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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
P: We are taping an interview with Mr. Danford Dial in his home, in
Pembroke, North Carolina. This is August 1, and this is part of
the Lumbee Indian Oral History Project. Mr. Dial, I would like
to start off and ask you something about your family background.
First of all, would you give us your full name?
D: My name is Danford Dial.
P: No middle name?
D: No middle name.
P: So you had problems in the service, with no middle name?
D: No problem.
P: Where were you born?
D: I was born about four miles west of Pembroke, near Prospect
School, Route 3, Maxton.
P: And when?
D: November 24, 1919.
P: What about your father? Where was he born and raised?
D: My father and I were born in the same home, and he is still
living there today.
P: And how about his father? What I am really trying to establish
is the fact that the Dials are native of this area.
D: The Dials are native of the Prospect community. They have a
large country church, one of the finest churches among the Indian
people and there is a rural school across the road from the
church. My grandfather, James Dial, Sr., was a leader in the
drive to educate the Indians. He took a vast interest in this
project, and he supplied the money to the Reverend L. W. Moore
and Mr. Anderson Locklear to build the first school for the
Indians at Hopes, North Carolina.
D: Yes, this is about a mile and a half southwest of Pembroke State
University. There is a church sitting on the site where the
first Indian school was built. Prior to that time, we had just
small schools that were taught by the preachers and the Sunday
school teachers in various locations where the Indians were
P: Do you have a date for that school, for the establishment of that
D: Old Hope School was established in 1889.
P: Now that is your grandfather's creation?
P: When did the Dials settle in this area?
D: Well, I think the Dials came in with the Spaniards. Dial is
somewhat Spanish descent, from what I have been able to find out.
P: Have you traced the family beyond your grandfather?
P: In this area?
D: Yes. My grandfather, Marcus Dial, lived to be 100 years old, and
he was lost in rainstorm about two miles west of Pembroke.
P: He was born here?
D: Yes, he was born here also.
P: So, your grandfather is Marcus Dial and he was lost about when?
D: On October 24th, 1937.
P: Do you know the circumstances of this disappearance?
D: He was living with a daughter at the time and he was on his way
to visit one of his sons. He got lost in the woods near his
P: Now, it was his father who set up the Indian school?
D: It was his son, Marcus Dial's son, James who helped set up the
first Indian school, public school.
P: Now, I want to get this straight because I think I am a little
mixed up as far as the names are concerned. Your grandfather was
D: My great grandfather.
P: Your great grandfather. We have been calling him grandfather.
That is where we have messed up. It was your great grandfather
who was Marcus Dial.
P: And your grandfather was James Dial, Sr.
D: Yes. And my father's name is Onnie Dial.
P: How did these people make a living?
D: My grandfather ditched and cooked ties for the railroad company.
My grandmother did the plowing on the farm. Back then, my
grandfather would ditch twelve hours a day for seventy-five cents
a day. My grandmother cooked the meals and watched the children
and did the plowing of the crops.
P: Now, on your paternal side, was this pure blood Indian?
D: No, my grandfather, Marcus Dial, there was not any Indian in him,
whatsoever. The Indian came from by grandmother who was Fanny
Dial, a daughter of Simmy Bullard.
P: Simmy Bullard?
D: Yes, she was Fanny Bullard, and Simmy Bullard was, you might say,
the patriarch of the Prospect Community. He owned a cotton gin,
a saw mill, a chain mill and employed several people around him.
Usually about 100 or 125 at a time worked in these different
industries. He, at one time, back in the early 1920's was worth
$50,000 in cash money besides owning all of these different
properties and so forth. He loaned money to the merchants here
to run the stores and to establish businesses.
The thing that we are so proud of, in a way, and makes us feel
very humble too, is that James Dial, Sr., who was my grandfather,
loaned Russell Littlemore $250 to open his store and to go into
business as a young man.
Russell was out on the beach bank cutting bushes one day. My
grandfather recognized that this young man had a lot of business
ability and was capable of doing a good job in the store that his
father had owned and closed because he went broke. He told him
to come off that ditch bank and to get in that store and to open
that store again. This was the only place near where they could
buy their meal, sugar, syrup and other things that they needed.
