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Publisher Description

A 2019 NPR Staff Pick

How the blinding of Sergeant Isaac Woodard changed the course of America’s civil rights history

On February 12, 1946, Sergeant Isaac Woodard, a returning, decorated African American veteran, 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 Charleston courtroom, including his 1951 dissent in Briggs v. Elliott declaring public school segregation per se unconstitutional. Three years later, the Supreme Court adopted Waring’s language and reasoning in Brown v. Board of Education. Richard Gergel’s Unexampled Courage details the impact of the blinding of Sergeant Woodard on the racial awakening of President Truman and Judge Waring, and traces their influential roles in changing the course of America’s civil rights history.

GENRE
History
RELEASED
2019
January 22
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
336
Pages
PUBLISHER
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
SELLER
Macmillan
SIZE
28.3
MB

Customer Reviews

Maltafaz ,

Moving book of History

This is a well written story that was hard to put down. True story written as a riveting novel and educated me on a part of post WW2 history I did not know. Inspired me as a lawyer and made me proud of what people can accomplish is they are not concerned about the consequences, but rather, strive to do what is right, moral, and according to the law. Highly recommend