Posts Tagged ‘Black History Month’

If Williams Met Woodard – A Black History Mash Up

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

Picture Discription: Total of 6 sections.  The top picture is of Mr. Isaac Woodard standing next to the bus with the sheriff and one of his men confronting him with the words If Williams met Woodard a black History Mash up in white letters at the bottom of the picture.  In the second-row left side is a picture of Robert & Mable Williams with a pistol in their hands. Next to that picture is Mr. Woodard in his uniform with dark glasses.  On the third row is Robert & Mable Williams dress up. In the Middle is the Reid My Mind Logo and the last picture in that row is of Mr. Woodard with his closed and puffy eyelids. Courtesy M.Reid

Dropping a bonus episode, right on time for Black History Month.

While I love programming that features the Black experience, it doesn’t always leave me feeling uplifted. Sometimes it stirs me to imagine alternative outcomes. Endings where we can honestly say, we won that! A win, in my mind is sadly, way too simple. Can we just live our lives without the interference and violence? Is that too much to ask for.

Check out this Black History Mash Up where I take two real world individuals from history; Isaac Woodard & Robert Williams and imagine if they met on one specific day.

Plus help me congratulate our first Social Media Give Away winner…

Listen

Transcript

Show the transcript


TR:

Greetings Reid My Mind Radio Family. A very happy 2022 to you and yours. My name is Thomas Reid, I’m the host and producer of this podcast which brings you compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability.
As I mentioned in the final episode of 2021, the plan for 2022, is to return some time in the first quarter.
Well, I still have another month. The official start of the first season will be the second Tuesday of March. March 8th!

However, as I also said, I thought there was a chance that I’d add an episode or two to the feed that doesn’t necessarily fall into the seasonal theme. I’ll share more on the themes for this year later, but for now I want to focus on this month – February, Black History Month.

— Music begins, …African drums

Over the years, I recall discussions questioning whether we need Black History Month. The argument was that Black History should just be a part of the curriculum. I agree, it should be, but it’s pretty obvious today that some want to fight against that.

— Music ends.

— Montage of CRT news
A series of different voices:
“Critical Race Theory, critical race theory, critical race theory”

A woman:

“There are thousands of parents all over the US of all races, who have been speaking out against CRT and rightfully so. These are my babies, not yours. If you are embarrassed or ashamed of your skin color. That’s your issue, not mine nor my children.”

Man:

“We do not want our children to be taught that America is systemically racist.”

Reporter:

“Republican politicians have been hyping critical race theory as a threat to the impressionable minds of America’s children.”

Ted Cruz:

“Critical Race Theory says every white person is a racist, critical race theory says America’s fundamentally racist irredeemably racist,”

Reporter:

“critical race theory is an academic framework that says racial inequality is perpetuated by the racism embedded in America’s laws, not by individual bigotry.”

Teacher:

“critical race theory is not being taught in schools. It is a theory. It is a lens by which to view history and the way that law and race kind of overlaps and connects in society. Can it influence the way that some teachers teach? Yeah, but that’s a good thing, right? Because race, and racism is literally the building blocks of this country. So how can you not talk about it?”

— Music begins, African drums.
TR:

Now more than ever, Black History Month seems even more important, especially if we’re key on seeing Black in the future.

February has always been the time of year, unlike any other, where I’d have access to programming, most often on PBS, that focuses on the Black experience.

It’s the independent producers who bring stories about the lesser known activists, stories of insurrection that offer a different perspective. Stories that challenge what we get from the mainstream productions. Often, that’s the white washing of history, corporate coopting or propaganda to convince the country that we’re making racial progress.

We’re shown scenes from the Civil Rights movement where police are releasing dogs and using water hoses, so called riots and destruction of Black communities. That was back then we’re told. Black people are encouraged to keep our eyes on the prize, focus on our strength, determination, resilience, courage. There’s very little conversation about the generational trauma. Little discussion about the responsibility of white people to reconcile and own up to the crimes against humanity.

I’ve come to realize that I have to be aware of the content I consume. There’s way too many things that leave me wondering; when will there be a story where we win? A story where we can just live our lives without worrying about discrimination, racism, murder.

A true optimist will say, our existence today, our survival, the fact that our creativity and art and more leads the world is an example of a win. sometimes I just need more.

