PEMBROKE - The newly-formed Julian Pierce Law Scholarship Steering Committee of Robeson County and the North Carolina Central University School of Law of Durham joined forces to host a fund-raiser in honor of the late Julian Pierce on Thursday at the Porter Plaza in Pembroke. The net proceeds from the Julian Pierce Endowment Gala will be deposited in the Julian Pierce Law Scholarship Endowment held at NCCU School of Law.
Julian Pierce, a Lumbee Indian, was born in Moore County. He had 12 brothers and sisters and was the child of tenant farmers. The first person in his family to graduate from college at Pembroke State University, now known as University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pierce obtained a position as a chemist with Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Va.
After a few years of working as a chemist, Pierce decided to pursue a law degree and was accepted into law school at NCCU. A graduate with honors of the NCCU law school class of 1976, Pierce obtained a position with the United States Security and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. While there, Pierce earned a masters of law in taxation. Two years after working with the SEC, Pierce was asked to return to North Carolina to become the first director of the Lumbee River Legal Services, a poverty law office in Pembroke.
Pierce readily accepted and served as the director for 10 years.
In 1988, Pierce ran for a newly created superior court judgeship in Robeson County. Tragically, prior to the primary election, Pierce was murdered, his body having been found shot in his home. Although his primary campaign opponent Joe Freeman Britt was automatically declared the winner in the primary, a count of the votes indicated that Pierce had won posthumously.
Pierce is known throughout the local community to have used his law degree to advocate for community services from health care to recognition and preservation of Lumbee tribe. He is remembered as an individual who was "for the people."
Twiggs, Abrams, Strickland & Trehy, P.A. of Raleigh (now known as Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A.) established the Julian Pierce Scholarship Endowment in 1999 to honor the legacy of service for which Pierce stood. The Pierce Endowment was created with a donation of $25,000, and since then has risen to nearly $50,000.
Members of the Pierce Law Scholarship Steering Committee began planning this scholarship fund-raiser in August of this year. The steering committee aimed to increase the endowment to ensure that the NCCU School of Law is able to award scholarships annually to talented and deserving law school students.
During the fall 2003-2004 academic year, NCCU School of Law awarded the first Julian Pierce Scholarship to Joshua Malcolm, a third-year law student from Pembroke. Malcolm is the son of J.T. and Vera Malcolm of Pembroke. Prior to coming to law school, Malcolm graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a bachelor of arts degree. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for seven years in active duty as an aviator.
Malcolm is married to Meloria Revels Malcolm and has two children: Forrest, 7; and Alaina, 4.
"It is truly an honor to be the first recipient of this scholarship." Malcom said. "I sincerely appreciate receiving the financial assistance. However, I must confess that going back and reading and talking with others about the accomplishments of Mr. Pierce has been the biggest reward, it has again reminded me of what it means to be committed to your community."
For information on the Julian Pierce Law Scholarship Endowment at NCCU School of Law, contact the Office of Development Affairs, 1512 S. Alston Ave., Durham, N.C. 27707 or (919) 530-7450.