A gift from God, Freedom Progress Woods I, affectionately known as “Pooh,” was born September 28,
1967 in Birmingham, Alabama to Bishop Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. and the late Lucille Grayson Woods.
Freedom was the twelfth of thirteen children born into an awesome and loving family during the height
of the civil rights struggle. The Woods family involvement, along with his father’s leadership and direct
work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the impetus for the name his parents chose for him; it was
their belief that it reflected the plight of those committed to the fight for freedom and progress.
Growing up, the fear and admonition of the Lord was upon Freedom’s life, and he could be found every
Sunday and other weekdays at church actively engaged in ministry.
He attended Malachi Wilkerson Elementary and A. H. Parker High School, where he graduated as a
member of the Class of 1985. Freedom spent all four years of high school playing football and running
track. As a result of his athletic ability, he received a scholarship to the University of North Alabama in
Florence, Alabama. It is an anecdote shared with fondness among those who knew him that he would
take every opportunity to brag about his superpowers, amazing talent, contributions, and leadership to
the university’s football team. Adding to the humor of the story is the fact that, those lucky enough to
catch Freedom in person would get to see, firsthand, photos that backed up his athleticism as he
reminisced about his glory days on the football field. While in college, Freedom also found time to stroll
with the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity-Theta Upsilon Chapter, “Spring 87” line. This, one of his
proudest accomplishments, began Freedom’s involvement in a lifelong brotherhood. Freedom
continued his quest for excellence and received his Bachelor of Christian Education from New Life Bible
College, and a Doctor of Divinity from The People’s Bible Training Institute Bethesda Biblical Institute of
North America Haiti/Cuba. At the time of his demise, he was continuing his studies at the University of
Freedom answered the divine call to preach at the age of seven. Later in life, with years of preaching
experience to his credit, he was called to serve as Senior Pastor at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pell
City, Alabama and the Spring Hill Baptist Church in Lineville, Alabama, where a new facility was
constructed under his dynamic leadership. While in Lineville, Freedom served as President and one of
the founding members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in that city. Additionally, he
served as the Shepherd of the Pine Grove Full Gospel Church in Greensboro, Alabama, where he was
appointed an Overseer under Bishop Palmer. Moving closer to home, Freedom pastored the Greater
New Heights Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. During his lifetime, he also received numerous
awards and commendations as well as recognition for his many works.
He was an avid sports fan who was quick to let people know that the Pittsburg Steelers and Auburn
Tigers were his favorite teams. On game day, there was always commotion in his man cave, even if he
was alone cheering on his teams. Additionally, it was not uncommon to get a text or phone call or see a
social media post boasting his loyalty and game predictions.
Freedom has been described as a man of God who walked with purpose, a genuine supporter of people,
an ideal-son-in-law, and a loving and caring brother. He was the life/ entertainment of all family
functions, a committed father and son, and above all, Freedom will be remembered, as a lover of God
Our beloved Freedom transitioned to his new home in heaven on September 23, 2020. He is preceded in
death by his mother, Mrs. Lucille Grayson Woods, sisters: Linda Woods Holt and Sheila Woods Minter,
Grandparents: Carrie Mae Freeman, Rev. Abraham Lincoln Woods, Sr. and Maggie Rose Woods, and
niece, Tamecia LaShun Woods.
To continue his legacy and cherish his memory are his loving and devoted wife Syreeta Jones Woods,
sons: Freedom Progress Woods, II & Fernando Pierre Woods, Kenneth Rogers and Kenneshia Rogers;
father: Bishop Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr., in-laws Reverend Elbert Jones, Sr. & Mary W. Jones, brothers
and sisters: Jeanette W. Smith, Judy K. Woods, Dr. Calvin Wallace Woods, Jr. (Constance), Carlton Wayne
Woods, Sr., Reverend Byron Elliott Woods, Christopher Wyatt Woods (Cassandra), Joyce Elaine Woods,
Angela Woods McClure (Dr. Michael Sr.), Dr. Timothy Justice Woods, Sr. (Arlene) and Dr. Quintin
Prescott Woods, Sr. (Tramella) and Ms. LaQuetta Postell; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends,
church family, ministers, and friends.