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Lemoine DeLeaver Pierce papers

 Collection — Box: 1-64
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0082

Scope and contents

This collection of personal papers provides insight about Lemoine A. DeLeaver Pierce, Professor of Legal Studies and cultural historian. Pierce is a teacher whose commitment to life long learning stems from a continuing need to supplement her formal education, and a long standing family commitment to education. Professor Pierce has taught at: Kennesaw State University, the Keller Graduate School of Management, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. The collection is rich in family history and documents Pierce's professional career and multidisciplinary interests in law, world cultures and art history. Additionally, the papers provide insight into Lemoine Pierce as a researcher, critical thinker, and author.

Professor Pierce has expertise in business, constitutional and family law and in ADR/alternative dispute resolution (the out of court settlement of conflicts through negotiation, mediation or arbitration). A pioneer and trainer in the early development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs at the national and local level in the United States, she is co-author of the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (published jointly by the American Arbitration Association, American Bar Association, and Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution in 1995). She founded and was director of the School for Dispute Resolution in Atlanta from 1993-1999, is founding director and past president of the Family Mediation Association of Georgia (FMAG), and holds lifetime memberships in leading organizations in the field. Her papers include copies of The Exchange, the newsletter of FMAG which she edited, and writings in leading ADR journals, course syllabi and other documentation of her affiliations and contributions to the field. Included is her research paper "The Significance of Silence in the Resolution of Disputes: Western and Non-Western Cultures," published by the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Georgia State University College of Law in 1994.

Also of interest are Pierce's cultural history publications, research materials and illustrations. Her biographical essay on Harlem Renaissance artist Charles Henry Alston (1907-1977) was published in 2004 as the cover story of Hampton University Museum of Fine Art's International Review of African American Art. Her monograph George Washington Carver: Scientist, Artist and Musician (published in 2006 by the Balch Library of History and Genealogy in Leesburg, Vir.) is distributed by the National Park Service at its Carver Birthplace Monument and Tuskegee Carver Museum sites. While attending Rutgers University Law School (1976-1980), she did an independent research project on Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. under the supervision of Professor Arthur Kinoy (Professor Kinoy successfully represented Powell before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969 when the House of Representatives refused to seat him). This paper and research materials for Assassination of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. are included in Pierce's collection. Her subsequent monograph on the Congressman, A Research Guide to the Life & Legislative Achievements of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (published in 2004 by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History) contains a preface written by his son, Adam Clayton Powell, III. Her publication Billy Pierce, Dance Master-Son of Purcellville (also published by the Balch Library of Geneology and History) has been included in the libraries of the Purcellville Public Schools. Billy Pierce (Pierce's father-in-law) was a journalist and Black dance impresario in New York in the 1920's. He reported on the Harlem Renaissance for the Chicago Defender, and owned the world's largest stage dance studio that catered to a Broadway musical comedy celebrity clientele.

Also of note among her papers are art history research files and illustrations compiled from her trips to Egypt and to Spain which resulted in her presentation on "European Worship of Afrikan Madonnas: From Isis to Aunt Jemima" which was presented to community and university audiences through the U.S for several years. The text of the presentation is in the collection as well as slides, posters, photographs and other depictions of images of “Black Madonna” that have been created throughout the world.

There is also extensive material related to Pierce's family and origins. The collection includes Flossie DeLeaver's 1931 Dunbar High School diploma, as well as Pierce's eldest aunt's (Nannie Eldean White) Master's degree from Columbia University, and extensive family correspondence, news articles, certificates, obituaries and photographs from her maternal relatives, as well as extensive genealogical material related to her paternal grandfather, John DeLeaver, Sr.. Also included are photographs of her Uncle and Aunt Claude and Dorothy Gibrilla's diplomatic activities, and personal correspondence from Dorothy Girbrilla.

Other materials reflect Pierce's student and professional life. Several of her graduate art history research papers are included, as well as photographs, news articles and notes from study abroad trips. The papers also contain news articles, correspondence, campus memos, interviews and writings that document the B.O.S.S presence on Columbia University's campus, including information on B.O.S.S. reunions. There is also correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia of Barnard’s Black students, including an autographed copy of Ntozake Shange's first published book of poetry, Phat Mama.

There are also items that document Pierce's work in dispute resolution and as a teacher. There is a copy of the City of Jacksonville Disparity Study that was issued in 1990 for D.J. Miller & Associates. And the papers include student evaluations and letters, as well as syllabi, examinations, and bibliographies from Pierce's courses and guest lectures at multiple Georgia institutions of higher learning.


