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Lena F. Edwards
*Lena Frances Edwards was born on this date in 1900. She was a Black medical doctor and administrator.
From Washington D. C. her parents were Thomas Edwards and Marie Coakley Edwards. She was valedictorian of her 1917 Dunbar H. S. class. Dr. Edwards, a 1924 graduate of Howard University Medical School, established her long medical career in Jersey City, NJ in 1925. Her practice was largely within the white-European immigrant community. An advocate of natural childbirth, she struggled for years before being admitted for a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City in 1931.
She taught obstetrics at Howard University Medical School (1954), was medical adviser to the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, and volunteered at a mission for Mexican migrant workers in Texas. This effort resulted in her subsidizing the founding of Our Lady of Guadeloupe Maternity Clinic in Hereford, TX. President Lyndon Johnson recognized her service to society in 1964 when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A devout Roman Catholic, she was given the Poverello Medal in 1967, as one whose life exemplified the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi.
Married to a classmate, Dr. Kieth Madison, they had six children. In 1984, Howard University medical alumni association honored her as a “living Legend.” Lena Edwards died on Dec. 3, 1986.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York