BALTIMORE (WJZ)—For many people, the opening of the MLK memorial causes them to pause and remember the life of Dr. King and where they were during the Civil Rights Movement.
Pat Warren talked to one man who was very close to Dr. King.
Dr. Marcus Garvey Wood is a long-time pastor in the city of Baltimore. He says the time that he and Martin Luther King spent together as students in seminary were defining moments in both their lives.
In a class of their own, the 11 black students in the predominantly white Crozer Theological Seminary in 1948 included a young Martin Luther King and Marcus Garvey Wood, who chuckles at his first impressions of Dr. King.
“He was playful just like other college students,” Wood recalled.
And like any student, King had big ideas.
“We knew he had keen leadership abilities, more so than the rest of us,” Wood said.
He had big plans.
“He was going to do something. He was going back south,” Wood said.
He had a dream.
“But we never thought, except from what King kept telling us, that he was going to become immortal,” Wood said.
King and Wood enrolled in University of Pennsylvania because the two shared a common enemy: segregation.
“He was trying to carry the integration concept all the way through in spite of the fact that he had to go to jail. And then finally his life was taken,” Wood said.
What is the next big change that we need to see in our society?
“We changed from segregation by color to segregation by economics,” Wood said. “And if King had lived, he would have had to tackle the economic side.”
Their bond was never broken. Ten months before Dr. King was scheduled to preach at Rev. Wood’s church, he was assassinated.
As for the memorial, “I looked at the picture, and I’m trying to decide whether or not it was the best one they could have used to represent the King that I knew who started out just a young boy,” Wood said.
That would be the picture Wood carries in his heart.
Wood does have an invitation to the opening. But he says at age 91 the crowd might be a little much for him. He’ll wait until the dust settles and then make a trip down on his own.
Of course, that dedication will take place this weekend, on Aug. 28—48 years to the day when King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial.