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-- The blinding of Isaac Woodard...Isaac Woodward


The blinding of Isaac Woodard...

Note for Daily Bleed, February 13, 1946:


Not a correction (except that the last name is spelled differently; don't know which is right):

February 13 [1946].--Isaac Woodward, Jr., discharged from the Army only a few hours, was on his way home when he had his eyes gouged out in Batesburg, South Carolina, by the town chief of police, Linwood Shull.

Woodward was travelling on a bus from Atlanta, Ga. to Winnsboro, S.C. About an hour out of Atlanta, Woodward had an altercation with the bus driver. At Batesburg, S.C., the driver called the police and ordered Woodward out.

Chief of police Linwood Shull struck Woodward across the head with a billy, and in jail gouged out his eyes, blinding him for life.

On November 5, however, an all-white federal jury acquitted Shull after being out for 15 minutes. Shull's attorney had stated to the jury:

"If you rule against Shull, then let this South Carolina secede again."

See We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief From a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People. New York: Civil Rights Congress, 1951.


--- Robert Braunwart


They beat me about the head & face & left a bloody trail
All down along the sidewalk to the iron door of the jail;
He knocked me down upon the ground & he poked me in the eyes;
When I woke up next morning, I found my eyes were blind.

They drug me to the courtroom, & I could not see the judge;
He fined me fifty dollars for raising all the fuss;
The doctor finally got there but it took him two whole days;
He handed me some drops & salve & told me to treat myself.

It's now you've heard my story, there's one thing I can't see,
How you could treat a human like they have treated me;
I thought I fought on the islands to get rid of their kind;
But I can see the fight lots plainer now that I am blind.

       Woody Guthrie,
THE BLINDING OF ISAAC WOODARD
(WOODY GUTHRIE/tune: "THE GREAT DUST STORM") (Aug 16, 1946)

"This one I made up so's you wouldn't be forgetting what happened to this famous Negro soldier less than three hours after he got his Honorable Discharge down in Atlanta....

http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/blind.html



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