SC’s first black Chief Justice of the Supreme Court dead at 86
by The Associated Press | December 4, 2017 10:39 am
South Carolina’s first African-American chief justice of the Supreme Court since Reconstruction has died.
Ernest Finney, 86, died Sunday afternoon, according to S.c. Deputy Supreme Court Clerk Brenda Shealy. No details were given about the death.
Finney spent a lifetime breaking racial barriers in South Carolina.
He was one of just a handful of black lawyers in the state when he graduated from the former South Carolina State College law school in 1954. Finney worked as a waiter and other jobs to make ends meet. The first time he attended a State Bar meeting was as a waiter at a Myrtle Beach hotel because the state lawyers’ organization was still all white.
Finney was elected chief justice of South Carolina in 1994 and retired from the court in 2000.