Charlie was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on 10th. November 1911 to an admiring and hard-working farming couple. As an only child, Charlie committed himself continuously for his parents' approval although this wasn’t given sparsely as Charlie excelled at academic and physical studies as well as family commitments.
After seeing a plane fly over the family farm one day, Charlie was infatuated with the idea of flying. In his idyllic view of commitment and achievement, he hadn’t considered his dream had some obstacles he would find almost impossible to overcome. All of them physically. Charlie was a powerfully built six foot one inch, 220lb black man. Too large for a pilot’s cockpit, too dark skinned to have the same opportunities as a white man.
By January 1943 he was managing the ground team that kept the 99th. Pursuit Squadron out of Tuskegee in the air. During the war, he visited Britain many times and loved it. After the war, Charlie moved to Britain encouraged by the camaraderie he shared with the British troops that didn’t seem to share the same belief in segregation as his fellow countrymen. He started a gym in Notting Hill and soon became friends with a fellow, jazz-loving American that happened to walk in one day.