  • Creation: 1928-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1951 - 2002


Rights Statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Biographical note

Biographical Timeline

Lemoine Alease DeLeaver born in Harlem Hospital (New York, N.Y.), to John Abner and Flossie Alice DeLeaver
Graduated from Lincoln Park Honor School of the High School of Commerce
Married William Joseph Pierce (1928-1993)
Son, William Joseph "Billy" Pierce III, born
Graduated with honors from Brooklyn College (New York, N.Y.), B.S. in Education
Worked as a teacher and guidance counselor at PS 175 in Harlem, New York
Daughter, Leslie Nona Pierce, born
Graduated from Hunter College (New York, N.Y.), M.Ed in Educational Counseling
Guidance counselor, Hunter College High School for the Gifted
Married Eugene Callender
Assistant to the Dean of Faculty, Barnard College, Columbia University (New York, N.Y.)
Guidance counselor, New York City Board of Education
English instructor, Berlitz School of Languages (New York, N.Y.)
Graduated, Rutgers University School of Law (Newark, N.J.), Juris Doctor
Director, Berlitz School of Languages (Baltimore, Md.)
Toured Egypt with Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan
District Director, Berlitz School of Languages (Boston, Mass.)
Received Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management, Harvard University (Boston, Mass.)
Senior Associate, D.J. Miller & Associates (Atlanta, Ga.)
Commercial Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association (Atlanta, Ga)
Director, School of Dispute Resolution (Atlanta, Ga.)
Delegate, People's Republic of China, People-To-People Organization
Associate Professor of Legal Studies, Morris Brown College (Atlanta, Ga.)
Arbitrator, National Association of Securities Dealers
Delegate, South Africa, People-To-People Organization
Studied Art History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Instructor of Business Law and Labor Relations, Keller Graduate School of Management
Attended the Graduate School of Art and Design, Georgia State University, in Art History
Instructor, Mack J. Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University (Atlanta, Ga.)
Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.)
Delegate, Cuba, People-To-People Organization
Study Abroad Program, University of Havana (Cuba), co-sponsored by Georgia State University

Lemoine Alease DeLeaver Pierce was born on September 2, 1934, the eldest of three children of John Abner DeLeaver of White Stone, Virginia and Flossie Alice White of Kilmarnock, Virginia. Pierce spent a great deal of time with her maternal grandparents, Alice Roberta and Luther Doggett White on their 48 acre Kilmarnock farm in Lancaster County, Virginia. Her grandparents, denied a formal education, ensured that their children had this opportunity. At a time when the Virginia public school system limited African-American children to a sixth grade education, the White’s sent their 6 children out of state to attend Dunbar High School (also known as the M Street School) in Washington, D.C., one of the few black high schools in the country.

Pierce grew up in Harlem. The DeLeaver family was among the first to live in the Harlem River Houses in upper Manhattan, one of the first public housing projects in the nation. They attended Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Pierce sang in the choir. At age 9, she was baptized by the pastor, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who was later elected to represent the Harlem community in the United States Congress.

Pierce attended P.S. 46 in Manhattan, Edward W. Stitt Junior High School 164, and the Lincoln Park Honor School of the High School of Commerce in New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College and Hunter College in New York with a B.A. and M.S. degrees in Education in 1955 and 1963, respectively. She went on to earn a Juris Doctorate degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark in 1980. She received a post graduate certificate in management and administration from Harvard University in 1988. A lifelong learner, Pierce studied Asian and Hispanic art history at the graduate school of Georgia State University, and African art at Emory University and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Pierce's educational pursuits extend beyond the formal classroom, particularly her studies in African world history. Early exposure to Africa was provided when as a child her paternal aunt, Dorothy DeLeaver Gibrilla, who was from the small town of White Stone, Virginia, married Claudius Adelejou Gibrilla of Sierra Leone, West Africa in 1937. When his country declared independence from Britain, Claude Gibrilla was named Consul General for New York. Pierce developed an appreciation of African-Americans relationship to Africa through her frequent interactions with the Gibrillas. Mrs. Gibrilla gave Pierce the Yoruba name Modupe, meaning “I give thanks to God for watching over me.”

