In 2001 Delilah W. Pierce was included in Daniel J. Frye’s African American Visual Artists: An Annotated Bibliography of Educational Resource Materials.
Prior to 1970 African American’s and their works were not catalogued in the Library of Congress, unless it was fiction. Dorothy B. Porter, bibliographer and curator, “who built the Moorland-Spingam Research Center at Howard University…and the first African American to graduate from Columbia University’s library school,” took on such a task. In 1970 Ms. Porter included Delilah W. Pierce and her husband Joe Pierce, one of the first African American graduates at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and the first Broker/CPA/Partner at John R. Pinkett insurance company, in The Negro in the United States, Library of Congress. You can also see: The Negro in the United States.
In 1996 Delilah W. Pierce’s art was featured in Bearing Witness: Contemporary words by African American women artists. The book was published by Spelman College and Rizzoli International Publications. Jontyle Theresa Robinson and Maya Angelou are the authors.
Delilah W. Pierce’s husband, Joseph L. Pierce, was a man of distinction, integrity, and high pursuits during a very complex time in American history. Mr. Pierce’s career began in 1929 at the National Benefit Life Company in Philadelphia after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He was one of the first African American’s to be included in The Negro in the United States, a non-fiction archive of African American’s who made an impact on society. He earned many distinctions throughout his life. However, he will forever be known as one of the first African American’s to graduate from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and a Broker/CPA/Partner at the John R. Pinkett Insurance Company in Washington, DC. According to research compiled by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, Pinkett Insurance was, “the first insurance and real estate firm in Washington, DC that was fully owned and operated by an African-American.” He worked hard throughout his career to overcome many challenges to become the Broker/CPA/Partner, which was a first of any firm in the United States.
Click to read: We Are Proud Of This Man
Related Link: Wanda Spence, Actress
Delilah W. Pierce attended the 1962 sorority luncheon celebrating founders’ day. Members from 5 cities were in attendance.
About Phi Delta Kappa
Dr. Gladys Merrit Ross, Julia Asbury Barnes, Dr. Florence Steele Hunt, Dr. Gladys Cannon Nunery, Ella Wells Butler, Mildred Morris Williams, Edna McConnell and Marguerite Gross
It was Palm Sunday, April 23, 1923, that Miss Gladys Merritt discussed the possibilities of organizing a sorority in Jersey City. Only one of the eight attending the organizational meeting decided to decline. Friday came and they voted in favor of a permanent organization which was incorporated by a Newark attorney, J. Mercer Burrell. Dr. G.E. Cannon, Mr. J.L. Merritt, Mrs. Lottie Cooper, and Mrs. Estelle Morris became their trustees.
The date of incorporation was May 23, 1923 which has become our Founders’ Day. The Sorority spread from the East to the South, Midwest, Southwest, Far West, to Liberia in West Africa, and Barbados, West Indies.
Click to learn more: Phi Delta Kappas Of Five Cities At Ritual.
In 1962 Phi Delta Kappa’s Founders’ Day theme was: A New Look at Old Frontiers. Lula Jones Garrett, a popular African American columnist and female rights activist wrote:
Founder’s Day under a program theme of “A New Look at Old Frontiers,” Saturday, had also taken a good gander at new fashions.
The schoolmarms, coming from Washington and Annapolis, and joining chapter members here, looked much like a gathering of models.
February 11, 1979 Delilah W. Pierce was invited to exhibit at Georgetown University. One of the co-exhibitors was Elaine Johnson, most known for being a curator at The Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) Department of Circulating Exhibitions and an advocate for Latin American Art who was interested in researching its impact on the American art community, as well as America as a whole. According to MOMA’s archives:
[Elaine Johnson] directed or co-directed twenty exhibitions of graphic art for the Museum, devoted to many styles and periods, including: Orozco: Studies for the Murals at Dartmouth College (MoMA Exh, #698, Nov. 22, 1961-Jan.21, 1962); Prints by German Expressionists (C/E II.2/128(13), 1961-1963); Modern American Drawings (ICE-F-44-60, 1961-1962); The Responsive Eye: Prints (“op” art) (MoMA Exh, #757, Feb. 25-Apr. 25, 1965; C/E II.3.4 (48), 1966-1969); and Dada, surrealism, and Today (C/E II.2/141(7), 1967-1969).
Additionally, according to the METRO-MoMA Survey of Archives of Latino Art, “Ms. Johnson was an avid supporter of Latin American art [who] decided to assemble all those materials…in what they called the Latin American Archive at the Library, in order to facilitate access to them.”
Learn more by clicking the following:
- Baltimore Afro-American Reporting on Delilah W. Pierce’s Georgetown University Exhibition
- Elaine Johnson Papers in MoMA Archives
- Elaine Johnson Papers in Museum of Modern Art Archives
- Elaine Johnson To Head Jury of Tercera Bienal Americana De Grabado in Santiago, Chile
- Survey of Archives of Latino and Latin American Art
- METRO-MoMA Survey of Archives of Latino Art
- Internationally Circulating Exhibitions
Hidden Masters: Artists Rising Above Anonymity
Featuring: Delilah Pierce (1904-1992)
The “Hidden Masters: Artists Rising Above Anonymity” series
explores the artwork and examines the lives of artists whose careers
were eclipsed by their contemporaries. This series will bring these
artists to the forefront and pays homage to their creative genius.
Delilah Pierce, a prolific painter, captured the essence of her
subjects with elegance and force. A 40 year survey offers a
trajectory of her work and places her in context with her peers
Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones and Alma Thomas.
October 15th – February 11, 2012
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Time: 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Accompanied by the “Tea with Myrtis”
lecture series. Click to see archived videos.