Mr. Russell Littlemore, who is now manager of Pace Supply, the
big market in Pembroke, told my grandfather, he said, "I do not
have any money, Jim." He called my grandfather Jim for short.
My grandfather asked him how much he needed and Russell told him
that he would need $250 to open the store. He said, "Come on,
let's go." He loaned Russell the $250 to open the store and from
that day up until today, Russell Littlemore took that $250 plus
other loans that he procured from my paternal grandfather, Simmy
Bullard, and made himself a millionaire. So, Russell Littlemore
is one of the millionaires in North Carolina.
P: I hope he paid the loan back.
D: He made all this money here off of the Indian people. I do not
know about how much he paid back. But, I know that one of the
great patriarchs of Prospect Community, that died recently, had
much confidence in this man, Russell Littlemore, and had such a
great friendship. He had no education and he trusted Russell
with everything. He would sell a hundred bales of cotton at one
time for forty-two cents a pound. He would not know how much
that cotton brought, but he would take all the money and carry it
to this man, this merchant, and tell him to take care of it for
him. He would walk out without any receipt or anything
whatsoever. He passed away about eight years ago. His family
began to check up on his business, his money and so forth, and
they found that he was almost penniless. They finally claimed
that Russell Littlemore got the money from him.
P: On your maternal side, that is the Indian part of you, is it not?
D: That is right.
P: Now, you said your grandmother was really the farm lady, because
your grandfather had to go out and work to bring the cash in for
D: Yes, my grandmother worked. She was a typical Indian woman at
work. When you study American Indian history you always find the
women doing the work, with the men out on the hunt to bring the
food in, it seems. My grandmother was this type of a woman and
she did the plowing. She could plow. Any type of plowing or
work on the farm, she did it.
P: Was her family native to this area?
D: Yes. She was probably more than, I would say, three-fourths
P: How about your mother?
D: My mother is three-fourths Indian.
P: What is her name?
D: Mary Jane Clark, and her great grandfather, he was a full-blooded
Scotch Irishman. But her grandmother was a full-blooded Indian.
Her father was about three-fourths Indian too.
P: What did that family do? Your mother's family.
D: They farmed.
P: So, you have farmers on both sides.
P: You come out of this kind of background.
D: Yes, and I was the first one in my family to receive a high
school education, also the first one to receive a college
education. I went on and received a master's degree in
administration from Western University at Cullowhee, North
P: Tell me about your earlier education. Where did you go to
elementary and high school?
D: I attended Prospect School for grades one through eleven. I
began school in 1928. I was eight years old when I began school.
We only had school for six months then. I went to school for
about three years, and then we changed from the six month school
to eight months. Then we went to the nine month school. I
finished seventh grade and I had to take the state examination
before I could get my diploma. I remember well, I scored higher
than anyone in my class. My score was eighty-one on the state
examination then, and there were seventy-eight people in my class
in the seventh grade. When I finished high school there were
seven of us that finished.
P: Was Prospect school an Indian school?
D: It was an Indian school. That is all-Indian, totally Indian up
P: Indian teachers?
D: Indian teachers and Indian students in grades one through twelve.
P: So you did not experience any special kind of discrimination at
all going to school then, did you?
D: No. I was among my own. This is the thing that hurt the
community and hurt us so badly. Prospect community's solidly
Indian and they own their own land and it is a most independent
community among the Lumbee Indians. I guess one of the
wealthiest. In 1969, when there were about four families in the
area, they were tenants of the Smiths up near Wakulla. There was
a soldier that had moved in the area near Philadelphia. It is
about three miles away from Prospect. These people came into the
school, and it brought a feeling, you might say, of unrest. The
people became so excited and everything until they had a mass
gathering at the school to try to prevent this.
P: To prevent the outsiders....
D: Integration. To prevent the outsiders from coming.
P: These were whites now?
D: There were about six whites and twelve Negroes.
P: They were trying to keep it totally Indian?
D: Totally Indian. When I went to Prospect, as principal, I had not
been back since I graduated in 1937. I have been principal there
P: You went back as principal of the school that you had attended as
a young man.
