Thank you to everyone who donated in the spring of 2024! We hosted Professor Gene Nichol for a lecture, all proceeds of which went to the Walker portrait. We also received a range of other generous contributions from members of the Carolina community. In total, we raised over $3,400 this semester, bringing us closer to our goal. Stay tuned for ways to support the Walker fund this fall!


The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies maintain the largest privately-owned portrait collection in the Southeastern United States. It features depictions of our most prominent alumni, including Thomas Wolfe, Frank P. Graham, and Thomas Sully’s James K. Polk. Unfortunately, our collection has long fallen short in representing some of our University’s most admirable aspects: its diversity, and the long fight for equality countless have waged throughout its existence. 

Advertisement for the James Walker Jr. portrait fund.

We are now fundraising for a portrait of James Walker, Jr. An influential civil rights advocate in North Carolina, Walker was one of the first five Black students at UNC and the first Black member of either society, joining in 1952. He was instrumental in the battle for desegregation on campus, which included everything from organizing protests against segregated sports seating to directly lobbying then-Chancellor Robert House. Walker also promoted civil rights professionally after earning his law degree. He argued for voting rights before the US Supreme Court and served as counsel on another case concerning school segregation. His portrait would be the first addition to our collection in almost a half-century.

You can learn more about Walker here.

The portrait would hang in the Dialectic Chamber in New West Hall, where it would be on public display weekly. We are hoping to raise $30,000 to cover the cost of a high-quality depiction in the style of our collection by the end of 2024. At present, we have collected approximately $15,000 toward this goal. As such, we humbly ask for your support. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations to this project are tax-deductible. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and further the promise of “virtue, liberty, and knowledge” at our school.

By making a donation today, you will help us celebrate our University’s laudable past and inspire greatness for many decades to come. All donors, regardless of the size of their contributions, will be welcome to attend the portrait’s unveiling ceremony. 

You can make an online donation to the Walker portrait here. You can also mail checks to P.O. Box 795, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Should you wish to set up a meeting to discuss donations or any other facets of this project, please contact President Emeritus Shue at nshue@unc.edu.

We thank you for your support in this endeavor.