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PBS to Debut Documentary About the 1946 Blinding of a Black SC WWII Veteran

Holy City Sinner

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On Tuesday, March 30th, PBS will premiere “The Blinding of Isaac Woodard,” the latest episode of their American Experience documentary series. The show tells the story of the 1946 blinding of a Black South Carolina World War II veteran, Sgt. Isaac Woodard.

In 1946, Sgt. Woodard, an army sergeant on his way home to South Carolina after serving in WWII, was pulled from a bus for arguing with the driver. The local chief of police savagely beat him, leaving him unconscious and permanently blind. The shocking incident made national headlines and, when the police chief was acquitted by an all-white jury, the blatant injustice would change the course of American history.

Based on Charleston-based Judge Richard Gergel’s book Unexampled Courage, the film details how the crime led to the racial awakening of President Harry Truman, who desegregated federal offices and the military two years later. The event also ultimately set the stage for the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which finally outlawed segregation in public schools and jumpstarted the modern civil rights movement.

The program debuts Tuesday at 9 pm. Click here to watch the trailer and get more information.

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