Edward Wood, Sr. Obituary in Anniston at Goodson Funeral Home, Inc. | Anniston, AL
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Goodson Funeral Home, Inc. | Anniston, AL

Edward Wood, Sr.

Passed 10/17/2022

Obituary For Edward Wood, Sr.

Funeral Service for Deacon Edward Wood Sr. will be held Saturday, October 22nd at 12 noon at the 17th Street Baptist Church. Pastor Jeffrey E. Mills officiating.

Visitation will be held Friday, October 21 at 2 p.m., and the family hour will be Friday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The body will lie in state one hour prior to service.

Burial will be at the Eden Hill Cemetery.

Deacon Wood is The Son of a Former Slave, Sharecropper, World War II Veteran, Civil Rights Leader, Avid Sportsman, Deacon, and Sunday School Teacher. Deacon Edward Wood, Sr. was born March 15, 1927, in Clay County, Alabama to John and Victoria Wood. His father, John Wood, was born a slave in 1861 to his master (Brisker Bill Wood, and his mother, Lucy (his slave)). John Wood was the father of 25 children (20 boys and 5 girls). Deacon Wood was part of the second group of John Wood's children born to Victoria Wood (age 13 at the time of marriage) after his first wife died. Deacon Wood grew up as part of a family of sharecroppers led by his older brother, Monroe Wood, after the death of their father when Deacon Wood was 12 years old. Deacon Wood's family experienced segregation and hatred that plagued the Jim Crow south. At the time of his father's death, the family was thrown into extreme poverty. Deacon Wood often stated, "…we didn't even own a cow. We had a single shotgun, and we killed what we ate. If we didn't kill anything that day, there would be nothing to eat.". Deacon Wood constantly made it clear that sharecropping began when slavery ended. The reason is that the behemoth demand for products from the south continued ("king cotton"). Sharecropping not only enslaved blacks, but it also enslaved poor whites as the south tried to keep its economic machine running. Deacon Wood reminisced how black and white sharecroppers shared provisions and supported each other. He stated that black and white children would play with each other and, at times, even live in each other's houses as he did. Soon after his father's death, Deacon Wood was assaulted by the landowner as he was attempting to defend his mother from him. A dispute arose between Monroe and the landowner as the landowner tried to charge the family twice for burying his father. (This lends credibility to the statement, "I owe my soul to the company store". That statement refers to the bondage of debt.) After the dispute, the family was subsequently forced to leave the farm and house they lived in by the landowner. Tragically, Deacon Wood grew up with hatred and bitterness as a result of that incident. In one of the movies about his life, he stated that he believed "God must be like a wealthy white landowner who just didn't care about us." Deacon Wood was so bitter about the incident with his mother that while in the Philippines during World War II, he plotted to go AWOL from the Navy and go back to Clay County to kill the landowner. There was a chance meeting between Deacon Wood and the landowner the day he returned to Clay County at the end of his Navy tour of duty. Having no idea where he was taking him, his brother, Monroe, took him on a ride. He took him to the "rock store" where the landowner usually sat. In that chance encounter, the landowner asked for forgiveness, and Deacon Wood granted it. Deacon Wood said the two of them wept together. Monroe contended until the day of his death that the encounter was totally orchestrated by God, because he had no idea where he was going. Although Deacon Wood forgave the landowner, he was not immune from the ravages and hatred of the south. Once, on a double date, he was arrested for driving his brother's new car. His date and the other couple were forced by the police officer to walk home. Deacon Wood was not taken to the active jail. Instead, he was locked up in the basement of an old, abandoned jail. He was possibly left there to die until someone walking near the jail heard him yelling. He was taken to the judge, paid a fine for whatever he did or did not do, and set free. Deacon Wood was outspoken and had no tolerance for the injustice and cruelty he was seeing in that region. He experienced and was involved in enough incidents that he became concerned about his safety. Therefore, he left to live in Chicago and Ohio. He returned to the south where he met Mary Lee Wood of Anniston, and with practically no dating time, on a whim they married. From that marriage, two children were born (Edward Jr. and Vanessa). Deacon Wood remained married to Mary until her death in 1995. Mary also had 3 daughters from a prior marriage whom he accepted as his own children (Veronica, Vonzetta, and Elizabeth). Deacon Wood had a fiery personality that was tempered by wisdom. During the turbulent civil rights movement, God used Deacon Wood's difficult experiences to bring about badly needed changes in Anniston, Alabama through his