Today, I’ll bring you that. It’s a Black history mash up where I borrow from two real world figures from the past. Merging a bit of fact with fiction in order to give you an example of that kind of win I’m talking about. It’s probably way more simple than some think.
Y’all with me? Let’s go fam!
— Music ends.
— Audio: Reid My Mind Theme Music

— Sounds of nature outdoors…, tilling the land
-Music begins, – old blues singer and guitar …
“”Yes I rolled and I rolled and I cried all night long
“Yes I rolled and I rolled and I cried all night long”

TR:
Meet Uncle Zeke
He was born in South Carolina, but grew up in Goldsboro, North Carolina. His father was a sharecropper. I hate that name. It implies there was some form of cooperation happening when there really wasn’t. The way it worked, the landowner or the former enslavers, offered a part of their land to be farmed by the share cropper. The land owner would provide other things as well including housing, tools, seed, or working animals. Things like food and other supplies were exchanged on credit.

— Music fades out

\The share cropper would pay the owner a share of the crop at the end of the season, typically one-half to two-thirds. If there was any cash left over, the cropper kept it—but if his share came to less than what he owed, he remained in debt. Knowing the share cropper could do little to refute any disagreements, the practice kept share croppers bound to the land owners. Slavery without the chains.

Diabolical!

There wasn’t much in the way of educational opportunities for Uncle Zeke. School for him stopped at 11 and he began working the fields full time.

In 1942, at 23 years old, Uncle Zeke saw a chance to improve his future. He \enlisted in the Army.

— Sounds ofmultiple bomber planes . while a newscaster speaks:
Men like these are not to be stopped. No individual no evasive words or deeds. No group action or selfish interests will be allowed to impede their growing strength, effectiveness and safety. While it is they are sacrificing every advantage of civilian life, they who hold the torch of freedom causes.

TR:

Serving as a longshoreman, Uncle Zeke earned a battle star for unloading ships under enemy fire in New Guinea. He was promoted to sergeant.

After being honorably discharged from the service in 1946
Uncle Zeke headed back home to North Carolina.
While traveling via Greyhound, at a rest stop just outside Augusta, Zeke asked the bus driver if there was time for him to use a restroom.
The driver cursed at him and the two got into an argument.
“Boy, get back in your seat”

Not that it should make a difference, but Uncle Zeke was traveling in his United States Army uniform. He spent 4 years fighting to protect democracy around the world. At least, that’s the propaganda often repeated.

“Talk to me like I am talking to you,” Uncle Zeke insisted. “I am a man just like you.”

The encounter ended without any incident.

However, unknown to Uncle Zeke, at the next stop, in the small South Carolina town of Batesburg, the driver called on the local police. The driver claimed Uncle Zeke was being disorderly.

Uncle Zeke was ordered off the bus by the town’s sheriff.

— Bus door opens and sounds of a outdoors in a small unactive town.

TR:

The sheriff and his men began surrounding Zeke who glimpsed a familiar face in his peripheral. He then heard a voice that immediately gave him a sense of comfort.

“You boys are going to want to leave that man, that soldier alone.”

Uncle Zeke didn’t take his eyes off the sheriff. He watched as the cops and the sheriff turned their attention to that booming voice. It was his friend and fellow veteran, Big Rob.

— Music begins with a base drop. An onimous base heavy Hip Hop beat.

Discharged just a few months earlier, Robert Williams, a childhood friend of Zeke, wanted to assure his old friend made it home safely.

His own encounter lead him to understand that what he and many other Black soldiers thought their lives would be like upon returning home as decorated veterans , was wishful thinking.

Arriving back home in North Carolina after a long bus ride, Big Rob, stopped into a convenient store to get something to drink. As he enters the store, his greeting felt familiar.

What you want boy?

Boy, he thought I don’t think he’s talking to me. Quickly looking around the store noticing the two were alone, Rob just went about his business of gathering the few things he wanted to purchase. He walked up to the counter, nodded at the white clerk and paid. He even told the clerk to keep the change. I’m just happy to be back home he said.

As he exited the store, the clerk timidly told Rob to remember he’s back home now.

Rob was fully aware that the only reason there wasn’t an incident, is the clerk was by himself. If there’d been another white person in that store with him, things would have been different.

