South Carolina General Assembly
122nd Session, 2017-2018

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Bill 1008

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Whereas, Judge Richard E. Fields was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from Avery Institute in 1940, from West Virginia State College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1944, and from Howard University School of Law with a degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1947. He was admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and South Carolina; and

Whereas, in 1949, Judge Fields was the first black person to open a law office in historic Charleston since the early 1900s and the first to ever become a litigator. Also reputed to be the first black elected judicial official in the entire southeast, Judge Fields served as a municipal judge for the City of Charleston, judge of the family court of Charleston County, and judge of the circuit courts of South Carolina. He retired in 1992; and

Whereas, active politically, Judge Fields helped form the Charleston County Political Action Committee for the purpose of organizing black voters and electing black politicians. Judge Fields was also elected a delegate to two Democratic National Conventions; and

Whereas, a leader in his community, Judge Fields cofounded the Liberty National Bank and established the Richard E. Fields Charitable and Educational Fund through the Coastal Community Foundation. He also served on numerous boards and committees, including the Charleston County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Bon Secours-St. Francis Hospital Board, the Charleston County United Way Board of Directors, the Florence Crittenden Home Board of Directors, the Committee to Establish the Charleston School of Law, the Charleston School of Law's Advisory Committee, the Liberty National Bank Board of Directors, the Claflin College Board of Trustees, and the Claflin College Board of Trustees Executive Committee; and

Whereas, Judge Fields has received many honors and awards, including the first Commitment to Justice Award by the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, the first Honorable Richard E. Fields Civility Award, the Keeper of the Flame Award by Voorhees College, the Harvey Gantt Triumph Award, the James Louis Petigru Award by the Charleston County Bar Association, and West Virginia State University 2009 Alumnus of the Year. A number of scholarships have been established in his name, and his portrait hangs in buildings across Charleston and the State; and

Whereas, Judge Fields is a member and treasurer of Centenary United Methodist Church and has served on the church's General Board of Finance and Administration and its executive committee. He was the church's delegate to the South Carolina Annual Conference, a delegate to five jurisdictional and general conferences of the United Methodist Church, and a member of three World Methodist Conferences. When the white and black conferences merged, he was a member of the Merger Committee in South Carolina and chairman of the Merged Council on Ministries; and

Whereas, he married the late Myrtle T. Evans in 1951. They had two children, Mary Diane Fields-Reed and Richard E. Fields, Jr.; and

Whereas, the members of the South Carolina Senate are grateful for the dedication and commitment that Judge Fields has shown in serving the State and the people of South Carolina. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Senate:

That the members of the South Carolina Senate, by this resolution, honor and recognize Judge Richard E. Fields for his lifetime of service and enduring contributions to the State of South Carolina.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Judge Richard E. Fields.


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