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Federal Judge Matthew J. Perry Dies

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 1 (UPI) — U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry, known for his civil rights work, died at his home in Columbia, S.C., officials said. He was 89.

Perry, who would have turned 90 this week, was found dead Sunday, apparently of natural causes, The State newspaper in Columbia reported Monday.

His body was found by a family member who each Sunday went to the judge’s home to prepare a meal for Perry and his wife Hallie, who is in poor health, said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.

Perry was at work Friday at the courthouse that bears his name and he regularly worked a full schedule.

“He was a shining example of unflinching courage and leadership,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Simply put, he was a giant and this world will be a lesser place without him.”

Flags in Columbia will be flown at half-staff in the coming days, Benjamin said.

“Matthew Perry — an iron fist in a velvet glove — courteous, polite, even jocular … but unshakably determined,” said South Carolina historian Walter Edgar.

Perry was one of the first black men from the South appointed to a federal court. He was still serving as a senior U.S. District Court judge for South Carolina at the time of his death.

“I would like to see an improved quality of life for citizens around the state,” Perry said last week. “I am very much concerned about those who remain uneducated and who are impoverished, living at the edge of society. “

Information about arrangements wasn’t immediately available.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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  • Rosa Bogar

    I am sad of the passing of Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr.Judge Perry was the keynote speaker for Civil Rights remembrance Day in Orangeburg, South Carolina at Trinity United Methodist Church. He will be deeply missed but his legacy will live on through this work for which I am in process of getting published. I am a native of Orangeburg,and the visionary of Civil Rights Remembrance Day. Rosa Mavins Bogar

  • Rosa Bogar

    Honorable Matthew J.Perry Jr. was awarded the Civil Rights Remembrance Day Award of 2001 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Orangeburg,South Carolina.Judge Perry will be deeply missed but, his legacy will live on through this work. I am a native of Orangeburg,and the visionary of Civil Rights Remembrance Day. Rosa Mavins Bogar

  • Rosa Bogar

    I most recently visited the Schomburg Center and shared with the new director Dr. Muhammad about the late Honorable Matthew J. Perry Jr. but his work will live on through the papers at the Schomburg Center.I am so honored that my papers are there and wish that others will consider likewise.Our history is very important and should have a resting place,other than under our bed. I am the visionary of Civil Rights Remembrance Day. Rosa Mavins Bogar

  • Rosa Bogar

    South Carolina State University will have a memorial for the late Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr. Let it be known that judge Perry was the keynote speaker for Civil Rights Remembrance Day on May,4th 1997 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Orangeburg, South Carolina.This was Perry’s first speech since the movement in Orangeburg.He kindly accepted my invitation to speak and stated,” that he looked forward to seeing the many people he was fortuned to represent.” Judge Perry legacy will live on through the collection at South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston and the Schomburg Center in Harlem, New York.I am the visionary of “Civil Rights Remembrance Day” and a native of Orangeburg. Thanks, for letting me share this TRUTH! Rosa Mavins Bogar

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