Among its first class was Matthew J. Perry, the first black lawyer from Jim Crow south to be appointed to the federal judiciary.

From 1947 until 1966, South Carolina State University, a historically black college, had a school of law. Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, South Carolina State University’s law school was a result of a civil rights struggle against the University of South Carolina. USC’s law school was the only one in the state at the time.

The decision for SCSU’s law school came as a result of a case involving black World War II veteran John Wrighten III. Wrighten was denied admission to USC Law School. He took his case to trial and was represented by Thurgood Marshall. Judge J. Waties Waring gave the state of South Carolina three options: Admit James Wrighten III, open a black law school or close the law school at USC. From that decision, the South Carolina State University School of Law was established in 1947. it was called the Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina.

- Advertisement -

The first class had eight students. Over the next 19 years, 50 men and one woman graduated from the all-black law school. Among the 50 was Matthew J. Perry, who became the first black lawyer from Jim Crow south to be appointed to the federal judiciary, and Ernest Finney Jr., former chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

In 1966, the South Carolina State University School of Law closed its doors. When segregation ended at USC, black students enrolled. The re-establishment of another law school at South Carolina State University has been explored. The cost was estimated to be $8 million.

Referenced Article from SCSU