Born at Maddens Station, South Carolina, Culbertson was the sixth of 14 children. A Greenville defense attorney he was an advocate for the needs of all people, regardless of race, or the ability to pay large sums of money for legal defense. He worked with the NAACP,advocating equity for all, causing him to be despised by many. He was also the lead attorney for African-Americans who successfully sued Jasper County to have the right to sit on juries.
Culbertson worked with unions and he provided services to disabled veterans at minimal cost. In approximately 1950, he hired one of the first female lawyers in the upstate and hired an African American secretary in the early 1960s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.