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Speaker Series - U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel
Speaker Series - U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel

Wed, Nov 15

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DI Club

Speaker Series - U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel

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Time & Location

Nov 15, 2023, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

DI Club, 600 Island Park Dr, Charleston, SC 29492, USA

About the event

The Daniel Island Community Speaker’s Series will resume on Wednesday evening, November 15, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the ballroom at the Daniel Island Club.  Our speaker will be U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel.  Judge Gergel has presided over the trial of Dylann Roof the white supremist convicted of murder in the Mother Emanuel church shooting in 2017.  But Judge Gergel cannot talk about that case.  What he will discuss is his book about Judge J. Waties Waring entitled “Unexampled Courage”.  For a man most of us have never heard of, Waring was a giant in the civil rights movement.

On the day he was discharged from the Army at the end of World War II Sergeant Isaac Woodard boarded a Greyhound bus to his home in Winnsboro, S.C.  White and black soldiers on the bus were celebrating by sharing a bottle of whiskey.  Woodward argued with the driver about required restroom breaks.  At the next stop in Batesburg, S.C. the driver summoned the town’s two police officers.  They ordered Woodard off the bus.  Police Chief Lynwood Shull pummeled Woodard with such vicious blows that his blackjack broke.  Woodard was left sightless and eyeless.  As word of the incident spread, President Truman ordered the Justice Department to pursue a criminal civil rights case against Shull.  The case fell to Waring.  The trial took one day and the all-white jury came back in 28 minutes to pronounce Shull not guilty.  Waring was appalled by the injustice.  The following year he forced the Democratic Party to open its whites only primary to black voters.  He sent a white farmer to prison for a year for forcing an indebted sharecropper to work without pay.  He pursued a case on behalf of a black gas station attendant claiming that white children got bus transportation to school while black children did not.  He lost the case, but his vigorous dissent led the Supreme Court to reconsider the case where it was decided in 1954 as “Brown v. Board of Education” which overturned school segregation.

Waring was constantly menaced by the Ku Klux Klan, threatened with impeachment, and required 24-hour protection.  For a man most of us have never heard of, Waring was a giant in the civil rights movement.

Not only has Judge Gergel been a participant in modern Charleston history, he has uncovered a previously unknown but huge historical moment in Charleston’s past.

This event will be held on Wednesday evening, November 15, at the Daniel Island Club. There will be a cash bar and passed hors d'oeuvres between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. The program will begin promptly at 7:00 pm and will conclude around 8:00 pm.

To register click HERE

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