Lawyers at the S.C. Bar's annual convention sat spellbound as Senior U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr. told of standing for the rule of law at a time when the law didn't necessarily stand for him and others like him. During the Bar's plenary luncheon Jan. 21, Perry told of racial intolerance through which he lived and lawyered as an African-American attorney. As a young lawyer in the 1950s and 1960s, Perry gained a reputation for winning cases that promoted desegregation of beaches, parks, restaurants and public schools in South Carolina. In 1979, he became the first African-American judge to sit on the state's U.S. District Court.
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