Charles Oscar Harris Family Home
813 Adams Avenue
— African American Community Leader —
Charles O. Harris was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on August 5, 1852. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio. Later, in 1870, he became one of the first students at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Returning to Alabama during Reconstruction, he served as Collector of U.S. Revenue at the Port of Montgomery and assistant enrolling clerk in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1872 to 1874. Harris served a single term in the Alabama Legislature from 1876 to 1877, when the volatile political climate in the state precluded further participation of black officeholders.
On March II, 1875, Harris and other prominent Montgomery African Americans tested the Civil Rights Act of 1875 by purchasing tickets to the white-only section of the Montgomery Theatre. Being denied seats, they pursued their rights in court.
Harris lived to become one of the longest active Republicans in the state. He attended eight Republican National Conventions as a delegate- at-large. In 1892, he represented Alabama at the White House as part of the Notification Committee that informed President Benjamin Harrison of his nomination
In 1881, Harris was appointed by the Harrison administration to serve as
chief clerk for the Montgomery Post Office, a position he held until 1913.
Sponsored by descendants of Charles O. Harris.
In 1882, Charles Harris married Ellen Hassell Hardaway, who was a graduate of Fisk University and a teacher at Madison School. In this home, they raised ten children, nine of whom attended college:
Georgia Harris Holley, teacher
Countess Malone Harris Cashin, teacher
Charles Oscar Harris Jr, MD
Roscoe Windom Harris, BA
Mortimer Melbourne Harris, JD
Albert Harris, deceased in childhood
Ellen Harris Hilyer, teacher
Booker Washington Harris, DDS
Aileen Harris Davis, MA
Ruth Harris Bunche, BA
Their youngest child, Ruth, married United Nations Under-Secretary General Ralph Bunche, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. Shortly after his retirement from the Post Office, Charles Oscar Harris died at his Adams Avenue home on October 8, 1913, at the age of sixty-one. Remembered as one of the era's most politically active and socially prominent citizens, he is buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Sponsored by descendants of Charles O. Harris.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights. A significant historical date for this entry is August 5, 1852.
Location. 32° 22.536′ N, 86° 17.879′ W. Marker is in Montgomery, Alabama, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of South Ripley Street and Adams Avenue, on the right when traveling north on South Ripley Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 801 Adams Avenue, Montgomery AL 36104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First White House of the Confederacy (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Flame of Freedom (approx. 0.2 miles away); Joseph Lister Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); World War I Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Alabama Highway Patrol (approx. 0.2 miles away); Minister's Home / Dr. Martin Luther King (approx. 0.2 miles away); To the Memory of General Marquis De La Fayette (approx. 0.2 miles away); James Marion Sims (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montgomery.
More about this marker. Marker erected as part of the Alabama Bicentennial Celebration (1819-2019).
Credits. This page was last revised on August 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 22, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.