Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome to Let's End All Racism Now (LEARN)

Orson Welles broadcast a story on July 28, 1946 about Isaac Woodard, Jr., a decorated World War II veteran who was beaten and blinded by police in Batesburg (near Aiken), South Carolina on February 13, 1946.  To this day, hearing Welles' broadcast (and his follow-up broadcasts) will make your blood boil, to think an American soldier put his life on the line for our country, only to be confronted by the unspoken enemy at home, racism.

How could it be, 65 years later, that the story of Isaac Woodard, Jr. isn't taught in schools, isn't mentioned in our history books... how could it be that neither we nor our children know of this American hero, who sacrificed his sight in the cause of civil rights?

It got me thinking:  I've got to learn more and I've got to do something.  So I searched for more information on Mr. Woodard.

I found a terrific blog summary of Mr. Woodard's story, 13 February: The Beating of Isaac Woodard (1946), Disability Studies, Temple University and some relevant research material (courtesy of Andrew H. Myers), Resonant Ripples in a Global Pond: the Blinding of Isaac Woodard

Listen to Orson Welle's broacast (or download it free, as it's in the public domain) courtesy of  Orson Welles' Commentaries

Welles' relentless pursuit of justice for Mr. Woodard came at a time when it wasn't popular to address discrimination and racism; it was just the right thing to do.  

Sixty-five years later, Mr. Woodard's story is just as relevant today as it was in 1946.  It got me thinking:  let's end all racism now.  LEARN.  Learn to co-exist.  Let's honor Mr. Woodard and other people who bravely sacrificed in the spirit of eliminating racism.  Please follow this blog as we'll highlight the story of people who've made a difference to end racism, bigotry, sexism, and discrimination in all its forms.

Mark S. Schwartz  2011 copyright all rights reserved


  1. We Raised the Stars and Stripes Over Japan is the story of 125 American civilian prisoners of war who survived the war in the middle of Japan, on Mount Futatabi, outside Kobe, thanks to the humanity, compassion, and fairness of Mr. Taketoshi Higasa, former head guard of the Mount Futatabi Kencho Local Police prison casmp.

    It was at this camp that the American Flag was raised over the former prison camp at the end of the war, before the American Army landed repatriation team #158 which found the prisoners in the hills 5 miles above Kobe.

    It was at a former children's reformatory school in the Futata mountains behind Kobe, about 5 miles walk up the goat path the prisoners used to haul food up to the prison camp. All of Japan was starving, especially after the B-29's burned down the cities and the prisoners starved the worst. It was no Boy Scout Picnic by any imagination, but the American civilians gathered in committees, something we do very wwell at, and organized their survival.

    Throughout the war, the prisoners hid an American Flag which was picked up at a barracks where the prisoners lived, the home of a former resident manager of the Butterfield & Swire's Steamship Company, Ltd. The Marks house and the Seaman's Institute, along with Butterfield & Swires, served as the internment camps for the American civilians, divided up by age: under 35 at the Seaman's Institute, then the Marks House, over 35 at Butterfield and Swire's, the Japanese American and Allied prisoners of war who lived in Kobe at the beginning of the war.

  2. let's end all racism now -- for ever -- and for all time.

    Let's end all forms of discrimination, whatever color, creed, or religion. But let's defend America and her ideals forever. We are Americans, first and foremost and we share our blame and our shame. Never forever should any person lose their eyes to hatred in this land, an enemy that stains our National pride.

    That an American GI should have lost his eyesight in a brutal beating on Feb 13, 1946 -- a shame that should NEVER be forgotten, for Isaac Woodard, Jr. sacrificed something that should never be tolerated again, racial hatred and discrimination. Let ever school teach about Isaac Woodard, Jr., so 65 years from now, no one asks, "Who was this American?"

    We have a lot to be proud of in the country, some things to be ashamed about, the treatment of African slaves and their families, the notion of "owning" another human being -- the treatment of Native Americans -- it's not enough to have Sacajawea's picture on $1 brass coins -- it's a memory about Japanese Americans in Manzanar and Tule Lake, it's about the 125 American civilians who were interned on Mount Futatbi, 5 miles above Kobe, Japan, overlooking the Inland Sea.

    It's where hatred and racism stopped thanks to Mr. Taketoshi Higasa, who instilled fairness to the prison camp. Fifty years later, he was recognized by the former prisoners and their families and decendents as a mensch, a good human being.

    A You-Tube link will be provided here to the interview with Mr. Higasa.

  3. A number of authors and researchers tried to tell the story of the American civilians from Guam but didn't have the complete story, including diaries written by Max Brodofsky and six others, and the American Flag that Max brought home with him, the American Flag which flew over the prison camp in Japan on Futatabi Mountain.

    Bill Falvey brought back a suitcase filled with documents from the Red Cross, Swiss Consulate, Japanese officials, and most importantly, the prisoner's leadership committee which ran things at the camp in the middle of Japan, the enemy's homeland.

    Enemy no more.

    Let's end all racism now (LEARN).

  4. So if you're reading this still and want to be part of an organization whose sole purpose is to promote the idea of let's end all racism now (LEARN) -- Learn to co-exist with each other without racism or discrimination in any form. Just pledge allegiance to America, to defend her no matter what it takes.

    It never should have taken Isaac Woodard, Jr.'s sight, his eyes, not for Mr. Woodard of anyone who lost their sight or life in the march towards civil rights.

    That's why we must be supportive of our President Obama, to his health and success, so our country will be successful, too. The working man created America and will defend America. The good corporations will, too. Hopefully it'll never come to that, but we've had our challenges, made our mistakes, paid bitter penalty, the flower of our young in defense of our country in far away lands. Let it end, bring the troops home, and stop the wars. Enough.

    Let's end all racism now (LEARN) and bring the troops home. Let's heal what we're leaving behind the best we can but leave in dignity and honor, as soon as its pracicable and the our leadership sees its way to doing so.

    Whatever the trials are to come, whatever the challenges, America can face them. It's our differences that's our strength, that we believe in a common dream, America the beautiful.