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Robert J. Duncan

DAWSON, CHARLES WASHINGTON (1904–1993). Charles Washington Dawson, African-American educator in Wharton, Texas, was born in Sealy, Austin County, Texas, on September 7, 1904, to Casper I. Dawson and Delilah L. (McCray) Dawson.

Charles received his public school education in Houston’s Fourth Ward and Fifth Ward. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science and math at Howard University in Washington, D. C., and a master’s degree in education (school administration) at Texas Southern University. Later he did additional graduate work at the University of Houston.

Charles married Estella Malone, who was seven years his junior, in October 1929. In July 1930 their son Delbert Hyman Dawson was born, and thirteen months later, son Charlton Elmo Dawson was born. More than a decade later, the couple had two daughters, Carol and Diane. The Dawson family lived for many years at 115 North Sheppard Street in Wharton. Charles was a member of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Wharton and enjoyed travel, fishing, and gardening.

Dawson’s first job in the Wharton schools, from 1928 to 1939, was as a math and science teacher. From 1939 to 1955 he was principal of Wharton Training School, a twelve-grade school. From 1955 until 1968 Dawson served as principal of the Wharton Training Junior-Senior High School. He was principal of Speaker Elementary School in 1968 and 1969. Then he worked as an administrator in the Wharton ISD offices until he retired in 1974. Dawson served the Wharton ISD a total of forty-six years. Charles Dawson was the first principal of Wharton Training High School. Later Dawson Elementary School was named for him.

Charles Dawson died on January 28, 1993, at eighty-eight years of age. Charles and Estella Dawson had been married for sixty-three years. He was buried at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church Cemetery in Mackay, Texas. In 2013 the Dawson Community Resource Center (formerly the Dawson Elementary School), on Wharton’s Martin Luther King Boulevard, still bore his surname.


Charles W. Dawson, “Personal Data Sheet” (obtained from his daughter Carol Myers). Dawson Community Resource Center (http://www.jdin.org/downloads/dawson/dawson_flyer_final.pdf), accessed February 1, 2013. Carol Myers, Email correspondence with author, February 27, 2013; March 3, 4, 2013. Paul N. Spellman, Wharton, (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2010). Texas Standard, January–February 1948; January–February 1950; January–February 1955; January–February 1956; January–February 1959; March–April 1964.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert J. Duncan, "DAWSON, CHARLES WASHINGTON ," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdabl.

Uploaded on June 13, 2013. Modified on June 18, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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