WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Late Wichita Falls native Charlye O. Farris is being honored in a major way.
Farris is being inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame later this year for her long list of accomplishments.
Farris was the first African-American woman to be admitted to the Texas State Bar among other things, all of which her friends and family say make her the perfect candidate for the hall of fame.
“Not the least is Charlye Farris. It’s amazing when you think of all the firsts related to Charlye Farris,” author Rebecca Trammell said.
When you think of local heroes, you can’t help but think of the incredible women like Farris that have shaped our community into what we know it as today.
“The word that always comes to mind about people like Charlye is perseverance. She wasn’t out beating the bushes or yelling and screaming. She was doing her job, doing it well and being an example,” Trammell said.
Some of Farris’ firsts include being the first African-American to serve as a judge in the south after reconstruction, the first African-American woman to be admitted to the Texas State Bar and the first woman to practice law in Wichita County.
Barry Macha, former Wichita County District Attorney and friend of Farris, says he can only imagine what it took to accomplish all that she did.
“She passed the state bar in 1953 and became the first black woman licensed to practice law in the state of Texas, and so she came back home to Wichita Falls. When she came into this courthouse in 1953, 1954, the courthouse downtown was still segregated. Still had separate bathrooms for black and whites, still had separate water fountains for black and whites and she endured that,” Macha said.
Persevering and overcoming obstacles around her are what her friends like Macha say make her so deserving of this honor.
“I’m so proud for Charlye. I’m so proud for her family, late mother Roberta, for her son Troy, for her brother Randy, for the secretaries that worked with her like Arthur Bea Williams,” Macha said.
“My first thought was, why didn’t she get it before? What’s taken so long for her to achieve this honor at a state level,” Trammell said.
Trammell of the North Texas Museum is currently working on a book that honors Farris’ life and that of other remarkable women in Wichita Falls.
“We know Charlye Farris. We don’t know other people. We don’t know these other women, and that’s what we hope this book will bring out is there are other women who preserved, did their job, did it well, and were a positive example in their community,” Trammell said.
And Trammell, like others, say having Farris in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame is an honor long overdue.
“I think they’re proud, and like me, they are saying it’s about time. It’s about time she was recognized on this level for all she accomplished and all that she stood for in this community,” Trammell said.
Macha says he learned a lot from Farris, but one thing stands out the most.
“Never give up. Charlye never gave up,” Macha said.
And for that, the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame welcomes Charlye Farris and her legacy.
The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on November 4 in Denton.