Howard Carwile

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Howard Carwile
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 35th district
In office
January 9, 1974 – January 14, 1976
Preceded by William F. Reid
Succeeded by Gerald L. Baliles
Personal details
Born Howard Hearnes Carwile
(1911-11-14)November 14, 1911
Charlotte, Virginia, U.S.
Died June 6, 1987(1987-06-06) (aged 75)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Violet Talley
Alma mater Alma White College
Southeastern University

Howard Hearnes Carwile (November 14, 1911 – June 6, 1987) was an American lawyer and politician.


Howard Carwile was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, to parents Willis Early Carwile (May 6, 1873 – May 10, 1950) and Allie Taylor (July 2, 1887 – November 23, 1968); they were tenant tobacco farmers. Howard was one of 13 children. He married Violet Virginia Talley (January 28, 1918 – October 21, 1994), daughter of John C. Talley (May 8, 1882 – ?) and Virginia Magnetta Cullingsworth (March 27, 1895 – Feb. 1986).

Howard and Violet had one son, Howard H. Carwile, Jr., and one grandchild, Taylor Lane Carwile.

Both Howard and Violet died in Richmond, Virginia. He is the great-great-grandson of Jacob Carwile, an American Revolutionary War soldier.



Howard Carwile was known as a fiery, passionate trial attorney in Richmond, Virginia. He opposed the Byrd Organization in his early years, a machine of Conservative Democrats led by Harry Flood Byrd which dominated Virginia's politics from the 1920s until the mid-1960s.

Carwile represented many black clients as a trial lawyer in the 1940s through 1960s in Richmond. He was an ever-vigilant watchdog over the Richmond Police Department and champion for reform of Virginia's prisons and a general political gadfly. He was known for his colorful rhetoric in public, such as calling a city-hall boondoggle he disliked a "horrendous heap of hokum" and his campaign style, including an automobile completely covered in Carwile bumper-stickers. He was appreciated by Richmonders for his verbal theatrics, and in the 1970s it was not uncommon to hear someone say he or she was "shocked and appalled", a frequent Carwile exclamation. His case against Richmond Newspapers concerning an editorial by the Richmond Times-Dispatch reached the Virginia Supreme Court in 1954 and was decided in his favor.[1] A collection of his papers is housed in the Special Collections and Archives section of the library of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Government offices held[edit]

Served on Virginia House committees:

  • Health, Welfare & Institutions
  • Militia and Police


Published and broadcast works[edit]

  • Weekly columnist for the Richmond Afro-American newspaper
  • Published Speaking from Byrdland, a compilation of his weekly radio programs decrying racial segregation
  • Autobiography Carwile, His Life and Times, published June 1988 ISBN 1-55618-043-8


  1. ^ Howard H. Carwile v. Richmond Newspapers, Inc, 196 Va. 1 (Supreme Court of Virginia 1954).

External links[edit]