Charles Maxwell, Interview by Kieran W. Taylor, 10 April, 2011


Charles Maxwell, Interview by Kieran W. Taylor, 10 April, 2011


Charles (Chuck) A. Maxwell, Citadel Class of 1985 was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1962, and was raised in the South Carolina Lowcountry. His family has deep roots in Charleston and his parents decided to return to the city when his father left the Air Force. After graduating from Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, he attended The Citadel and was an accomplished cadet that was elected to be the Fourth Battalion Regimental Commander. Right after graduation, he joined the Air Force and was initially stationed in North Dakota and later in England. He was named Captain, but his career was cut short when he was subjected to martial court for being gay. In the interview, Maxwell takes pride in his family roots and values that have guided him during his life. He talks about the special relationship he had with an uncle who was a gay artist living in New York City and helped him to accept himself and enjoy life in the big city. He discusses his experiences as a Black gay man in the South and in military organizations before the time of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies. He is proud about his experience at The Citadel and his accomplishments as a cadet. He explains it was easier for him to be gay at The Citadel than Black at The Citadel because he could hide his sexual orientation but not his complexion. He remembers Hell Week, the knob year, and other abuses he overcame during his time in the institution, including being forced to lead the school fight song, Dixie’s Land. He also talks about his experience and accomplishments in the Air Force, the struggles to be who he was in a homophobic institution, as well as the frustration and despair he went through for being taken to court martial. At the time of the interview Maxwell was living in Atlanta with his partner of thirteen years, and was still deeply involved with the Citadel as an alum. 


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Charleston (S.C.)


Taylor, Kieran W.


Maxwell, Charles


Charleston, South Carolina

Original Format

Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are WAV files.


3 hours, 14 minutes



The Charleston Oral History Program at the Citadel, “Charles Maxwell, Interview by Kieran W. Taylor, 10 April, 2011,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed January 31, 2023,