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'The Blinding of Isaac Woodard' on PBS March 30

PBS announced the newest installment of its American Experience series, The Blinding of Isaac Woodard, will premiere on PBS March 30. Based on the novel, Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waites Waring by Richard Gergel, the film tells the story of how the event became the catalyst for civil rights.

In 1946, Isaac Woodard, a Black soldier on his way home from fighting in World War II, was beaten by police at a rest stop to the point he went blind. Woodard was also subsequently thrown in jail. The chief of police was later acquitted by an all-white jury. 

Veteran Isaac Woodard, who was beaten and blinded by police, applying for maximum disability benefits. Woodard’s mother stands at right.

Veteran Isaac Woodard (bottom left), who was beaten and blinded by police, applying for maximum disability benefits. Woodard’s mother stands at right. (Image credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress)

The Blinding of Isaac Woodard illustrates how a single individual can be the spark that ignites a movement and creates a seismic shift in public opinion,” said Cameo George, American Experience executive producer. “Although his name is little-known today, Isaac Woodard’s story changed hearts and minds—and the law of the land.”

American Experience is a production of GBH Boston. The Blinding of Isaac Woodard is written by Jamila Ephron and Mark Zwonitzer. Jamila Ephron produced and directed. Cameo George is executive producer.