The Court-Martial of Charlie Newell
About the Book
North Carolina, 1917. Charlie Newell lives a quiet life farming as a sharecropper under the hot Southern sun and living in the Negro settlement of Holly Ridge. Even though the world is engaged in the Great War, Charlie's religion forbids him from fighting. He and other Negroes from the community have registered as conscientious objectors, but the U.S. Army ignores their stance and forces them into the service.
Once Charlie begins his duties as a soldier, the trouble starts. Racial slurs, insults, and even physical abuse hound him, and he longs to return to his farm. His religious beliefs clash with the army when he refuses to work on Saturday-his Sabbath-and Charlie is arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
For Charlie, a simple man with simple dreams, his time in prison is the biggest obstacle in his life. Facing prejudice from fellow inmates, guards, and prison administrators is one thing. But it is the toll on his mind, body, and spirit that will truly test the strength of his convictions.
The Court-Martial of Charlie Newell sheds light on a little-known piece of American history. Charlie Newell's plight artfully portrays the racial prejudice of America during World War I and reveals one man's fortitude in the face of adversity.
About the Author
Gerard Shirar is a Purdue University graduate. A twenty-year veteran of the United States Army, he served in Korea and Vietnam. Shirar presently practices law in Everett, Massachusetts.