Raymond Pierce to Address

Social Action & Scholarship Committee

at the Southeastern Regional Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Boule

Raymond Pierce to Address Social Action & Scholarship Committee at the Southeastern Regional Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Boule

Raymond Pierce will be addressing the Social Action and Scholarship committee of the Southeastern Regional Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Boule in Jacksonville, Florida. Pierce will be emphasizing the Southern Education Foundation’s legacy work in advancing equitable educational opportunities and education leadership for African Americans in the southern states. SEF has a historic relationship with the Boule as SEF’s long-time Chairman of the Board and Morehouse President, Benjamin Mays, was a member of the fraternity. Current Chairman of the Board and President of United Way Greater Atlanta, Milton Little, is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi.

Archon Raymond Pierce Heads Southern Education Foundation

As originally printed in The Signal publication of the Southeastern Regional Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity / August 2, 2019

Kappa Boule Archon Raymond Pierce says he feels blessed to be at the helm of the historic Southern Education Foundation. The iconic 151-year-old institution has worked to develop and advance educational opportunities for African Americans since the end of the Civil War. The foundation’s role in the creation of the Jeanes Teachers in the early 1900’s as an army of African American teachers was critical to the development to the education of Black children in the southern states but was also a bedrock for the early years of career professionalism for African Americans. During the Reconstruction Period following the war it was the Southern Education Foundation that, through the election of African American state legislators, pursued taxation laws for the creation of a funded public education system in the southern states. It was the Southern Education Foundation that engaged in the development of African American education leaders through its Fellows Program of which W.E.B Dubois was one of the first participants and it was the sponsor of Dubois’ landmark book, ‘The Souls of Black Folks’. And it was the Southern Education Foundation that housed the team of researchers that produced the empirical research in support of Thurgood Marshall’s argument before the US Supreme Court directed at the dismantling of inequitable laws of separate but equal in public education.

Archon Pierce is well aware of this tremendous history as he leads the Southern Education Foundation into the new era of challenges to education opportunities for African Americans. He is restoring the foundation’s once-vaunted research operation, launching a legislative initiative through a newly created government affairs unit and doubling the size of the historic leadership development operation. The well-endowed foundation is developing a research agenda to inform its policy positions and proposed legislation to address policy issues such as the movement towards privatization of public education funds. Archon Pierce asserts that the pivotal role African Americans played in the creation of publicly funded education in the south should cause them to be the greatest defenders of those funds for the education of Black children. Archon Pierce has also resurrected the foundation’s historic workforce development efforts with a focus on the future of work for African Americans in the rural south.

Archon Pierce is well prepared for his new role as President and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation. He began his career as a civil rights attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas with the John W. Walker Law Firm where he was exposed to major school desegregation cases and large class action employment discrimination matters. Archon Pierce later served in the corporate law department of the Fortune 50 LTV Corporation before joining the administration of President Bill Clinton as Deputy of the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education. Afterwards, Archon Pierce served for seven years as Dean of the School of Law at North Carolina Central University. Archon Pierce has been a partner at the law firms of Baker Hostetler and Nelson Mullins. Having recently received a Masters Degree from the Divinity School at Duke University, Archon Pierce takes a more elevated perspective of his new assignment. “Given the history of the Southern Education Foundation, I feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve in this role. At the same time, I recognize the realities of the continuing challenges Black people face with regard to equity and fairness in educational opportunities. It’s a fight but it’s a good fight.”