August 3, 1921 Matthew James Perry, Jr., the first African American from the Deep South appointed to the federal judiciary, was born in Columbia, South Carolina. After serving in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, Perry earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 and his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1951 from South Carolina State College (now University). He served as chief counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s South Carolina Conference of Branches and in that capacity argued hundreds of cases that helped desegregate schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other public places, including the integration of Clemson University in 1963. He also served for 16 years on the NAACP national board. Perry was appointed to the United States Military Court of Appeals in 1976, the second African American to serve on that court. He was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina in 1979, South Carolina’s first African American federal judge. He assumed senior status in 1995. Perry died July 29, 2011. The courthouse in Columbia is named in his honor.