Excerpted from The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier:
APRIL 12, 2014 — For 33 years, the only public tribute to one of Charleston’s most famous jurists, the late U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring, sat on a small podium inside City Hall.
On Friday, diagonally across Broad and Meeting streets, an integrated crowd of several hundred people gathered to watch that change with a few tugs of a red cloth.
Those tugs unveiled a life-size bronze sculpture of Waring, whose famous 1951 dissent laid the groundwork for the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the doctrine of separate but equal. Read the full story …
(from the ceremony)
Too long in coming
“I just had a conversation with the president, and I don’t normally talk about my conversations with the president, but he asked me why I was in Charleston, and I told him. … He expressed great interest in hearing about the judge (Waring) and asked me to give him a copy of my remarks when I got back to Washington D.C. … (Waring) is a great man and the recognition he gets today is well-deserved but too long in coming.”
— U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Vilified here, not elsewhere
“It is ironic that at the peak of his public vilification in South Carolina, Waring was regarded outside the South as a major national figure of stature. In December 1948, shortly after President Truman’s stunning re-election, he met with Judge Waring in the Oval Office to discuss issues surrounding racial equality and the integration of the Army. The president later wrote Waring, saying, ‘I wish we had more federal judges like you on the federal bench.’ ”
— U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston
“J. Waties Waring’s dissent is the writing that changed America. Look at how much has happened, and look at this audience and look at the diversity we have ringing this courthouse today so many years after only one race ringed the streets of this courthouse seeking justice. God Bless America.”
— S.C. Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal
“What Judge Waring did, and when he did it, and where he did it, goes down in history, in my opinion, as one of the most heroic acts that you could ask of any one person.”
— U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
OTHER NEWS COVERAGE
- 4/11: SC judge honored; wrote separate is not equal, Associated Press
- 4/11: South Carolina places monument to early civil rights judge, Reuters
- 4/10: How the son of a Confederate soldier became a civil rights hero, NPR
- 4/10: “A liberating force,” Waring returns to Charleston, Post and Courier
- 4/5: Charleston civil rights hero stood against the entire South, Post and Courier