The passing of civil rights giant and US District Judge Matthew J. Perry Friday closed the book on the life of great South Carolinian and a truly accomplished individual.

Perry, according to an excellent story in The Staterepresented civil rights activists, brought attention to unfair housing practices and the disproportionate number of black inmates on Death Row in the South during his time as an attorney.

The paper highlighted three of Perry’s cases that had far-reaching consequences for the advancement of equal rights in South Carolina: a 1972 lawsuit forcing the state of South Carolina to elect its House members from districts, immediately quadrupling the number of black legislators; and two cases from 1963 that desegregated both Clemson and the University of South Carolina.

Just as interesting, though, was the paper’s description of Perry’s early years:

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Last year was one of the best on record for cotton growers, but things aren’t shaping up nearly so well in 2011.

Drought conditions across much of the South is hindering growing conditions and will almost assuredly hurt US cotton yield this year.

For example, 36 percent of the cotton crop in Texas – where about half of the US cotton growing area is located – is rated very poor; 23 percent poor; 30 percent fair; and only 11 percent good, according to Carl Anderson, a cotton marketing expert and professor emeritus with Texas A&M.

Anderson recently told the San Angelo Standard-Times that the US cotton crop is in bad shape.

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