Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Pierce Freelon

Pierce Freelon is a musician, director and Durham City Council Member. 

Pierce is the founder of Blackspace, an Afrofuturism digital maker space for teens in Durham. He is the writer, composer and co-director of the PBS animated series, The History of White People in America. He is a co-founder of Beat Making Lab, a PBS web-series, which won Best Video Essay for its episode Heartbeats of Fiji at the 2015 Daytime Emmy Awards. His latest project is a children’s music album, titled D.a.D, which has been featured on NPR and Today Show. 

Pierce earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught in the Departments of Music, Political Science, and African American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Freelon ran for Mayor of Durham in 2017, and was appointed to serve on Durham City Council in 2020. Pierce is the son of 6-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the late architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Phil Freelon. 

Pierce lives in Durham with his wife of 12 years and their two children.