LaGrange to honor men with local park naming

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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The City of LaGrange will hold an official ribbon cutting for Moss and Wood Park on Thursday, July 27. The city will honor two men with ties to LaGrange during the park naming ceremony at 10:30 a.m.

Moss and Wood Park is named after two men with LaGrange ties, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and Dr. Benjamin T. Wood.

LaGrange native Moss. was born and raised in LaGrange and became a world-renowned Civil Rights leader.

Moss rose to national and international prominence as a minister, lecturer, civic leader, and civic rights advocate. Son of a Troup County sharecropper who tried unsuccessfully to vote in 1946, Moss excelled at Morehouse College, became friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and organized lunch counter sit-ins in the 1950s. He pastored Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Troup County, then co-pastored Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church with Dr. M.L. King Sr., before moving to Cleveland, Ohio’s largest and most influential black Baptist church, Olivet Institutional. He retired in 2008 but continued leadership in church civil rights and social justice issues.

For more than 40 years, Wood was the most prominent Black physician in LaGrange. A graduate of Fisk University, Dr. Wood received his medical training at Nashville’s Meharry Medical College, the South’s first medical school for people of color. Following additional training at Tuskegee Institute and Florida A&M University, he served patients in LaGrange and surrounding areas from 1927 until his death in 1970. Dr. Wood and his wife, Mrs. Mina Wood, were local community leaders and active in the National Medical Association, a professional organization established for Black physicians.

The City of LaGrange established Moss and Wood Park in 2022 as an amenity-rich community space named to honor the two leaders who significantly impacted LaGrange’s history. The park features playground and fitness equipment, pavilions, a covered stage for community events, adult swings, BBQ grills, and game tables, making it an ideal gathering place for people of all ages.