Isaac Woodard

American victim of racial abuse Isaac Woodard

Isaac Woodard, Jr. , often written Isaac Woodward, was an African American World War II veteran whose 1946 beating and maiming, hours after being discharged from the United States Army, sparked national outrage and galvanized the civil rights movement in the United States. Still in uniform, Woodard was left completely and permanently blind after a run-in with police.
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Death Place
New York

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    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 1992
    Age 72
    Isaac Woodard moved North after the trial and lived in the New York City area for the rest of his life. He died at age 73 in the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx on September 23, 1992.
  • 1988
    Age 68
    Woodard was the focus of Welles's four subsequent broadcasts. "The NAACP felt that these broadcasts did more than anything else to prompt the Justice Department to act on the case," wrote the Museum of Broadcasting in a 1988 exhibit on Welles.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1955
    Age 35
    Orson Welles revisited the Woodard case in the May 7, 1955, broadcast of his BBC TV series, Orson Welles' Sketch Book.
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  • 1952
    Age 32
    Because of his low approval ratings and a bad showing in early primaries, President Truman chose not to seek re-election in 1952, though he could have done so.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1948
    Age 28
    Nevertheless, polls showed opposition to Truman's civil rights efforts. They likely cost him some support in his 1948 reelection bid against Thomas Dewey.
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    On February 2, 1948, President Truman sent the first comprehensive civil rights bill to Congress. It incorporated many of the 35 recommendations of his commission. In July 1948, over the objection of senior military officers, Truman issued Executive Order 9981, banning racial discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, and Executive Order 9980 to integrate the federal government. (Facilities had been segregated under President Woodrow Wilson).
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  • 1947
    Age 27
    He asked them to report by the end of 1947. Truman made a strong speech on civil rights on June 29, 1947 to the NAACP, the first American president to speak to their meeting, which was broadcast by radio from where they met on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
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  • 1946
    Age 26
    On September 19, 1946, seven months after the incident, NAACP Executive Secretary Walter Francis White met with President Harry S. Truman in the Oval Office to discuss the Woodard case.
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    On his ABC radio show Orson Welles Commentaries, actor and filmmaker Orson Welles crusaded for the punishment of Shull and his accomplices. On the broadcast July 28, 1946, Welles read an affidavit sent to him by the NAACP and signed by Woodard.
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    On February 12, 1946, former U.S. Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard Jr. was on a Greyhound Lines bus traveling from Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, where he had been discharged, en route to rejoin his family in North Carolina.
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    Hours after being honorably discharged from the United States Army on February 12, 1946, he was attacked while still in uniform by South Carolina police over a dispute with a bus driver over the use of the restroom.
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  • 1942
    Age 22
    On October 14, 1942, the 23-year-old Woodard enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1919
    Born
    Born on March 18, 1919.
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