Soon after, Rob quickly learned of thousands of Black veterans who were beaten and or lynched. Something so many thought wouldn’t happen to them after serving in the country’s military.

When he heard his old friend Zeke was coming home, he wanted to surprise him. At least that’s what he told Zeke. Truth is he always worried about his friend. Zeke was never the type to not say what was on his mind. He knew Zeke could handle himself in a fair fight, but Black men don’t get fair fights with white men in Jim Crow’s south.

“You heard me Sheriff, let that man be and we’ll be out of your town”

“We?” The Sherriff chuckled. This boy is staying here and if you do leave here, I don’t see anyone else with you.

— Someone whistling!

It came from behind him. A car with 4 black soldiers each holding shot guns pointed in the sheriffs direction. This was followed by more whistles all in different locations. The sheriff immediately realized Rob wasn’t alone. The police were surrounded by 20 plus armed Black men, all veterans in uniform.

Ever since his experience and learning about what was happening to his returning brothers, Big Rob decided to put together his own welcoming committee. Zeke never got word that Rob was going to meet him in Georgia and they missed each other by only a few minutes. Rob decided to follow the bus and realized there was a problem when he saw the driver exit and saw the police arrive on the scene.

The team, known as the Black Armed Guard, always alert and trained for this sort of thing, went into formation.

We don’t want no problems Sherriff. We just want to take our brother there and make sure he makes it home to his family. I’m sure you know what that feels like. Wanting to make it home safely?”

The Sherriff slowly looks around. That’s when he notices the driver of the car about 20 feet to the side of Big Rob. Mable, Big Rob’s wife was expertly pointing her rifle at the Sheriff.

He knows he’s out numbered. And these soldiers won’t hesitate to use their weapons. Defeat plastered all over his face, the Sheriff looks at Uncle Zeke and motions for him to go.

Zeke calmly walks over to Rob who nods toward another long gun at his side. Zeke picks it up and the two slowly back up and get into the car. All the while, Mable keeps her gun pointed at the Sheriff. It’s only when the two are safely in the car with their guns pointed at the sheriff that Mable starts the engine after checking her hair in the rear view mirror.

— Music ends and car starts.

Now please don’t attempt to follow us, we’re headed out of your town. I travel with more than you see in front of you so don’t try anything. We just want everyone to make it home safely tonight. And I do mean everyone.

With that said, Mable, Big Rob, Uncle Zeke and the rest of the brothers caravan out of town without incident.

— 1940’s car driving out of town.

That’s a win.

While some of the details in this story are true, unfortunately it never actually went this way.

More on what really happened, after this!

— Old jazzy sounding commercial with woman singing… “Who listens to radio?”
Music begins, a bouncy upbeat Hip Hop track.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Are you socially Reidsponsible?
y– Sample from Blades of Glory:
“I don’t even know what that means.
No one knows what it means. But it’s provocative.”

TR:
A great way to stay informed and help spread the word about Reid My Mind Radio; social media! Reid My Mind Radio is on Facebook and Instagram at Reid My Mind Radio. We’re in the midst of a social media giveaway. It began in January on Facebook. All you had to do was to like the post announcing the giveaway, and you’d be automatically entered. Some of you didn’t fully follow the directions and like the page, instead of just liking the post, but that’s cool. I appreciate you liking the page. We decided to include everyone who liked the page plus those who liked the post in this giveaway. And now we’re gonna announce the winner for January’s Facebook giveaway. To help me out I’m going to ask Marlett to come in and help.

(Thomas yells out) Marlett, Marlett! can you come and help? Let’s do the giveaway.
Marlett off in the distance: “Huh!”

TR:
I told her we were going to do the giveaway.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Hello. Can you help me with the giveaway?

Marlett:
Yes.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Alright, so ladies and gentlemen, we’re here with Marlett. Marlett say hi to the people.

Marlett:
Hello.

(Audio coming from Marlatt’s phone)

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
What is that?

Marlett:

Sorry!… Giggles…

TR in Conversation with Marlett:

The person responsible for our social media is Annie. She’s a friend of the family who decided she wanted to help Reid My Mind Radio get a little bit more exposure. I appreciate that Annie.
But any can be here today. She’s little under the weather. It’s raining right now but Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow. (Cracks up at his own joke) Sorry, she probably heard that all her life. I hope it wasn’t a hard knock life. (Laughs again)

Okay, the winner of this year’s Facebook giveaway, will get…

Marlett:

You’re gonna get a Reid My Mind Radio mug.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
So here we go. You ready to shake it up? And the winner is?