Pierce furthered her education in African world history in Harlem while working at the Liberation Bookstore, owned by Una Mulzac, daughter of the captain of Marcus Garvey's ship, The Black Star Line. This bookstore was the primary source for books that were included the curriculum for the newly formed Black Studies departments in colleges across the country. Pierce read these books while filling the purchase orders that were received. She also benefited from the tutelage of Harlem based historian John Henrik Clarke and Egyptologist Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan. In 1977 the First World Alliance (a Harlem study group that she belonged to) began a weekly lecture series on African world history, where Clarke and ben Jochannan regularly lectured. In 1983 Pierce traveled with Dr. ben Jochannan on a study tour of Egypt. In 1992 he wrote the introduction to her book, Selected Bibliography of African World History. From 1993-2002 she participated in a series of study abroad professional exchange programs that took her to China, post-apartheid South Africa, and the Republic of Cuba; where she studied non-Western systems of conflict resolution.

Influenced by family role models, Pierce began her professional career in 1955 as an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor in Harlem public schools. In 1965, upon completing her master’s degree in educational counseling, she was recruited by Hunter College High School for the Gifted to assist them in the integration of larger numbers of black students into that exclusive institution. In 1968 she resigned her position at Hunter to accept a position of Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty at Barnard College, the elite women’s college at Columbia University in New York. Pressured by the civil rights movement, Barnard was faced with the need to enroll a more diverse student body at this Ivy League institution. To assist them with this campus-wide transition, Pierce became the first Black administrator at the College. During her 3 year tenure she negotiated a landmark, peer enforced drug-free policy for Black students at this institution. Black women enrolled at Barnard organized under the name of Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (B.O.S.S.) and became the first organized group of black students at a “Seven Sisters” Ivy League college. B.O.S.S. urged the college to develop a more culturally inclusive curriculum. Pierce coordinated supportive services for these women, and for faculty, and carefully documented the evolution of B.O.S.S, developing lasting friendships with many of the students. Among the many talented women attending Barnard at the time were author Thulani Davis and acclaimed playwright Ntozake Shange (Paulette Williams).

After her resignation from Barnard in 1971, Pierce renewed her guidance counselor license and returned briefly to the Harlem public schools. In 1976, she began what would become a long term association with the Berlitz School of Languages, the world’s premier provider of foreign language services. Pierce began as an instructor at the Berlitz Center located near the United Nations headquarters on New York’s east side; where she gave private English lessons to foreign executives. In 1981 she was recruited as a Berlitz management trainee and was assigned to manage Berlitz operations in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1984 she was promoted to District Director of the New England Region (based in Boston) where she was responsible for sales, operations, human resources and the management of a Fortune 500 corporate client portfolio for Berlitz in four states.

In 1990, Lemoine Pierce was recruited as a Senior Associate by D.J. Miller & Associates (DJMA) a management consulting firm, and relocated to Atlanta. The principals in this firm (including Clara Axam, a former student leader of B.O.S.S at Barnard College) had all been part of Atlanta Mayor’s Maynard Jackson’s staff in 1973 when he launched his Minority Business Enterprise (MBWE) program. MBWE required that all contractors doing business with the City of Atlanta in the future would have to demonstrate that a percentage of the work would be done by teams that included women and minority contractors. This affirmative action municipal government contracting program (the first in United States history) became the model throughout the country. However, in 1989, the program was successfully challenged and deemed unconstitutional in a United States Supreme Court case, Croson v. City of Richmond. Cities throughout the nation were subsequently required to conduct disparity studies to provide proof of past societal discrimination in the construction industry that would justify the need for MBWE programs. Because of this experience with Maynard Jackson, DJMA was the national expert on the design and implementation of disparity studies. Pierce was assigned to research and write portions of several of the firm’s disparity studies.

Following upon her work at DJMA, and her involvement with the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs in Georgia and throughout the United States, Pierce was recruited as an instructor by Morris Brown College. In 1996 she became as full-time professor in their newly formed Legal Studies program, the first such degree granting program for undergraduates at an historically black college. She was tenured as an Associate Professor of Legal Studies, was highly regarded by her students, and listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She died on October 5, 2013.


21 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The Lemoine DeLeaver Pierce papers are arranged into eleven series: Personal papers, Writings by Lemoine Pierce; Correspondence; Family papers; Institutions and schools; Organizations; Research materials; Studies abroad; Photographs and slides; Audio-visual materials; and Artifacts and oversized materials.


Photographs and audio-visual materials have been separated to appropriate housing. Books used in the course of Pierce's research have been cataloged and included in the special collections of the Archives Research Center. They can be accessed using the Woodruff Library's online catalog, WOODI.

Lemoine DeLeaver Pierce papers,1928-2007
Finding aid prepared by Antoine James, Andrea Jackson and Courtney Chartier.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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