D: Yes. I went back to this school. They had 75 high school
students, nineteen seniors and the rest were juniors, sophomores,
and freshmen. A full enrollment of seventy-five and we had about
four high school teachers including myself. We had about six
hundred elementary students. From 1959 up until 1969, I built
the school from a twenty-one teacher school to a forty-seven
teacher school. A union school, and we had an enrollment of 1250
P: What do you mean by union school?
D: That is grades one through twelve. Then, we secured a teacher
for special education. We also secured a teacher for special
reading. When I first went there, there was not a kid in the
high school or in the first two graduating classes that could
make 450 or better on the College Entrance Examination.
When I left there, I left in August of 1971 because of another
confrontation with the parents and the community. They came out
with hatchets and knives and guns and everything and they asked
the Negro teachers to leave. I had two of them on the staff.
They were going to get on the bus and take the children and run
them off campus. I had been to the superintendent on Saturday,
prior to the opening of school Monday, and I asked him for help.
I told him I needed someone to help me talk to these people and
try to get them to understand.
P: This was resistance, once again, to non-Indian integration.
D: Yes. Non-Indian integration. I was so well liked at the school
and had gotten along so well. We had made so much progress.
This is what someone had told me, but I do not feel like it is
justifiable. But the superintendent felt I could handle the
people myself since I had had the first confrontation and handled
that well. But, there was a vast difference.
In the first confrontation I had teachers, ministers, and Sunday
school people who were disgruntled and displeased and they joined
in. They could reason with the group that was so angry and so
mad over the integration. This helped control the tone of
P: What was the date of the first confrontation?
D: August of 1969.
P: Is this when that family moved in, the soldier family moved in?
P: This is what sparked the whole thing?
D: This is what sparked the whole thing.
P: This was a white family, you said.
D: Right, and a colored family.
P: There were two families that moved in then.
P: Were these military families?
D: No, the colored were tenants.
P: I see. But both families had children?
D: In the community.
P: And they wanted to send these children to Prospect School?
D: That is right.
P: And Prospect school up until 1969 had never had anything but
D: That is correct.
P: So the first confrontation, was sparked by these two families and
their efforts, really, to integrate the school.
D: That is right.
P: Now, how did you handle that situation?
D: Well, I called everyone in the big gymatorium. I sent the small
students to their classrooms. I got all the high school
students, all the parents and all the people there in the
auditorium and I talked with them. I guess we might have had
about 5,000 people in that auditorium that Monday morning. I
talked with them and explained that the federal government had
demanded that we integrate our school here. We were one of the
county schools and it seemed like we had no other choice but to
obey the law. I told them if we would obey the law and keep down
these ugly incidents, like fighting or hurting someone, that
perhaps we could get a hearing in court and pursue the matter and
see what could be done. They listened to my advice.
P: You had the clergy and the community leadership behind you.
D: Yes, that is right.
P: I want to ask you, Mr. Dial, why was there this resistance on the
part of Indians to blacks and whites coming into the school?
D: Well, this community has always been set aside from all the other
Indian communities. They have never taken in outsiders and they
have never been welcome to settle. In fact, there was no place
for them to settle because the community people owned all the
land. They would buy it up as fast as it became available in the
community. They felt like they did not need any blacks or whites
in the school because the Indian community was totally Indian and
they just did not want any outsiders.
P: So, it was anti-outsider.
D: That is right, and they just did not want these outsiders coming
in to their community. Before you leave I would like to show you
this school and this church; so you will get an idea of the pride
that they have. They have been trying to consolidate Prospect
and Pembroke Senior high because of the advantages in
consolidation. This community has fought it so hard until they
are afraid to interfere.
P: How far is Prospect school from Pembroke?
D: About four and a half miles.
P: I thought Pembroke was the center of the Indian population. Now,
I gather that it is Prospect.
D: Well, we say Pembroke is the center of the Indian population
because of the institution, Pembroke State University. The
politicians who are in control of Indian power or Indian identity
and Indian history and so forth are there. The educational and
cultural center, you might say, is at Pembroke. But Prospect is
a center within itself. It has this little'school that it is so
proud of and it's church which makes it a center that is very
P: Is it an incorporated community with a government?
P: So, it operates under the government from Pembroke?
D: Well, it operates just like all the other Indian communities
operate, you know.
P: Like what? Explain that.
