SC civil rights pioneer laid to rest
Thu, 04 Aug 2011 11:11:25 GMT —
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Longtime federal judge and civil rights pioneer Matthew Perry Jr. is being remembered for transforming segregationist South Carolina with his relentless pursuit of justice and love of the law.
Hundreds packed the Brookland Baptist Church Thursday afternoon to pay their respects.
Several tributes were made to the late Perry from retired U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and the Honorable Jean H. Toal just to name a few.
During the service, Representative James Clyburn read a letter from President Barack Obama addressed to Perry.
In the letter the president praised and acknowledged Perry TMs outstanding service to the justice system.
Perry died last weekend at his home just a few days short of his 90th birthday.
The flag at the Statehouse in Columbia is being flown at half-staff in honor of Perry on Thursday. The City of Columbia will fly flags at half-mast until further notice.Related Stories Funeral service set for civil rights lawyer, federal judge Perry
Perry spent decades as a civil rights lawyer in the state and, in 1975, became the first black federal court judge in South Carolina.
Judge Perry practiced and litigated during the civil rights era when there was not a black person in the courtroom unless they had a broom in their hand, says Perry TMs former colleague and attorney Hemphill Pride.
Pride worked with Perry during the volatile 1950s and 1960s.
I think that I will always remember Judge Perry's love for the law, Pride states
Perry was buried at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)