The MLK Council of Elders

Dr. Virgil A. Wood

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Dr. Virgil A. Wood, church leader, educator, and civil rights activist, has committed much of his life’s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s disadvantaged.  Ordained as a Baptist Minister in his late teens, Wood has served churches for over 50 years in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia.  Dr. Wood concluded his Pastoral Ministry in 2005 at Pond Street Baptist after serving for 25 years.

During his Pastorate in Lynchburg, Virginia, he became actively involved with the Civil Rights movement, setting up the Martin Luther King work there as the Lynchburg Improvement Association, a local unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  From 1963 to 1970, Wood led the Blue Hill Christian Center, of Boston’s Roxbury community, as its Pastoral Director, and head of the Massachusetts Unit of SCLC.  He served on the National Executive Board of the SCLC for the last ten years of Dr. King’s life and work, and coordinated the State of Virginia in the Historic March on Washington April 28, 1963.

Dr. Wood has many notable accomplishments.  As an administrator for Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, a job training organization serving disadvantaged and under skilled Americans of all races, he assisted in founding and establishing 13 OIC centers in eight southern states, and in Boston, Massachusetts.  Wood also served as a panelist and member of three White House Conferences under the Johnson, Nixon, and Carter Administrations.

Among Wood’s publications are INTRODUCTION TO BLACK CHURCH ECONOMIC STUDIES, (Sparks Press: Raleigh, N. C., 1974), ORIGININATOR and contributing editor, THE JUBILEE BIBLE,    (American Bible Society, New York,) 1999; and author, “IN LOVE WE TRUST: Lessons I Learned From Martin Luther King”, published by Beckham House, Silver Spring, Maryland, February, 2005.

Dr. Wood received his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University.  As an educator, he served as Dean and Director of the African American Institute, Associate Professor of Northeastern University at Boston, a Professor at Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, and a visiting Lecturer, Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University.

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