Statue unveiled for U.S. District Judge, civil rights trailblazer

Statue unveiled for U.S. District Judge, civil rights trailblazer
Published: Apr. 11, 2014 at 11:37 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A hero returns home.

Friday, federal and state judicial members gathered at the Charleston Federal Courthouse Garden, for the unveiling of a statue honoring Charleston native and former U.S. District Court Judge J. Waties Waring.

The who's who list of attendees included U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and United States Congressman James Clyburn.

Judge Waring was nominated to the federal bench by then President Franklin Roosevelt, and received Senate confirmation January 20, 1942.

He held the post for ten years, with key civil rights decisions that included expanding the right to vote, and mandating equal pay for black teachers.

It was his dissent in Briggs vs. Elliot that led directly to the end of government sanctioned public school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education.

Famed painter Jonathan Green captured the Briggs courthouse decision in an original piece entitled "Breath of Freedom."  The painting graced the cover of Friday's ceremony program, and will soon grace the walls of schools throughout the state of South Carolina, in honor of Waring's contribution.

Brad Waring, a relative of the former judge said of the honor, "It was long overdue."

The commemorative statue, designed by Virginia's Rick Weaver, now stands on what is commonly known as "the four corners of the law," on the corner of Meeting and Broad Street in downtown Charleston.

The decision to erect a standing statue was intentional, as a direct reference to Waring's stance as fearless decision maker, standing in the face of opposition during a pivotal time in the Civil Rights era.

Judge Waring died January 11, 1968.  Various legal and civic organizations, foundations, and attorneys throughout the state came together to fund the statue in his honor.

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