We all have heard the story about the woman who threw hot grits on Al Green and many folks have even joked about it from time to time, calling him ‘Al “Grits” Green’ and such, but what many people either don’t know, or have long since forgotten about, is that the woman, Mary Woodson (Al Green’s then-girlfriend), immediately killed herself in Al Green’s bedroom after dousing him with grits, causing second and third degree burns on his back, chest and arms on that tragic night on October 18, 1974.
In fact Mary Woodson’s son, 53 year old Barry Rogers, told Vibe magazine (Vibe Mag) that he often hears jokes about his mother. “Sometimes they don’t connect it,” Rogers says. “I’ll be sitting in the barber’s chair, and they’ll talk about it, not knowing that I’m right there.” A co-worker of his once unknowingly mentioned something to him about his mother: “the bitch who threw grits on Al Green.” Barry didn’t feel the need to let his co-worker know that woman was his mother. There seems to be somewhat of a detachment of Barry from that memory of his mother because he and his family were just as confused about why their mother did what she did, as the public was. At the time of Woodson’s death, the eldest of her four children, Barry, was only 11 years old. Woodson was 29.
As you may recall, Al Green didn’t find out Mary Woodson was a married woman with four children until after she committed suicide. According to Mary’s family and friends, Al even unknowingly sent roses to Mary and her husband’s home on numerous occasions. Her husband allegedly turned a blind eye, not wanting to assume, or either confirm the worst- that his dear wife was having an affair.
Mary Woodson is often the forgotten element of the “hot grits” story, but to her family and friends, what she did and the woman she was prior to scorching Al, rings loudly in their minds.
You see, there were many warning signs that Mary was unfortunately a warm, yet troubled soul prior to the Al Green incident.
Woodson was a beautiful woman, 5’4″, shapely, and always dressed in the hottest threads. Her family and friends say she had ‘the ability to walk into a room and wrap any man she wanted around her finger,’ but she had a bit of a rocky history with some of the men in her life.
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