Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Matthew J Perry House

Marker ID: SCHM 40-141
Location: on Washington St between Pine and Oak Streets, Columbia, SC
County: Richland
Coordinates: N 34° 00.556    W 081° 01.078
  34.00926666    -81.01796666
Style: Free Standing **


Matthew J Perry, Jr (b 1921), lawyer, civil rights pioneer, and jurist, lived in a house on this site as a youth; the house was torn down in 1997. He served in the US Army during World War II, then graduated from SC State College (now SC State University) in 1948. After graduating in the first class of the SC State Law School in 1951 Perry practiced law in Spartanburg, specializing in civil rights cases.

Perry returned to Columbia in 1961 as chief councel of the SC State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). For fifteen years he tried numerous pivitol civil rights cases before the US Supreme Court. In 1976 Perry was appointed to the US Military Court of Appeals, and in 1979 he became the first black US district court judge in SC.

Erected by the Historic Columbia Foundation, The City of Columbia, and the SC Department of Transportation, 2008