The Great Absquatulator
Alfred Thomas Wood was nothing and everything. One hundred years before the Hollywood film The Great Impostor, Wood, the Great Absquatulator, roved through the momentous mid-19th century events from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to New England, Liberia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Canada, the U.S. Mid-West, and the South. An Oxford-educated preacher in Maine and Boston, he claimed to be a Cambridge-educated doctor of divinity in Liberia, whereas neither University admitted black students then. He spent 18 months in an English prison. In Hamburg in 1854, he published a history of Liberia in German. Later, in Montreal, he claimed to have been Superintendent of Public Works in Sierra Leone. He served the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois as an Oxford-educated DD, then toiled in post-Civil War Tennessee as a Cambridge-trained MD. People who knew him couldn't wait to forget him. In his Foreword, Rapper Webster (Aly Ndiaye) compares Wood to a mid-19th-century Forrest Gump but also to Malcolm X, before Malcolm became political.