Ralph Lawrence Carr

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For other people named Ralph Carr, see Ralph Carr (disambiguation).
Ralph Lawrence Carr
Gov Ralph L Carr 1940.jpg
29th Governor of Colorado
In office
January 10, 1939 – January 12, 1943
Lieutenant John Charles Vivian
Preceded by Teller Ammons
Succeeded by John Charles Vivian
Personal details
Born (1887-12-11)December 11, 1887
Rosita, Colorado
Died September 22, 1950(1950-09-22) (aged 62)
Denver, Colorado
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1)Gretchen Fowler
(2)Eleanor Fairall Howe
Profession lawyer, newspaper editor

Ralph Lawrence Carr (December 11, 1887 – September 22, 1950) was the 29th Governor of Colorado from 1939 to 1943.

Biography and career[edit]

Born in Rosita in Custer County, he grew up in Cripple Creek in Teller County and graduated from Cripple Creek High School in 1905. A Republican, Carr was committed to fiscal restraint in state government and opposed the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, Carr supported Roosevelt's foreign policy. When the War Relocation Authority decided to resettle Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast in a camp at Amache near Granada, Colorado, Carr went against popular anti-Japanese sentiment by urging Coloradans to welcome the evacuees. In a speech defending the rights of the displaced Japanese Americans, Carr said:

If you harm them, you must harm me. I was brought up in a small town where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened the happiness of you and you and you.

Carr's urgings for racial tolerance and for protection of the basic rights of the Japanese Americans are generally thought to have cost him his political career, including his ambition for election to the United States Senate. He narrowly lost the 1942 Senate election to incumbent Democratic Senator Edwin C. Johnson.


This bust of Ralph L. Carr is located in a small plaza on the east side of the intersection of 19th Street and Larimer Street in Denver.

Carr is buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver. In 1976, a bust of Carr was erected in Denver's Sakura Square to commemorate his efforts on behalf of Japanese-Americans.

Carr has a street named after him which runs through the western suburbs of Westminster, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, and Lakewood.

On March 14, 2008, both houses of the Colorado legislature, in a unanimous vote, named a section of U.S. Route 285 between Kenosha Pass and C-470 the "Ralph Carr Memorial Highway." [1]

On June 4, 2008, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 206 (Shaffer & Penry/T. Carroll & Marostica) authorizing the construction of a new state judicial complex in Denver to be named the Ralph L. Carr Justice Center, occupying the entire block between 13th and 14th Avenues and Broadway and Lincoln Street.[2]

On July 6, 2012, the Japanese American Citizens League decided to create a special award in his honor.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Who Was Who in America, v. 3 (1951–1960), Chicago: Marquis - Who's Who, 1963, p. 140.
  • Schrager, Adam (2008). The Principled Politician: The Ralph Carr Story. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55591-654-1. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Teller Ammons
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
John Charles Vivian