Dinner, auction to raise funds for Julian T. Pierce scholarships


The annual Julian T. Pierce Memorial Art Dinner and Auction will be held Wednesday, July 2, at 6 p.m. in the University Center Annex on the campus of UNC Pembroke.

Jessica Clark

Jessica Clark

Artist Jessica Clark has created an original work of art, which will be unveiled and be auctioned along with 100 limited edition prints. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table of eight and may be purchased at one of five locations: Two Hawk Employment Service, Robeson Community College Foundation office, UNCP’s Native American Resource Center in Old Main, the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce, or the Legal Aid Office in Pembroke.

The proceeds go to the Julian T. Pierce Memorial Scholarships at UNCP, RCC and North Carolina Central University School of Law and a permanent memorial at the Pembroke office of the N.C. Legal Aid. The inaugural event in 2013 was attended by more than 300.

“In its first year, the 2013 fundraiser was successful in raising $55,000,” according to Wendy Lowery, UNCP’s vice chancellor for Advancement. “The planning committee worked extremely hard to ensure that the entire community embraced the inaugural event and we were pleasantly surprised that we were able to raise such a significant amount the first time around. As you can imagine, we’re hoping to continue that path of success on an annual basis.”

This fundraiser is an integral part of the needed relationship between UNCP and RCC, according to Rebekah Lowry, RCC’s Foundation director. “As a member of the planning committee, I have learned about the legacy of Julian Pierce, and I feel we are honoring his legacy through our collaboration because in many ways that is what he fought for - a common ground on which everyone could stand. We are excited about the second annual event and look forward to continued success for many years to come.”

Speaker for the event will be UNCP’s University Counsel Joshua Malcolm, who was a recipient of the Pierce scholarship while studying law at NCCU.

Pierce Mugs

Julian T. Pierce

Julian Pierce was an attorney and civil rights activist in Robeson County. He was founding director of the Lumbee River Legal Services, a poverty law office in Pembroke. In 1988, Pierce was murdered while running for election to the Superior Court. He was 42.

In the aftermath of Pierce’s death, friends, like local businessman Harvey Godwin, established the scholarships to honor his memory. In March, the Legal Aid of North Carolina named its Raleigh headquarters for Pierce.

The Art Dinner and Auction is held during Lumbee Homecoming, and art collectors are in for a treat because Jessica Clark is one of the region’s finest artists and art scholars. A 2005 UNCP graduate, Clark earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010.

Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. She helped organize the River People Music and Culture Festival, an annual festival of Native American art and culture on the campus of UNCP. She has donated art for fundraisers of the Communities in Schools, Indian Health and Exploration Station children’s museum in Lumberton.

Clark has presented in several conferences including the Southeast Indian Studies Conference at UNCP. At the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association national conference, she presented on "Southeastern Native Peoples Living in a Postmodern World," and shared her paintings and photographs of her family and the Lumbee homeland in her talk about using art to challenge stereotypes of her people.