Charleston dedicates municipal courtroom to Judge Richard Fields

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A courtroom at the Charleston Municipal Court now has a new name in honor of the first Black elected judicial official in the Southeast.

Retired Judge Richard Fields, 101, watched virtually as Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Charleston City Council and members of the Charleston Bar Association bestowed the honor.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to know Judge Richard Fields,” Tecklenburg said. “In giving our courtroom his name, we not only recognize Judge Fields’ extraordinary accomplishments, but also set the highest possible standards of probity and excellence for all who enter this honorable court.”

During the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled, which will be installed outside the courtroom next week.

Honorable Richard E. Fields Courtroom

This Courtroom is dedicated to the Honorable Richard E. Fields. A native Charlestonian, born on October 1, 1920, Judge Fields was selected in 1969 as the first Black Municipal Judge in the City of Charleston. He was later elected a Family Court Judge in 1975 and in 1980 he was elected as a South Carolina Circuit Court Judge, where he served until his retirement in 1992. Judge Fields was universally respected for his courtroom demeanor and the respect shown to all those who appeared before him. His patience, wisdom and intelligence bestowed honor on the judicial system.

Judge Fields was the first African American attorney to open a law office in South Carolina since the early 1900′s upon his admission to the District of Columbia and South Carolina Bar Associations. In 2013, the Charleston County Bar Association honored Judge Fields with the prestigious James Louis Petigru Award, in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession and his community.

Judge Fields graduated from West Virginia State College in 1944 and earned his law degree from Howard University in 1947. As a member of the historic Centenary Methodist Church he served for over 50 years as its treasurer. In 1952, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of Claflin College in Orangeburg, SC.

“I’m overwhelmed by this honor, and I thank you very much,” Fields told the audience.

The South Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution in April 2020 marking his 100th birthday, which occurred that October.

A native of Charleston, Fields is an alumnus of Burke High School. He earned his law degree at Howard University School of Law.