Slain Lumbee leader honored in Raliegh

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Kenney, Andrew. “Slain Lumbee leader honored in Raliegh.” Newsobserver [Raleigh, NC] March 20, 2014.


Julian Pierce was an advocate for the poor and, in 1987, the leader of a legal service for the poor, ready to challenge Robeson County’s dominant prosecutor. They both wanted to be judge in an area split between three races but dominated then by a white minority. The murder was pinned on a Lumbee man, John Anderson Goins, 24, who killed himself in a closet while investigators closed in. According to the then Sheriff, Goins had been in a relationship with Pierce’s 16-year-old daughter that was then broken up by Pierce.

Pierce could have been the first Native American elected judge of a superior court in North Carolina, but three shotgun blasts ended his life in 1988. The Martin Street offices of Legal Aid of North Carolina in downtown Raleigh were named in honor of the civil rights leader and lawyer on March 17, 2014.

The Julian T. Pierce Memorial Building and Annex, as it’s now called, is an office for about 100 people who work with everyone from battered immigrants to children and the elderly.

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