Walter Edgar's Journal

From books to barbecue, and current events to Colonial history, historian and author Walter Edgar delves into the arts, culture, and history of South Carolina and the American South. Produced by South Carolina Public Radio.

http://southcarolinapublicradio.org/programs/walter-edgars-journal

subscribe
share



 

How the Blinding of Sergeant Isaac Woodard Changed the Course of America’s Civil Rights History


(Originally broadcast on 03/08/19) - On February 12, 1946, Sergeant Isaac Woodard, a returning, decorated African American veteran of World War II, was removed from a Greyhound bus in Batesburg, South Carolina, after he challenged the bus driver’s disrespectful treatment of him. Woodard, in uniform, was arrested by the local police chief, Lynwood Shull, and beaten and blinded while in custody. President Harry Truman was outraged by the incident. He established the first presidential commission on civil rights and his Justice Department filed criminal charges against Shull. In July 1948, following his Commission’s recommendation, Truman ordered an end to segregation in the U.S. armed forces. An all-white South Carolina jury acquitted Shull, but the presiding judge, J. Waties Waring, was conscience-stricken by the failure of the court system to do justice by the soldier. Waring described the trial as his “baptism of fire,” and began issuing major civil rights decisions from his


share





   51m