From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Caldwell, Charles

(born: 1831  -  died: 1875) 

Charles Caldwell, a blacksmith, was born in Kentucky and later became an elected state senator in Mississippi. He was the husband of Margaret Ann Caldwell.

In 1868, Charles Caldwell and the son of a judge were involved in a shootout that left the judge's son dead. Caldwell was tried by an all-white jury and found not guilty; he was the first African American in Mississippi to kill a white man and be found not guilty by the courts.

Caldwell continued as a state senator and helped write the state constitution. He would later command an African American militia troop in Clinton, MS and try unsuccessfully to prevent a race riot. The riot lasted for four days, and on Christmas Day, 1875, Caldwell was gunned down by a gang of whites.

For more see A People's History of the United States: 1942-present (2003), by H. Zinn; and "Charles Caldwell, State Senator," in Great Black Men of Masonry, 1723-1982 (2002), by J. M. A. Cox.

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NKAA Source: A People's history of the United States: 1492-present
NKAA Source: Great black men of masonry 1723-1982

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“Caldwell, Charles,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-11-06 18:15:35