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Wednesday, December 4 | 7pm
NorthStar Church of the Arts, Durham

In 1988, Lumbee Indian and attorney Julian Pierce was vying to become Superior Court Judge of Robeson County. Were he to win, he would become the first minority person to occupy the judge’s bench in this distinct minority-majority rural county. Pierce won the seat by over 2000 votes, but he was assassinated during his campaign. 

Led by his daughter Julia, also an attorney, Pierce’s family has been advocating for an investigation into the events leading to his death for thirty years. Scholar and activist Mab Segrest, a contemporary of Pierce, has been a strong ally in that campaign. Her landmark book, Memoir of a Race Traitor, narrates her work in social justice movements in Robeson County and elsewhere in the South.

Join us for a conversation between Julia Pierce, Mab Segrest and documentary filmmaker Nicole Lucas Haimes as they mark the 25th anniversary edition of Memoir of a Race Traitor and consider the legacy of Julian Pierce’s life and death. Moderated by Lumbee historian and UNC Center for the Study of the American South Director, Malinda Maynor Lowery, we’ll use this event to lay the groundwork for citizens of all backgrounds to raise our expectations of the systems that promote justice in our society.

Admission is free, but space is limited. Please reserve your seat here. 


UNC Press: The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle by Malinda Maynor Lowery
News and Observer, 2018: 28 years later, a question resurfaces: Who killed Julian Pierce?
Mel Magazine, 2017: Who Killed Julian Pierce? by Nicole Lucas Haims
New York Times, 1988: Indian Held in Candidate’s Death, Sheriff Rules out Political Motive


Julia Pierce, daughter of the late Julian Pierce, grew up in Robeson County, North Carolina, with her Lumbee tribe. She attended college at Virginia Commonwealth University and law school at the University of Virginia.  While attending law school she served as the President of the Native American Student Union.  After graduating law school in 1998, she moved to Rockville, MD to join the Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service Branch of the Office of the General Counsel.The Indian Health Service, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to the 573 American Indians and Alaska Native federally recognized tribes. In 2010, Ms. Pierce was the first Native American to become the Deputy Associate General Counsel (Branch Chief) for the Indian Health Service Branch of the Office of the General Counsel. The position is a Senior Executive Service position, making her the first member of the Lumbee tribe to join the Senior Executive Service of federal government. In 2018, Ms. Pierce was awarded the Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement at the third annual Shaping Justice Conference held at the University of Virginia School of Law for her work.

Mab Segrest was born in 1949 in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Tuskegee , Alabama during the civil rights movement. Her early experience in this apartheid culture shaped her future work as a public intellectual, organizer and scholar. Segrest’s “coming out” as a lesbian into a dynamic, multiracial feminist movement also shaped her life and work. My Mama’s Dead Squirrel: Lesbian Essays on Southern Culture (Firebrand, 1984) located lesbian and queer work in the southern literary canon and in movements for social justice. Memoir of a Race Traitor (South End, 1994) reflected on her white Alabama childhood and her work in the 1980s countering Klan and neo-Nazi movements in North Carolina. It rapidly became a landmark work of white anti-racist activism. It was the Editor’s Choice for the Lambda Literary Awards, was named Outstanding Book on Human Rights in North America by the Gustavus Myers Center on Human Rights, and was nominee for Non-Fiction Book of the Year by the Southern Regional Council. The New Press is publishing a 25th Anniversary edition in September 2019. In addition to organizing against Klan and neo-Nazi movements, Segrest worked for the World Council of Churches helping to map transformative justice movements across the globe, taught ESL in Haitian migrant camps, and taught in both men’s and women’s prisons. Segrest earned a PhD from Duke University in 1979. She chaired the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Connecticut College from 2002-2014 and is now Fuller-Maathai Professor Emeritus. She lives in Durham, NC and is finishing Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum to be out by the New Press in February 2020.

Nicole Lucas Haimes is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, director and executive producer known for her humorous, heartfelt and visually evocative storytelling. Projects include: The Good, The Bad, The Hungry, a feature documentary for ESPN Films 30 For 30, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2019; the Emmy-nominated Cracking the Code; PopSugar’s Conquered, a 6-part documentary series; and the theatrically released feature documentary, Chicken People, a New York Times Critics pick, it premiered at SXSW 2016 and was distributed internationally. Her television credits include  ABC News, CBS, PBS, FOX, A&E and Universal Television. 

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