Charles "Charlie" Ware

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Charles "Charlie" Ware was an African-American field hand in Baker County, Georgia whose case was a major turning point in the treatment of African-Americans in that county.

On July 4, 1961 Ware was at a barbecue at Ichuaway Plantation, owned by Coco-Cola Board Chairman Robert W. Woodruff. During the festivities, Ware allegedly flirted with the African-American mistress of the Euro-American overseer of the plantation, Guy Touchstone. The overseer complained about this to L. Warren Johnson, the sheriff of Baker County, Georgia.[1]

Sheriff Johnson that night went to the Ware home, where he beat Mrs. Louise Ware, until Ware returned from the barbecue. When Ware returned home, Warren arrested him and then made a claim over the radio of an attempted knife attack, before shooting Ware four times.[2]

Ware survived this shooting, and was later indicted by a Baker County grand jury on charges of felonious assault. His lawyer, C. B. King, then filed a civil suit in federal court, alleging that Johnson's story was preposterous, and that he had shot Ware with no provocation.[3]

When the case was brought to trial in July 1963, additional charges of drunkenness on the part of Ware at both the barbecue and on a public highway were included. Ware was found guilty by the jury, but they recommended a lenient sentence.[4] By the time of this trial, Donald L. Hallowell had also become one of Ware's lawyers. He used the trial to challenge the exclusion of African-Americans from serving on Baker County juries.


  1. ^ Branch, Parting the Waters (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 528
  2. ^ Branch, Parting the Waters, p. 528
  3. ^ Branch, Parting the Waters, p. 529
  4. ^ Aug. 9, 1963 Harvard Crimson report on the Ware trial