Charlye Ola Farris
Located on 900 Seventh Street, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301, on the north side of the courthouse.
GPS coordinates: 33-degrees 54' 49.2" N 98-degrees 28' 31.4" W
Public School Educators James Randolph Farris, Sr. and Roberta (Bell) Farris welcomed their only daughter, Charlye Ola Farris, on June 30, 1929 in Wichita Falls. Charlye graduated as valedictorian of Booker T. Washington High School at age 15, and from Prairie View A&M College in 1948 at the age of eighteen with a degree in Political Science. After a year of teaching, Charlye pursued her interest in
becoming an attorney.
Farris received her law degree from Howard University in Washington, D. C. in 1953. During her final year, Farris' class worked on the landmark racial desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Charlie started a solo practice in Wichita Falls, becoming the first black, male or female, to actively practice law in Wichita county. Charley faced many
obstacles and much discrimination in Wichita county and within the legal profession. However, in 1954, Farris was selected to serve as county judge pro-tem, making her the first black person to serve as a judge in the south since Reconstruction.
Among her many awards, such as the American Bar
Association's Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of
Achievement, one of her proudest was serving on the Board of Regents of Midwestern State University, where she was not permitted to attend earlier as a student due to her race. During her 56 years of legal practice, Charlye served her community numerous ways. Her life is a testament to the determination and the impact one individual can have on a community, state, and nation.