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Perry, Matthew J., Jr. (1921-2011)

Oral History Transcript (pdf, 184 pages)
Judge Matthew Perry (1921-2011) discusses his life, legal career, and involvement in the civil rights movement in South Carolina. A native of Columbia, Perry graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 and saw duty in England, France, Belgium, and Germany. Perry attended college and law school at South Carolina State College and, in 1951, associated with the law firm of Jenkins, Perry and Pride. He took on civil rights cases in private practice and as chief counsel to the S.C. State Conference of the NAACP. In 1974, Perry became the first African American in the 20th century to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in Congress, but failed to unseat incumbent Floyd Spence. In 1976, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. In 1979, he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for South Carolina and served on the bench until his death in 2011.

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Memory Hold the Door (USC Law School)