SC State Plans Memorial Service to Pay Tribute to Loyal Son

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Matthew J PerrySC State University will celebrate the life and legacy of federal judge and SC State alumnus, Matthew J. Perry. Perry died on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at the age of 89. Perry entered SC State as a freshman in 1939 but had his education interrupted by military service in World War II. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1948 and a law degree at the Orangeburg school in 1951. For 15 years, Perry served as chief legal counsel for the State Conference of the NAACP. In dozens of cases in the 1950s and 1960s, he defended thousands of people who were arrested in civil rights marches and protests.

In 1976, Perry was appointed to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. President Jimmy Carter appointed Perry to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina in 1979. He sat on the federal bench until 1995 and then served in senior status until his death. The federal court house dedicated in 2005 was named in his honor. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Hallie Bacote.

The SC State Memorial service will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at 11 a.m. in the Fine Arts Center’s Dr. Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall and will commemorate the career and achievements of Perry. It will also feature several speakers who knew and appreciated him, including Dr. Cleveland Sellers, Mr. Harvey Gantt, Judge Jasper Cureton, Dr. Jack Bass, Dr. Millicent Brown, Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough, Mr. Cecil Williams and Judge Perry’s son, Mr. Michael Perry.

For more information on the SC State Memorial service, contact Erica Prioleau-Taylor at (803) 533-3617 or via e-mail at