Dr. Virgil A. Wood
A Bit About Me
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 60 years, in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia. 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. From 1963 to 1970, Wood led the Blue Hill Christian Center, of Boston’s Roxbury community, as its Pastoral Director, and head of the Mass. Unit, SCLC. He served with Martin Luther King, Jr., as a member of his National Executive Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for the last ten years of Dr. King’s life and work, and Coordinated the State of Virginia in the Historic March on Washington August 28, 1963.
A 1952 Honor Graduate of Virginia Union University, and a 1956 graduate of Andover Newton Theological School with a Master of Divinity degree, he received his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, in 1973, where two of his major Professors were Organization Development Expert Dr. Chris Argyris and Achievement Motivation Expert Dr. David McClellan. As an educator, he served as Dean and Director of the African American Institute, Associate Professor of Northeastern University at Boston, and had been a Professor at Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg while currently a visiting Lecturer, as well as Teaching and Research Fellow at Harvard University.
Dr. Wood has many notable accomplishments. As an administrator for Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, founded by Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, 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), ORIGINATOR and contributing editor, AFRICAN AMERICAN JUBILEE BIBLE, (American Bible Society, New York,) 1999, and 2012; and author, “IN LOVE WE STILL TRUST: Lessons We Learned From Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sr., 2020, Revised. He has combined his dual career in Church Leadership and Education with a life-long commitment to community development as economic and spiritual transformation. A former member of the Economic Development Task Force of the National Conference of Black Mayors, he also has served his national denomination as the first Chairman of its Economic Development Commission, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, and as a consultant to the National Business League during the presidency of Dr. Berkley Burrell. He is currently working to shape functional and substantial Faith-Inspired Initiatives, and Beloved Community inducing Beloved Economies.
Wood is Pastor Emeritus of the Pond Street Baptist, which he served from 1983 to 2005, and previously from 1955 to 1958. He concluded his Pastoral Ministry there on December 31, 2005, having served there for 25 years, previously served by the late Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor. He is joyfully married to the former Lillian Walker for 67 years, and they are the parents of Deborah and David, and grandparents of Christopher and Jordan, whose mother is Lorene, David’s able and lovely wife, and now a Great Grand Father.