courage and leadership. At that time, Anniston was the birthplace of a sect of the Klu Klux Klan formed by Asa Carter that was far more violent than other Klan groups. Deacon Wood was the deacon assigned to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he entered the Anniston, Gadsden, and Talladega areas. Dr. King found much humor in the reasoning Deacon Wood used as to why he always carried a gun when he was in Dr. King's presence. On one occasion, Dr. King asked, "Deacon Wood, why is it that every time I get into this car you've got this gun between the two of us?". Deacon Wood's response: "Well Reverend, I'm nonviolent to a certain point.". Dr. King jokingly asked Deacon Wood on other occasions "are you still nonviolent to a certain point?". Deacon Wood's response: "Yes Reverend". Deacon Wood was a key participant in marches, sit-ins, and voter rights activism. With a third-grade education, he was constantly in newspapers, writing articles, and on the radio as he encouraged peaceful change. He even met with Governor George Wallace on two occasions. He nicknamed himself "the third-grade scholar". During the turbulent 1960s, bombings and shootings were real possibilities for black churches involved in the civil rights movement. Deacon Wood and other deacons provided protection for the 17th Street Baptist Church. Deacon Wood stated that he remembers hiding in the dark basement of the church, gun in hand, waiting for something to happen. When he wasn't watching for trouble inside the church, he was outside guarding one of its four corners with his pistol or high-powered rifle. He spent many evenings patrolling the building and the pastor's home. During that period, his pastor, Rev. N.Q. Reynolds nearly lost his life when he was beaten with chains and baseball bats as he attempted to check out a book from the Anniston City Library. Deacon Wood, constantly under death threats himself, experienced how real those threats were when one evening three carloads of Klansmen approached his house and threw a stick of dynamite that exploded. Their intent was to kill or seriously injure him and his family. His son recalls from the third grade to the sixth grade there was rarely a day from 3:30 in the afternoon until 9:00 at night when there was not someone calling with death threats or just calling and hanging up. Deacon Wood and his family were present when a white mob caught up with the Greyhound bus carrying Freedom Riders. He witnessed them firebombing it and beating some riders who spilled out of the bus as it burned to a shell. Deacon Wood attempted to lend assistance until he was forced away by Klansmen, but he soon returned to lend assistance. Deacon Wood recalls, "when I went to work on Monday morning some of my white co-workers were arrested and taken to jail. By that afternoon, they were back on the job as though nothing happened.". Deacon Wood spent the remainder of his years lecturing about his life, the incidents, and the value of forgiveness around the south at schools, churches, and universities and registering young people to vote. He reminded them that their right to vote came at a high price. Deacon Wood's story is a story about forgiveness and hope. He was interviewed by all major television networks, including ABC, CBS, and NBC. A movie about his life has been seen in numerous theaters around the country and can now be seen on YouTube (My Anniston, Edward Wood, by Stan Arthur). A new movie was recently released in November 2015 in France chronicling his experience and the experiences of the Freedom Riders. Deacon Wood was the recipient of many awards, including labor and union awards. He was also the recipient of the Black Achievers Legend Award given by the State of Alabama, presented to black civil rights legends. Deacon Wood is the perfect example of how God knit him together in his mother's womb, allowed difficult times to "temper him like steel," and sent him out to do good works! Deacon Wood was also preceded in death by his wife, 4 children, 2 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He leaves to cherish his memories his son, Edward Wood Jr, 14 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren. Professional Services Entrusted to Goodson Funeral Home Inc.

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Flowers are delivered by the preferred local florist of Goodson Funeral Home, Inc. | Anniston, AL.
For Customer Service please call: 1-888-610-8262

0

My Cart

Table Arrangements
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
Sweet Moments
$74.95
Beautiful Dreams
$84.95
The Sweetest Touch
$79.95
Ocean Devotion
$79.95
Precious Heart Bouquet
$84.95
America the Beautiful
$74.95
Gathered With Love Flower Arrangement
$129.95
Pastel Harmony
$89.95
Heavenly & Harmony
$84.95
Sweet Tranquility Basket
$89.95
Stylish Garden
$134.95
Golden Days Basket
$79.95
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Flowers are delivered by the preferred local florist of Goodson Funeral Home, Inc. | Anniston, AL.
For Customer Service please call: 1-888-610-8262

 

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