In an extremely powerful piece of radio history, Orson Welles lets loose with both barrels against Southern Racism after a young black man named Isaac Woodward is blinded by police brutality for daring to speak back to a white bus driver who swore at him first. I have rarely heard Welles so angry, and the power of his voice and presence so directed as in this short piece. A highly recommended piece of listening for all.
On September 28 1946, Orson Welles, in an ABC Radio broadcast, said:
What does it cost to be a Negro? In Aiken, South Carolina it cost a man his eyes. What does it cost to wear over your skeleton the pinkish tint officially described as white? In Aiken, South Carolina it cost a man his soul… Your eyes, Officer X, your eyes, remember, were not gouged away, only the lids are closed. You might raise the lids, you might just try the wild adventure of looking, you might see something. It might be a simple truth, one of those truths held to be self-evident by our founding fathers and by most of us. If we should ever find you bravely blinking at the sun, we will know then that the world is young after all, that chaos is behind us and not ahead. Then there will be shouting of trumpets to rouse the dead at Gettysburg, a thunder of cannon will declare the tidings of peace, and all the bells of liberty will laugh out loud in the streets to celebrate goodwill towards all men.
(With thanks to Paul Mannering for spotting it.)