Charles Carpenter (bishop)

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Charles Colcock Jones Carpenter
Church Episcopal Church in the United States of America
See Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
In office 1938–1968
Consecration June 24, 1938
Personal details
Born (1899-09-02)September 2, 1899
Augusta, Georgia
Died June 29, 1969(1969-06-29) (aged 69)
Parents Samuel Barstow Carpenter
Ruth Berrien (Jones), a.k.a. Mary Ruth Jones
Children Alexandra Morrison
Rev. Douglas Carpenter
Previous post none

Charles Colcock Jones Carpenter (September 2, 1899 – June 29, 1969) D.D., LL.D[1] was consecrated Bishop of the Alabama Episcopal Diocese on June 24, 1938[1] and served until 1968. He was one of the authors of the "A Call for Unity" letter published during Martin Luther King Jr.'s incarceration in a Birmingham, Alabama jail, asking him and his followers to refrain from demonstrating in the streets of Birmingham.[2]


Carpenter was born in Augusta, Georgia and often went by C. C. J. Carpenter. He was a son of the Rev. Samuel Barstow Carpenter and his wife Ruth Berrien (Jones), née Mary Ruth Jones, daughter of Charles Colcock Jones, Jr.. He married in 1928 to Alexandra Morrison, with whom he had three children.[1]

A Call for Unity[edit]

Carpenter was one of eight white Alabama clergymen who wrote the "A Call for Unity" letter on April 12, 1963, to which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. responded with his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16, 1963. On July 13, 2007, a letter from Carpenter's son, the Rev. Douglas Carpenter, was published by the Episcopal Life Online Newslink emphasizing his father's stance on the issue of desegregation: "My father, C.C.J. Carpenter, was a bishop of the Alabama Diocese from 1938, when I was just turned 5, until 1968. In 1951, a parish in Mobile wanted to start a parochial school. He gave his approval only when they agreed it could be integrated. Actions such as this put him on the hit list of the White Citizens Council and the Ku Klux Klan. He got frequent hate threats by phone."[3]


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Chicago: The A. N. Marquis Company, 1952, p. 127.
  2. ^ Bass, S.J., and Martin L. King. Blessed are the Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Jr., eight white religious leaders, and the "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001. Print.
  3. ^ Douglas Carpenter: "Not-so-peaceful city; Retired priest recalls Birmingham in the days his father was bishop", Episcopal Life Online Newslink, July 13, 2007, archived by Worldwide Faith News archives,, accessed 30 Dec 2011.
Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
June 24, 1938–1968
Succeeded by