Honorable Matthew James Perry, Jr. | Carolina Snaps


Honorable Matthew James Perry, Jr. was a civil rights attorney and later he became the first African American federal judge in South Carolina. 

In 1979, Perry was appointed to a position on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. He started college to study business, but he would leave school to serve in the United States Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946.

He finished college after the war, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from South Carolina State University in 1948. Perry concluded that he needed to learn and practice law, due to "a growing awareness of racial injustices, by state laws."

Perry led many landmark civil rights cases. His most prominent case resulted in the integration of Clemson University with Harvey Gantt becoming the first black student.

In 2005 a new federal courthouse and parking garage in Columbia, South Carolina was named after him. 

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