#2447 Unexampled Courage: Sgt. Isaac Woodard & the Unknown Road to Brown v. Board of Education

Presented on October 17, 2022

2.0 CLE credit: Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias (appropriate for experienced attorneys)

In 1951, US District Judge J. Waites Waring, sitting on a 3-judge panel in a South Carolina District Court, issued a powerful dissent in Briggs v. Elliott, where then-NAACP lead counsel Thurgood Marshall directly challenged the constitutionality of the “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson. In doing so, Judge Waring ensured a direct appeal to the Supreme Court. Although Briggs was the first such case to arrive in our highest tribunal, the Supreme Court chose Brown v. Board of Ed. as the lead case. In his book, Unexampled Courage, US District Judge Richard Gergel traces the paths walked by both Judge Waring and Thurgood Marshall that led both to this direct constitutional challenge.
Judge Gergel’s presentation outlines that state of race relations in the South beginning with the end of World War II, the blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard by a White police officer, the effect it had on President Truman and ultimately, how the trial of the officer who blinded Sgt. Woodard became a turning point in the outlook of Judge Waring. Waring, the descendant of a Confederate soldier, transformed from a prominent member of Charleston society to being one of the most reviled men in the white South, and an ally of the civil rights movement in the 1950; a fact not lost on Marshall as he brought matters before the Judge. Following the presentation, members of the Federal Judiciary join Judge Gergel in a panel discussion.


Welcome & Introductions:
Michael F. Perley, Esq., ABOTA Buffalo Chapter, National Board Representative

Speaker: Hon. Richard Gergel, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina

Federal Judiciary Panel Discussion:
Hon. Elizabeth A. Wolford, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Hon. Lawrence J. Vilardo, District Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Hon. Jeremiah J. McCarthy, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

Available format: OnDemand

OnDemand$60 members (Promo Code: member2017), $100 Non-members

CLE Credit

Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias

Credit Hours