Marlett:

Justin Romac.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:

Hey! Okay, cool. Justin Romac.
We will be getting in contact with you to get your address and send you your very own Reid My Mind Radio, mug, coffee mug.
But you could put whatever you want in that; coffee, tea. adult beverages water pens, you know people put pens in mugs, put it someplace where people could see it. If you have an office, put it in your office. If you, if you’re either… Do you have something?

Marlett:
No!

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Thank you for supporting Reid My Mind Radio.

Marlett:
Thank you.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:

So the next giveaway will be on what social media platform?

Marlett:
Instagram. And so all people would have to do is to follow, like, share and comment on it.

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Alright, yeah, you got some work to do.

Marlett:
All they have to do is say hello. Hi!

TR in Conversation with Marlett:
Yeah, that’s true. That could be a comment. So what we want you to do is do what she just said. And you have until February 28. And then again, we’ll reveal the winner in March and then in March The giveaway will be on Twitter. Thank you Marlett. Bye!
I’ll probably edit all of that out.
Marlett leaves giggling… fades out.

You can find Reid My Mind Radio wherever you get your podcast. That’s the perfect place to follow or subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.
Tell your friends to do the same. Let them also know that we have transcripts and more over at ReidMyMind.com.
Just make sure you tell them that’s R, to the E I D…

— Sample: (“D! And that’s me in the place to be. Slick Rick)

TR:
Like my last name.

Now back to the episode

TR:

Uncle Zeke, not my uncle, is Isaac Woodard. He and Big Rob, Robert Williams, while they both grew up in North Carolina, to my knowledge didn’t know one another.

Robert F. Williams was drafted into the Marines in 1944 and served a year and a half. When he returned home he joined the local chapter of the NAACP and soon became president.
His chapter worked to integrate the public library. After that success, in 1957 Williams also led efforts to integrate the public swimming pools.

The NAACP members organized peaceful demonstrations, but those in opposition fired guns at them.

In a town of about 12, 000 people it was estimated that 7500 belonged to the Klan.

That’s the Ku Klux Klan, not the Wu-Tang!

Williams started a local rifle club which was a chapter of the NRA he called the Black Armed Guard. It consisted of at least 60 former soldiers along with several women including his wife Mable.

Williams and the Black Armed Guard defended the home of a local Black doctor who was targeted by the Klan. Effectively chasing the Klan away and forcing a city ordinance banning the Klan from the town.

As he writes in his book, Negroes with Guns about the racists who inflict violence on Black people.
>They are most vicious and violent when they can practice violence with impunity.”
“It has always been an accepted right of Americans, as the history of our Western states proves, that where the law is unable, or unwilling, to enforce order, the citizens can, and must act in self-defense against lawless violence.”

— Music begins, a melancholy piano and ambience track.

Isaac Woodard was greeted at that stop in Batesburg (now Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t Big Rob or any other person who would see Isaac as a brother or even as another human being.

It was Sherriff Lynwood Shull. He was there to arrest Woodard,
beat him with a blackjack and gouge his eyes with it. Mr. Woodard, making his way home from serving this country laid in the Batesburg jail overnight, without medical treatment. Totally Blind, he was taken again, still in uniform, to the city court, where he was fined for drunk and disorderly conduct.

When he did eventually get to a VA hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, doctors determined there was nothing to be done to restore his vision.

It’s said his story which actor and filmmaker Orson Welles shared on his ABC radio show Orson Welles Commentaries, helped move the Justice Department to call for action.

When it comes to violence perpetrated against Black people, let the record show that the systematic response reveals that’s just not for everyone.

It only took the jury 30 minutes of deliberation to find the Sherriff not guilty on all charges. Meanwhile, he admitted that he had blinded Uncle Zeke or rather Mr. Woodard.
It’s said, upon hearing the verdict, the courtroom broke into applause.

That’s a room full of people who could never see Isaac Woodard as a man, a veteran who served his country to protect their freedom. I guess they’d never see him as their uncle. Not even a human being?

