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Returning from the Army to incomprehensible violence

“When Sergeant Isaac Woodard stepped onto the Greyhound bus in Augusta, Georgia on the evening of February 12, 1946, he did not set out to be a hero or martyr for the cause of civil rights. When a white bus driver cursed him in response to his request to step off the bus to relieve himself, Woodard demanded to be treated with respect, boldly declaring, “I am a man, just like you.” Although he was still wearing his nation’s uniform, Woodard had crossed the line for acceptable conduct by a black man. The response to this transgression was unforgiving: removal from the bus, arrest, and a severe beating on the way to the jail [which] left Mr. Woodard blinded.”

A granite tribute to American grit

Recently, I was puzzled to receive a weighty FedEx package from Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street mammoth with which I have never had any dealings. Inside was a splendidly illustrated volume dedicated to what Baedeker’s 1899 guide to Washington, D.C., describes as ” the building that accommodates the State, War, and Navy Departments, a huge parallelogram, enclosing two courts and measuring 567 ft. in length by 342 ft. in breadth.” Today it is known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

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