Abraham Woods Jr.

Minister led civil rights sit-in

The Rev. Abraham Woods Jr., 80, a founder and longtime president of the Birmingham, Ala., chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died Friday of complications of cancer at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham.

In the spring of 1963, Woods led the first sit-in at a department store in Birmingham. Woods along with his brother, the Rev. Calvin Woods, and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Civil Rights. The clergymen also invited the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Birmingham to help push for an end to segregation and unfair employment practices.

Woods helped coordinate the March on Washington in August 1963 and stood behind King as he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Woods was one of 11 children born in Birmingham to the Rev. Abraham Lincoln Woods Sr., a Baptist minister, and Maggie Woods, a homemaker and housekeeper. He received his undergraduate degree in theology from Birmingham Baptist College, an undergraduate degree in sociology from Miles College and a master’s degree in American history from the University of Alabama. He was later the first African American to teach history at the University of Alabama.

He became pastor of St. Joseph’s Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1967 and was still pastor at the time of his death. He relinquished the job as president of the local SCLC in 2006.

Li Ximing

Community Party leader in Beijing

Li Ximing, 82, Beijing’s Communist Party boss during the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests, died Saturday in Beijing of an unspecified illness, the official Xinhua News Agency said. No other details were given.

Li Ximing obituary: A headline on the obituary of Chinese government official Li Ximing in Wednesday’s California section described Li as a Community Party leader. It should have described him as a Communist Party leader. —

A longtime bureaucrat in the power and water conservancy fields, Li had been a leading member of the group of conservative veteran cadres who supported the military assault on the student-led protests in the capital’s central Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3 and 4, 1989. Hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed in the action, most of them ordinary citizens seeking to block the troops’ advance.

The defiance and resulting bloodshed marked the last serious challenge to the party’s authority.

Although Li did not play a particularly prominent role in the assault on pro-democracy protests, he was credited with advocating it, alongside Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong, in a compilation of purported internal documents on the crackdown published overseas.

According to “The Tiananmen Papers,” published in 2001, the two men endorsed a document labeling the protests as an “anti-Party and anti-socialist political struggle,” all but eliminating the possibility of dialogue.

Li was removed from his post as part of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to revive free market economic reforms in the years after the crackdown and given the largely ceremonial post of vice chairman of China’s rubber stamp legislature. He retired entirely from public life in 1998.

Tom Hunt

Hunt Petroleum heir engineered its sale

Tom Hunt, 85, the former chairman of Hunt Petroleum who helped engineer the company’s multibillion-dollar sale earlier this year, died Tuesday of leukemia at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

The nephew of famed Texas wildcatter H.L. Hunt, Tom Hunt engineered the $4.19-billion sale of Hunt Petroleum to XTO Energy just five months ago.

Despite his family’s vast fortunes -- his uncle was once considered the world’s wealthiest man -- Hunt lived simply. He never married and lived in a town house.

Hunt was born in Pana, Ill., the son of James and Emma Caroline Hunt. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was on the first bomber to land in Japan. After the war, he studied chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas until his uncle recruited him into the family oil business.

Hunt secured land in Wyoming and North Dakota for oil exploration and eventually moved to Louisiana to oversee the family’s operations there.

-- From Staff and Wire Reports

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