Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Dr. Lena Edwards had a remarkable career before she decided to retire to Lakewood more than 30 years ago.
A 1924 graduate of Howard Medical School, Dr. Edwards practiced medicine in Jersey City and help found the Our Lady of Guadeloupe Maternity Clinic in Hereford, Texas, which catered to migrant families.
In 1964, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Even when retirement brought her to Lakewood, she continued to serve the community.
Now the Ocean County Board of Commissioners is honoring Dr. Edwards as part of the county's tribute to Black History Month.
"Dr. Edwards was a remarkable woman who continues to serve as a role model for young people today, nearly 35 years after her death," said Gary Quinn, Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners. "Throughout her career she served the poor, lobbying for better health care for anyone who needed it, regardless of what they could afford."
The Board of Commissioners unanimously passed the proclamation honoring Dr. Edwards for her groundbreaking efforts to help those in need.
"Dr. Edwards practiced at the legendary Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in Jersey City from the 1920s to the 1960s delivering more than 5,000 babies," said Commissioner Joseph H. Vicari, himself a Jersey City native.
Edwards was one of the first African American women to be board certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist as well as to gain admission to the International College of Surgeons.
Vicari recalled the former Ocean County Board of Freeholders honoring Dr. Edwards when she chose to retire to Lakewood in the 1980s.
"It was a privilege to have this remarkable woman call Ocean County home," he said.
While in Lakewood, she continued her work to improve the lives of the frail and the vulnerable until her death in 1986.
Vicari said the Ocean County Library System is also marking Black History Month with a special selection of history books, including a Dr. Edwards' biography, Medicine, Motherhood, and Mercy: The story of a Black Woman doctor.
"I encourage everyone to read a book and learn more about America's past and the remarkable men and women who helped shape our future," Vicari said.