One of South Carolina’s greatest legal minds didn’t come out of the University of South Carolina School of Law, even though he did attend law school in the Palmetto State just after World War II.

Matthew J. Perry, who would go on to become the first black lawyer from the Deep South to be appointed to the federal judiciary, was graduated from the South Carolina State University School of Law in 1951.

Perry was one of more than four dozen individuals who graduated from the now-all-but-forgotten law school, which existed from 1947 until 1966. Another graduate was Ernest A. Finney Jr., former chief justice of the SC Supreme Court.

SC State’s School of Law came about because of the refusal by state leaders to integrate the University of South Carolina School of Law, which for many years was the state’s only institution for legal education.

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