Resonant Ripples in a Global Pond: The Blinding of Isaac Woodard


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Below are some questions to consider about the Woodard case. Feel free to address them (and others) on the bulletin board at VoyForum.

1. How do you define moral courage?

2. Place yourself in Isaac Woodard’s shoes. How would you have reacted to a bus driver addressing you as "Boy"? Would you have tried to disarm Shull?

3. Did Woodard display moral courage or rashness in Batesburg?

4. Did McQuilla Hudson and Lincoln Miller display cowardice by not helping Woodard on the bus? Did moral courage or sympathy inspire them to speak up months later?

5. Was Harry Truman motivated to push for civil rights more from personal outrage over the mistreatment of veterans like Woodard or out of a desire for black votes?

6. Place yourself in Linwood Shull’s shoes. How would you have handled the disagreement between Woodard and the bus driver at the Batesburg bus depot?

7. Did J. Waties Waring’s decision to side with black plaintiffs in Elmore v. Rice and Briggs v. Elliot arise from personal sympathy for Woodard’s condition, outrage over the way the Justice Department handled the Woodard case, or a desire to settle scores with white South Carolininans who snubbed the judge’s new wife?

8. Do Waring’s or Truman’s precise individual motivations matter from a global perspective?

9. What factors, by your reasoning, transformed the Woodard case from a local incident into one of national and global significance?