Matthew J. Perry, Jr.

An older gentleman sitting in a brown leather chair

A still from Matthew J. Perry's oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Columbia, South Carolina, on June 7, 2011. Library of Congress.

(1921 - 2011) Judge Matthew James Perry, Jr. was born and raised in Columbia, SC. He was a lawyer, civil rights pioneer, and South Carolina's first Black United States District Court Judge. He was often referred to as the "Thurgood Marshall of the South."  Judge Perry is best known for representing Harvey Gantt in gaining admission to attend Clemson University in 1963. He is also known for serving as the trial lawyer in some of the most significant United States Supreme Court cases of the Civil Rights era.