October 5th, 2023

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 student 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. At present, we have collected approximately $10,800 toward this goal, which we hope to increase markedly before the year is out. As such, we humbly ask for your support. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies are 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 the Joint Senate President at jspresident@diphi.org.

We thank you for the support in this endeavor.