Journalist, Jazz Man, Biddy Wood Quietly Passes Away

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James “Biddy” Wood died quietly on Oct. 7, taking with him great moments of history and culture in the Baltimore community.

“Biddy” Wood, as most called him, was a former editor of the Afro-American Newspaper, a talent manager and the owner of a club. During his days as a reporter his beat was Baltimore’s historic Pennsylvania Avenue. Because of his experiences with “the Avenue” when it was a major center of the east coast Black community, Wood at the time of his death had been serving as a resource for a group focused on the revival of that storied street.

In a 1992 interview, Wood told the Afro that Pennsylvania Avenue’s Royal Theater had been “a citadel for the finest Black entertainers who could not showcase their exceptional talents elsewhere in Jim Crow America.”

He had many “firsts” in his life, among them his appointment as one of the first African American White House correspondents. This achievement occurred during the Eisenhower administration in 1952, according to his friend, Rosa “Rambling Rose” Pryor-Trusty.

Wood was a pioneering producer of by-line newsreels of Black culture and a true Baltimore legend, in the words of his nephew Wesley Chandler Wood, on his Facebook page. He mentioned his uncle’s signature song at local jazz shows, "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On," a remembrance offered in condolences by others.

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Musical Tribute & Services for Biddy Wood

Carlos Johnson, Tiny Tim Harris, Ethel Ennis, Rodney Kelly with Nevitta Ruddy Band are confirmed for a musical tribute/Kappa service to James “Biddy” Wood, 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13 at Freedom Temple AME Zion Church, 900 Church St., Brooklyn Park, MD 21225. Any musician who wishes to participate in the musical tribute should contact Rosa Pryor-Trusty at 410-833-9474 or rosapryor@aol.com. The tribute will continue at Maceo’s Lounge on Monroe Street with the music of Phill Butts and his band.

Family hour, Friday, Oct 14, at 11 a.m., with noon service and repast to follow. All at the Freedom Temple AME Zion Church where Biddy’s daughter the Rev. Frances M. Draper is pastor. A private burial will occur the following week at Garrison Forest.

Expressions can be sent to family c/o Rev. Dr. Frances M. Draper, Freedom Temple AME Zion Church, 900 Church St., Brooklyn Park, MD 21225.

Click here to read "Remembering Biddy Wood"