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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Historic photo of Legare college, the law school's second home

    Law classes were held on the second floor of Legare College from 1891-1919.

The Late 19th Century

From 1873 to 1877, South Carolina College was the only southern state university to admit and grant degrees to African-American students. Eleven African Americans are known to have graduated with law degrees between 1874 and 1877. The first was Walter Raleigh Jones. Another, Richard T. Greener, was also the first African American faculty member at the university. 

In 1877, South Carolina College closed, reopening in 1880 as a segregated school. It would remain so until 1964.

The School of Law’s future steadied in 1884 with the appointment of Col. Joseph Daniel Pope to the professorship of law.  Pope had read law under James L. Petigru and from 1884 to 1900, he taught the entire law curriculum.

Under his influence, the School of Law was recognized in 1891 as a separate department, and was moved from the library to the first floor of Legare College.   

During this period, admission standards for the law school were almost identical to those for incoming freshmen, the only difference being the age requirement. Law school applicants had to be at least 19 years old, while college freshmen could enroll as young as 15. 

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