D: Well, you see here, our county is divided into townships, and
there is a political leader, a political watchdog in each
P: An elected official?
D: An elected official. If he is not an elected official, he is a
very active participator in the Democratic Party. This is what
has caused all the trouble since 1835. The Republicans were
trying to make a strong stand here in Robeson County. I think
Mr. Evans brings this out very clearly in his book. The Klan
comes in here and they fight and they put on a show. The Klan
did more damage during the reign of Henry Barry, than Henry Barry
did himself, but, put the blame on Henry Barry Lowry. So, there
is a political watchdog in each Indian community.
P: And that is true today as it was in the nineteenth century?
D: That is true today, yes. If this Indian watchdog backs the right
person in the Democratic Party, that community fairs well and
P: Now, would this Indian watchdog be an Indian?
P: A respected person as far as the community is concerned?
D: Mostly a hated person.
P: Oh, I see. He would be sort of like a stool pigeon.
D: Well, he is what we call one of those red apples that I have been
telling you about. He is red on the outside and white on the
P: I did not know whether he might have been elevated by the Indian
people themselves to become their spokesman.
D: No. He becomes a spokesman on his own right because of his
political contacts and who he knows.
P: I see. So, he is really the instrument of the white power
D: That is right.
P: I understand now.
D: He does not like the Indians, and he tries to get them to forget
their history and identity. In other words, he tries to sell us
P: All right, now, the first confrontation in August of 1969 went
successfully. You were able to carry the community with you and
the school was integrated.
D: That is right. We had a very quiet year and everything went
P: Did you continue with Indian teachers during this period or were
white teachers brought in?
D: No. We never had any white teachers. We had two black teachers.
They were down in the lower grades.
P: This was true at the time of the first confrontation too?
D: The first confrontation, that is when they first came. They
taught for the year of 1969 and 1970. In the meantime, it was so
quiet and it made the year so pleasant It was the best years
that I think I have had at this school. All of them were
wonderful, but this was the quietest and the best one. We went
before Judge Buckler in Clinton.
D: Buckler. Judge Buckler [Adanon Buckler] who was the high judge
in this area for the federal government and we went before him
for a hearing in Clinton, North Carolina. He would not make any
disposition or he would not take any disposition on the case
whatsoever. He told both groups, the County Board of Education
and the group from Prospect, to come back and to get their
homework settled, so they came back.
P: What did he mean by getting their homework settled?
D: To work out these things among themselves, because of the drawing
of lines and the old boundaries being changed. To try to prevent
this joining of groups with other groups, you know, as a Cliburn
Pines area. I guess Mr. Barton mentioned this to you, where they
drew the lines and took the Cliburn Pines area into the Lumberton
area district. Rather than have to go to an Indian school, those
children would go to a white school. This was the thing that
hurt the people in the Prospect Community so bad. They knew all
these things were being done and the lines up there had been
changed. They had been taxed for all these years to support the
Red Springs school system, but yet they were not allowed to go to
the Red Springs school.
We had been driven out of the cafes and driven out of the drug
stores and the soda fountains and ice cream parlor and had not
been served in all these years and now they are trying to make us
go to school with these people.
P: Now, let us lead up to the second confrontation. The first, you
say, was in August of 1969.
P: You had a satisfactory year?
D: Yes, we had a satisfactory year because we went before Judge
Buckler and the case was to come up and an investigation was to
be made. The case was to come up before Judge Buckler again
before the opening of the next school year, which was 1970 and
1971, last August. The last August school opened and no
deposition and no action had been taken whatsoever. The people
had spent something like $10,000 to $12,000 to pay lawyers and so
forth. We had secured help from the university, Harvard
University Law School. These men worked free with Talley and
Talley's representative, who was Boatnight, the lawyer that was
representing the Indians.
P: Who was Talley?
D: Talley and Talley is a firm in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
P: They represented the Indians?
D: Yes, in the case. The case did not come before Judge Buckler
because the city units and the County Board of Education claimed
that they could not get ready. So, when school opened in 1971,
these people were very angry and they were very mad. They had
lost patience and they would not wait any longer. These were the
people that did not have any educational background or training
that were so upset.
