Judge Perry, '51, to receive Thurgood Marshall Award from American Bar Association

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Honorable Matthew J. Perry, '51 Matthew J. Perry Jr., the first black federal judge in South Carolina, will receive the Thurgood Marshall Award next week from the American Bar Association.

The award recognizes long-term contributions by members of the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights.

Perry earned his law degree from S.C. State University in 1951 and went on to become the state’s pre-eminent civil rights lawyer.

The award will be presented at the Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner on Aug. 11 at the 2007 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

In recognizing Perry, the ABA called Perry “one of the most accomplished jurists in South Carolina,” and said he “played a central role in almost every case that integrated South Carolina’s public schools, hospitals, golf courses, restaurants, parks, playgrounds, and beaches.”

In 1976, Perry became the first black lawyer from the deep South to be appointed to a federal bench -- first on the United States Military Court of Appeals and since 1979, on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, where he serves today on senior status.

In 2004, the Matthew J. Perry, Jr. United States Courthouse in Columbia was named in his honor.


Retrieved from The State newspaper