SC town honors black WWII vet 7 decades after brutal beating

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Nearly 73 years after a racially fueled beating at the hands of a white police chief left a black WWII veteran blind, a South Carolina town is honoring his memory.

Distinguished guests and members of Sgt. Isaac Woodard’s family gathered Saturday for a private ceremony before moving to the narrow streets of small-town Batesburg-Leesville for the unveiling of the historic marker. Federal judges, national, state and local officials honored Woodard with proclamations and dedicated the marker at the site of the old police station where the beating occurred.

Hours after being honorably discharged from the Army in February 1946, Woodard was removed from a Greyhound bus in Batesburg while heading home. He was still in his uniform. The 26-year-old’s case was said to spur President Harry Truman’s drive to integrate the U.S. military.

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