They called him Bible Man and he was a regular fixture on Pennsylvania Avenue in Forestville, pacing up and down, the Good Book in hand, a wave for everyone and a word for anyone who took time to listen.

According to police, Bible Man was really Eugene Crawford Anderson and he was 52 years old when he died. He apparently lived in the 9900 block of Greenbelt Road in Lanham, though many thought he was homeless.

Police said Bible Man was standing on the side of the road on Pennsylvania Avenue near Forestville Road about 6 p.m. Nov. 26 when he was struck. Officers called to the scene about 6:15 p.m. found him mortally wounded. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

“The preliminary investigation reveals the pickup driver struck Anderson as he was exiting southbound Interstate 495 to merge onto northbound Pennsylvania Avenue,” Prince George’s police said. “Anderson was apparently in the roadway and was wearing dark clothing. It was raining at the time of the collision.”

The driver stayed on the scene. Speed is not considered a factor in the collision, police said.

Mourners took to social media to pay tribute to Bible Man. “R.I.P. Bible Man not gonna be the same not seeing u on Penn Ave holding the bible through the rain, heat or snow,” one said on Instagram. “If it’s a damn blizzard out there you’ll still be out there holding the bible. Even though u were homeless in ppl eye’s u touched a lot of lives and built people’s faith just watching how u managed to survive through many yrs without a home. You…shall live like a king with our Heavenly Father.”

Jo Ann Wilson, who lives in Oxon Hill, said she met Bible Man 10 years ago. She talked to him several times.

“I think he’s been walking for 10 years,” Wilson said. “He tried to give you some of the gospel and what the preachers are doing versus what the Bible said you should be doing.”

Wilson said she was surprised to learn that police said he lived in Lanham. She saw him almost every day on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Sometimes he would sleep near the light at Marlboro Pike, near the Forestville State Police Barracks,” she said.

“All I know he was always preaching the Bible and walking,” she said. “He carried his Bible. He wore his rain coat if it rained and his snow coat in the snow. He was just a walking man who always had his Bible.”

Avis Thomas-Lester

AFRO Executive Editor