Former VP Biden honors Sen. Fritz Hollings in Charleston

Published: Apr. 17, 2017 at 11:36 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2017 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Sen. Fritz Hollings (Source: U.S. Congress)
Sen. Fritz Hollings (Source: U.S. Congress)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Former Vice President Joe Biden was the keynote speaker in a ceremony Monday which unveiled a new statue at the Four Corners of Law in downtown Charleston.

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The statue honors Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, who served as a South Carolina Senator from 1966 to 2005, as well as Governor of South Carolina from 1959 to 1963 and Lieutenant Governor 1955 to 1959.

"South Carolina and this incredible city, will be written on his heart [when he dies], and everybody, everybody will know it," said Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is a longtime friend of South Carolina's 95-year-old former Democratic governor. Hollings served nearly 40 years in the U.S. Senate before his retirement.

Throughout his career coworkers say Hollings always had great foresight.

"He often pursued issues ahead of their time," said Mary Jo Sotille Manning, with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. "Sometimes at odds with people who had a more conventional frame of mind. He never took a public opinion poll, and at times he paid a heavy price."

"People may not have agreed with you, but they believed that you believed it, and that will take you a long way in this state," said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Among Hollings' noteworthy accomplishments included integrating South Carolina schools, when other states were fighting against it. He also established the state's technical college system and educational television.

"My names not on much, and that's fine by me… your name should be on more," Graham said.

In 2010, Biden dedicated a University of South Carolina library named for Hollings.

Representative James Clyburn said no one will ever be able to understand what Hollings truly means to this state.

"But I know this… it's immeasurable and I thank you for it," he said.

Hollings was born and raised in Charleston County and graduated from the Citadel and the University of South Carolina Law School, according to the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

The statue was dedicated in the garden at the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center at Meeting Street between Broad Street and Tradd Street.

Biden was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Other speakers who participated in the public ceremony included South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, U. S. Rep. James Clyburn, Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg and former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Duffy moderated the program.

In April 2015, Hollings made the unusual request that the Ernest Hollings Judicial Center be renamed in honor of Judge J. Waties Waring, who played an important role int he early developments in the American civil rights movement.

Graham called the request by Hollings a move that "speaks volumes about his character and leadership."

"Nobody has ever said take my name off a revered building in my city, and put somebody else's name on because they were better than I was," Biden said.

Clyburn said he asked Congressional researchers to determine how many times in the past such a request had been made and said he was told days later by staffers that it was the first time such a request had been made.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.