Diversity Committee

Diversity Committee Highlights Members of local Judiciary

During the month of February, the Diversity Committee's Education Sub-Committee highlighted Black members of our local judiciary and the history that has influenced them. Several of Richland County's finest judges were kind enough to share a little about who and what inspired their legal careers. We hope you will take a moment to listen to the wonderful insights from our Judges and see how Black history has shaped, and will continue to shape, our Richland County Bar.


The Hon. Joseph M. Strickland

We are honored to start with our Richland County Master-In-Equity, the Honorable Joseph M. Strickland. Please listen as he discusses Alabama lawyer Fred Gray and his contributions to the Civil Rights movement. Thank you, Judge Strickland!


Bus Ride to Justice: Changing the System, the Life and Works of Fred Gray.

See Fred Gray portrayed in the films Boycott (2001) and Selma (2014).

The Alabama State Bar elected Fred Gray as the first African-American President in 2001 and has celebrated his life at various times including when the Alabama Tourism Department and the Tuskegee History Center unveiled the Fred Gray Historic Marker at the downtown intersection where Gray’s law office once stood in Montgomery, AL on Feb. 4, 2015.


The Hon. DeAndrea G. Benjamin

This week, we are honored to hear from the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Please listen as she discusses Edna Smith Primus, the first African American woman to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Law and her trailblazing life and work dedicated to legal advocacy. Thank you, Judge Benjamin!


The Hon. Alison Renee Lee

This week we are honored to hear from the Honorable Alison Renee Lee, Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Please listen as she discusses South Carolina's very own Cassandra E. Maxwell and her life as the first African American woman admitted to the SC Bar, amongst many other accomplishments and accolades. Thank you, Judge Lee!


Portia Steps Up to the Bar: The First Women Lawyers of South Carolina by Ruth Cupp

All for Civil Rights. African American Lawyers in South Carolina, 1868-1968, by W. Lewis Burke.

At Freedom's Door by James Underwood and W. Lewis Burke

South Carolina African American History Calendar


The Hon. Rosalyn Frierson-Smith

This week we are honored to hear from the Honorable Rosalyn Frierson-Smith, Richland County Family Court Judge. Please listen as she discusses Macon Bolling Allen, the first African American to become a lawyer, argue before a jury, and hold a judicial position in the United States. Thank you, Judge Frierson-Smith!