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“H” is for Hemphill, Robert Witherspoon, Sr. (1915-1983)

“H” is for Hemphill, Robert Witherspoon, Sr. (1915-1983). Congressman, jurist. A native of Chester, Hemphill graduated from the University of South Carolina and its law school. After service in World War II, he practiced law in his hometown. From 1951 to 1956 he was solicitor of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. In 1956 he was elected to congress. In Congress he formed a friendship with Senator John F. Kennedy. In 1960 Hemphill endorsed Kennedy for the presidency and campaigned for him. In late 1963 Kennedy decided to appoint Hemphill to the U.S. Fourth Judicial Court, but the appointment papers were on his desk when he was assassinated. President Johnson forwarded the nomination to Congress and Hemphill was approved in 1964. In 1981, Judge Robert Witherspoon Hemphill, Sr., took senior status as a federal judge.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.