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Enoch Woodhouse: an exemplary Roxbury man

Distinguished WWII veteran honored with mural at Logan Airport

Melvin B. Miller
Enoch Woodhouse: an exemplary Roxbury man
World War II Tuskegee Airman Enoch ‘Woody’ Woodhouse II (class of ’44), enjoys a moment with former Attorney General Frances Bellotti (class of ’42) during The English High School of Boston’s 200th anniversary gala at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel Oct. 1. COURTESY PHOTO

The mural of Enoch Woodhouse II at Logan Airport informs visitors of the unique character of Roxbury’s aging generation of Black men who are now in their 80s and 90s or have already made the final trip home. Woodhouse, 95, is a stalwart patriot with an unshakeable awareness of the right to his place in the world.

While he understood that there were some citizens with an unlawful and limited view of the status of Blacks in Boston, he has always made it clear that the bigot was the one with the problem. As he stated in a recent interview, he did not expect everyone to love him. That was the nature of life. He was determined to move forward with a spirit of self-confidence and respect for others.

After graduating from English High School in 1944, Woody, as he was called, joined the army. America was still at war. Woodhouse enrolled in the officer training and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant at age 19. He was then assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

After the war, Woodhouse went to Yale in anticipation of preparing for law school. He then studied law at Boston University Law School and graduated in the Class of 1955. His classmate was Louise Day Hicks, who became a major figure in Boston as a leader of those who opposed public school integration.

Boston schools were racially integrated in past years. English High School, the nation’s first public school, recently celebrated its 200th birthday. Frank Bellotti, then a Roxbury resident, was a member of the class of 1942, just two years ahead of Woody. Bellotti later became lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 1963–1965.

Throughout his life, Woody has maintained a military connection. When his active military service was over, he joined the reserves, where he was recently appointed to Brigadier General by Gov. Charlie Baker. In 2007, Woody, along with other Tuskegee Airmen, received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush.

Also, Woody has been a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts that was chartered in 1638. Before the establishment of the National Guard, it served as the oldest standing military establishment in the world.

Enoch Woodhouse is indeed a unique individual. He has placed his stamp on Boston’s history. He has informed everyone that able and independent Black men are among the citizenry everywhere they want to be.

English High School, Enoch Woodhouse, roxbury