"He will always be King"

Friend remembers MLK on 50th anniv. of his death
Posted at 6:32 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 18:37:12-04

On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, a classmate and friend reflects on Martin Luther King Jr's legacy. 

"I always said to him, 'King, you’re gonna be something but only God knows what you’ll be,'" Rev. Marcus Wood said. 

Now 98 and living in a retirement community in Pikesville, Rev. Wood is a legend for his work in Baltimore. He served as senior pastor of Providence Baptist Church in West Baltimore for 65 years. He also worked with another legend, MLK. 

"I often think of what King went through and how he was persecuted for his work and so was I," Wood said. 

They were part of the first class to integrate Crozer Theological Seminary outside Philadelphia. He met King in 1948 and they were friends for 20 years. 

"We knew he was going to become something because he walked the halls at night preaching or making a speech," Wood said. 

They stayed in touch after school. Wood would travel around Maryland to watch King speak. In fact, Wood was on stage in Washington, D.C. with King when he gave the iconic "I have a Dream" speech. 

"I was amazed. I was like, 'King has still got it. He's got it'," Wood said. 

Wood shared in the excitement of the civil rights movement, and the heartbreak of King's assassination. 

"Of course I couldn't help but shed a few tears because I didn't think anyone would be mean enough to harm King," Wood said. 

He recalled the riots that broke out in Baltimore after his death. 

"They were burning down houses here in Baltimore, burning down stores," Wood said. All I could say was, 'Quiet down boys. This isn’t going to last. Evil will always give way to good.'"

Wood flew down to visit King's grave shortly after his death. He said the 50th anniversary of his assassination is a reminder for him that the movement still needs a new leader. 

"We had to wait and we are still waiting," Wood said. 

He acknowledged that whoever may come next has very big shoes to fill.

"We will always remember King. He will always be king," Wood said.