I could have met Mr. Woodard. We lived in the same town.

After the trial, he traveled with his two sisters to re-unite with his family who moved north as part of that great migration of Black southerners seeking opportunity in the north.
They moved to New York City, specifically the Bronx.

Isaac Woodard died at 73 years old in the VA Administration hospital in the Bronx on September 23, 1992.
My Dad was in and out of the VA hospital in the Bronx for years beginning in 1989 and during his time with Parkinson’s.

Isaac Woodard was buried with military honors at the Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, New York.

Buried with honor?

In this country, Black leaders, those who confront injustice and fight for freedom are hated while they’re alive and among us. After they’re death, they’re celebrated, honored and often quoted by those who hated them.

This past MLK Day, we watched as the same politicians who actively work to eliminate voter rights and support the home grown terrorist who tried to take the capital, simultaneously honor Dr. King.

— Martin Luther King Jr.
“Unknown Speaker 00:00
It didn’t costs a nation, one penny to guarantee the right to vote. And a lot of people really supported us in Alabama and Mississippi and all across the south. Because they were really against something not because they were for genuine equality for the black man. They looked at Bo Khan and saw how he was beating us and how brutal he was. And they were really outraged. They looked at Jim Clark and Selma, and they were outraged about it. And so they took a stand for decency. But it was never really a stand for genuine equality for the black man. TS Elliot has said on one occasion that there is no greater Harrison than to do the right thing for the wrong reason. A lot of people were doing the right thing, but they were doing it for the wrong reasons. And now when we demand that people do the right thing, for the right reason, they began making excuses and giving all kinds of rationalizations. Now the time has come for genuine equality to come to all beings born of God.”

TR:

Y’all should really keep his name out your mouth and be true to who you are.

Diabolical!

I’m sure half way through this episode, some who may listen to this will wonder; what in the world does this have to do with blindness or disability? Then they’ll find out Uncle Zeke too was Blind. He too was disabled.

Isaac Woodard could have been a member of the ACB or NFB. Another member of the local chapter of the XYZ organization. perhaps someone who joined a monthly support group meeting?

Would they have known who he was or what was done to him? Would they have spoken to him? Is his experience a blindness related issue that warrants their organization’s attention?

Black history month is an opportunity to reconcile with the past. A time to begin the process of figuring out how to do better. A time to celebrate the rich history of Black people that didn’t start with slavery. It started way before that. Before any other people’s history. That’s not in any way a flex or some statement of superiority. It’s a fact.

My Black history mash up isn’t as much of a re-write of history, but rather a draft of the future. It doesn’t have to end with physical violence. Everyone makes it home safely to just live their lives. That shouldn’t be much to ask for, should it?

— Music begins, a bright uplifting Hip Hop track.creschendo

Here’s another win for the Reid My Mind Radio family…

Three seasons of Reid My Mind Radio planned for 2022. I’ve lined up some awesome guests and I’m talking to some more for later in the year.
We’re starting with what I always believe is the core of this podcast; the stories of compelling people impacted by blindness and disability.

Season 1 this year is called Doing Your Thing with Disability.

Yeh, that’s heavy emphasis on the with!
When I wake up, I’m Blind.
When I’m working on this podcast, I’m Blind…
When folks enjoy and appreciate the result of that work I’m still Blind.
Everything I do, I do it Blind! Or, with my disability.
I’m not overcoming it, I’m not getting around or over it… It’s here with me all day and night.

This first season, you’ll get some dope examples of people just doing their thing… with disability!

Season 2, We’re going to re-up on the flip! We’re lining up some the episodes to expand on these conversations about AD. You know what it is;
Flipping the Script on Audio Description, because it’s about more than entertainment.

Season 3 we got YGBD
That’s Young Gifted Black & Disabled.
And yes, there’s some fire here headed your way to close out the year.

Between seasons, I want to either try some ideas out or share some opinions. That’s why I hope you follow and subscribe to the podcast, it’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss out.

I’m excited for 2022 and that’s one thing that I hope is infectious. If so, can you help me spread it! There’s a lot of people who I think can benefit from what we have. I believe it! I’ve been told this from many of y’all. It’s the power of people. It’s more about their stories than anything else.

— Music ends.

I just make blindness and disability sound funky!

Audio: Reid My Mind Outro

Peace!

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