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Unexampled Courage: An Evening with Judge Richard Gergel

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Independence, MO

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


On February 12, 1946, decorated African-American World War II veteran Sgt. Isaac Woodard was in uniform when he was removed from a bus, beaten and blinded, just hours after he had been honorably discharged. When news got to President Harry S. Truman in the White House, he was outraged. “My very stomach turned over when I learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten,” he said.

The incident with Sgt. Woodard served as a turning point for President Truman, leading him to establish the first presidential commission on civil rights, with his Justice Department filing criminal charges against the police officer who beat Sgt. Woodard. An all-white jury ended up acquitting the police officer, but the presiding judge, J. Waties Waring, was conscience-stricken and began issuing major civil rights decisions from his South Carolina courtroom. Join us for a public program featuring Federal District Judge Richard Gergel, who currently presides in the same courthouse where Judge Waring once served and is author of Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring.

This program is free but RSVPs are requested.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.