Charles Buchanan Markham

March 25, 2010 

Former Mayor of Durham, 1981-83, Charles Buchanan Markham, died at Britthaven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Chapel Hill, NC, on March 22, 2010. Mr. Markahm was a retired attorney and former law professor. He was active in national and state politics for both the Democratic and Republican political parties.

Mr. Markham, born September 15, 1926, was the youngest child of Sadie Hackney and Charles Blackwell Markham, a former Treasurer of Duke University. Charles Markham was predeceased by his parents, an infant older brother, Charles Blackwell Markham, and sisters, Eleanor Mallory Markham, Sarah Hackney Markham and Charlotte Markham Shuford. He remained in the family home, 204 N. Dillard Street, where he and his siblings were born until poor health caused him to move in 2004.

He is survived by his nephew, T. M. Shuford, Jr. and his wife, Joyce, of Elon; a grand niece, Tracy Shuford, and grand nephew, Brian P. Shuford, and his children.

Charles Markham was the grandson of John L. and Ella Blackwell Markham and Mayor and Mrs. Edward C. Hackney (the former Lyna Mallory). John L. Markham was one of the first 100 residents of Durham, having moved here in 1869 from the Markham farm on the Old Chapel Hill Road. He served as Town Clerk. John L. Markham was descended from the Herndon, Markham and Pearson families, early colonial settlers of the area before the establishment of Durham County. Also Charles Markham was a grand nephew of William T. Blackwell, founder of Blackwell’s Bull Durham Factory.

Edward C. Hackney was elected Mayor of Durham in 1881, was the editor and publisher of the Durham Recorder (a predecessor of the Durham Sun) and an officer of the Mallory Durham Cheroot Company headed by his father-in-law, John Mallory, an early manufacturer of cigars.

Charles Markham’s education commenced at home when his sister, Sarah, taught him at the age of four to read the newspaper. He moved through the Durham Public Schools - Fuller Grammar School, Central Junior High School and Durham High School from which he graduated in 1942. In 1945 he graduated from Duke University where he was prominent in extra curricular activities, serving two years as editor of the student newspaper, The Duke Chronicle. Charles was honored by membership in the leadership societies, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Delta Pi and the social fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.

As a reporter for The Durham Sun in 1944, Markham, an undergraduate at Duke, covered the Democratic and Republican Conventions. He joined The Charlotte News as an editorial writer and State Editor, 1947-48. Moving to Washington, D.C., he served as Director of Publicity and Research for The Young Democratic Clubs of America, 1948 - 49 and later was promoted to Executive Secretary of the organization, 1949-50. 1950-51 found him working as a political analyst for The Democratic Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C.

Charles commenced law school studies at UNC CH in 1946, joining the celebrated Class of 1948 that included many, who, in later years, became outstanding lawyers, educators and state officials. He completed his law studies at George Washington University, District of Columbia, in 1951. He was admitted to the Bar in New York, North Carolina and the District of Columbia and admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals (2d cir), U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. cir) and the U.S. Supreme Court. His legal career covered private practice and public service. He was a special attorney with the Internal Revenue Service in the Washington and New York City offices, 1952-60; an associate of Battle, Fowler, Stokes and Kheel, NYC, 1960-65; Director of Research U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Washington, 1965-68; Deputy Assistant Secretary U.S. Dept. HUD, Washington, 1969-72; Assistant Dean, Rutgers University Law School, Newark, 1974-76; Professor of Law, NC Central University, Durham, 1976-83; Partner, Markham and Wickham, Durham, 1984-86; Deputy Commissioner, NC Industrial Commission, Raleigh, 1986-93.

He served as a Trustee of Historic Preservation Society, Durham 1982-86; Board of Directors, Staggville Center, 1984-86; member Governor’s Crime Commission, Raleigh, 1985.

Charles Markham’s many friends and associates, from past experiences and social functions, will remember his exceptional wit and humor. Whether speaking to formal audiences or to small groups of friends, he would make clever observations and humorous comments to the delight of those in his presence.

Graveside services will be held in the Old Maplewood Cemetery, Section R, Lot 1281, on Friday, March 26, 2010, at 2:00 p.m.

In recognition of the Markham Family’s long association with the Trinity College and Duke University, and in memory of Charles, contributions may be made to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Box 90341, Durham, NC 27708-0341, or to a charity of one’s choice.

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