ORANGEBURG OUT OF THE PAST

S.C. State law school: Acclaimed Orangeburg photographer Cecil Williams has a new book, “Unforgettable: A Time of Life Hope Bravery,” featuring images from 1950 and beyond. This photo is titled “South Carolina State College of Law/1947-1966. Williams writes: “The South Carolina State College law school came about because legislators refused to integrate the University of South Carolina School of Law. John Howard Wrighten III, a black World War II veteran, applied for admission to USC law school in 1946 but was denied because of his race. Wrighten filed suit and was represented by Thurgood Marshall and other attorneys. District Judge J. Waites Waring held in 1946 that ‘a Negro resident of South Carolina was entitled to the same opportunity and facilities afforded to white residents for obtaining a legal education by and in the state.’ Waring gave South Carolina three options: (1) University of South Carolina admit Wrighten; (2) the state open a black law school; (3) or that the white law school at USC be closed. The South Carolina General Assembly authorized the establishment of a law school at South Carolina State, then officially known as the Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolinal, rather than integrate or close down USC School of Law. The school opened in 1947 … with eight students. In years following, 50 men and one woman would graduate, including Matthew J. Perry and Ernest A. Finney …”

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