A native of Sumter, SC, Donald J. Sampson practiced law in Greenville and his sisters, Irene S. Williams and twin, Dorothy remained in Sumter. Both he and Dorothy were civil rights lawyers and represented outstanding firsts. When he began practicing in 1951 he became the first black lawyer in Greenville. His sister was the first black woman lawyer in Sumter County.
Donald Sampson was a person committed to insuring equality for all. He championed those who had less power and resources, which made him an ideal counselor for petitioners seeking full citizenship in America. He represented a number of court cases that helped to end racial segregation in public libraries, in public schools and in public accommodations. In May 2000 the state of South Carolina awarded him The Order of the Palmetto for his lifetime of achievement and service.