jefferson Diggs

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Leroy Comrie

The late Jefferson Diggs was “someone who I, and many other elected officials in southeast Queens, could rely on to help us represent the community,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie.

On Saturday, Comrie, surrounded by family and friends, hosted a street co-naming ceremony in which he unveiled “Jefferson Diggs Way” at 88th Avenue and 178th Street, the corner where Diggs and his wife, Sonia Geder, lived for over 40 years.

Diggs was most notably a strong voice in the civil rights movement, where he organized and participated in sit-ins at the local Woolworths and Kress department stores. He was one of the first black reporters for the New York Daily News and served in the office of then-Manhattan District

Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and later as an administrator at the Human Resources Administration.

“He was an intellectual who used his background as a journalist to bring an unique perspective to the issues being discussed and explain what could be complicated matters in ways someone hearing about them for the first time could understand,” Comrie said.

Diggs later became an aide to then-Councilmember Archie Spigner and Comrie, and was well-known in the southeast Queens community as “enthusiastic and highly respected.”

“He helped to improve the quality of life for many residents and I am pleased to have been able to honor him with this street co-naming,” Comrie said.

Diggs is additionally a founding member of the Elmer Blackburne Democratic Club and a member of the Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club, as well as Community Board 12, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Black American Heritage Board and the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP.



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