In 1965 Mrs. Irene Williams, a home economics and family living teacher at Manchester High School, sued Sumter County School District 2. Despite a stellar record, the district refused to tell her why her contract was not renewed.
NAACP attorneys Ernest A. Finney Jr. of Sumter and Matthew J. Perry Jr. of Columbia represented her. They charged the district for their refusal to renew Irene's teaching contract because she participated in civil rights demonstrations.
In June of 1966, U.S. District Judge Robert Hemphill ruled in her favor. The judge asked the school district to re-instate her and to work out an appropriate settlement with Mrs. Williams. She was able to continue her teaching career until she retired.