P: Now, were there larger numbers of whites and blacks trying to get
into Prospect School in 1971?
D: No, there were about the same number. They just did not intend
for these black teachers and white teachers and these black
students and these white students to go to Prospect School in
P: All right, now they wanted to keep it a closed school, and they
were also resentful that their own children had not been allowed
in the white schools. So there were actually two sides to this
D: The superintendent would not give me any help. So, Ihad lost the
help of the community leaders. I did not have them with me
P: As you had the previous year.
D: As I had the previous year. I mean, they were there but they
were not in the group.
P: Why? Why was the community leadership not there?
D: Well, the community leadership was waiting on this court case.
They had not lost their patience or their hope, but these other
people had. These other people were so fierce until it seemed
like no one was able to talk to them or control them.
P: Were they more resentful of the blacks than the whites, or was it
D: It is equal. They are just resentful of anyone that is not
Indian, period. Anyone that takes an opposite side from them.
So, that day I closed the school, I had the busses begin to come
to the school.
P: What is the date?
D: August 31.
P: When had school opened?
D: It was August 29 of 1971 when school opened and when we had this
P: That was the opening day of the school.
D: Registration for half a day. These people came to the school and
I went real early that morning.
P: What do you mean by these people? Now, was this a delegation?
D: A delegation that came to fight against the people entering the
school. They came very early and I was there at seven o'clock.
I saw them stationed at the church yard across from the school,
about forty people.
D: Just Indians only.
P: I mean men and women?
D: Men and women. Mostly women, at that time. I went across the
road to talk with them and to explain to them what the
superintendent had told me on the Saturday previous to the
opening day of school.
P: What had he told you?
D: He told me to go on to school and open it because it had to open
as it had in the school year previous to that. He asked me if I
thought I could do it. I told him, I said, "Well, I have opened
the doors for twelve years, and I guess I will be able to open
them Monday morning," but I would not be able to control the
dissenters and I needed help.
I thought that school should be delayed for a day until someone
from the county or some of the leaders in the community could
talk to these people and explain the situation to them. Explain
what the federal law stated and what it meant and how it is
applied to North Carolina. How it applied to Robeson Board of
Education and to the schools in the system.
P: But he wanted you to carry the ball alone.
D: Yes, he asked me. In other words, he just told me I had to, you
might say. Then I met with my school committee or advisory
council, and we stayed together from six o'clock until eleven
o'clock on Saturday night prior to this event.
P: Discussing what you were going to do?
D: What we could do and what we hoped to do to prevent a
confrontation such as this. The community and I, and all the
Indian people, do not like for things like this to happen among
us. Because, they use it to hurt us rather than help us.
P: The dissenter group then was not opposed to Danford Dial. It was
opposed to what was going on.
D: No, it was opposed to what was going on.
P: What was the decision of your school committee?
D: They went along with the superintendent. My assistant principal,
who is now principal of the school, went along with the
P: That the school would open on Monday morning.
D: Right. Without any protection for me or any protection for the
children or teachers. I thought this was wrong. I knew these
people would come and they would be there in the force; in which
they were there.
P: Now, on Sunday, what happened? The day before school opened.
D: One of the advisory council members went to these people and
tried to talk to them. So, I had one man on my side. He went to
these people and met Joe Chavis and he asked him if they intended
to really make the show. He said that someone might get hurt, at
school, on Monday morning. They told him yes, they were going to
do that and they had already made their plans. He in turn,
called the superintendent and told him what he had found out.
I called the superintendent at 2:30 P.M. on Sunday and this was
the last conference that I had with him. He told me I was too
little a man to make a decision like this. I told him, I said,
"Well, I do not want to make the decision. I want you to make
it. Someone with authority to make it, so these people will
listen to him."
P: Now, by decision, what do you mean? That the school had to open
and it had to accept these children?
D: It had to open and accept these children and teachers regardless,
and it had to open Monday morning. But I believe definitely, had
he or someone with some authority delayed school for half a day
and talked to these people that all this would not have happened.
P: All right now, Monday morning you arrived around seven o'clock
and the group was already there standing in the church yard
across the street and you went over to talk with them.
D: Right, and I explained it the best way I could to them.
P: Were they willing to listen to you?
D: They listened for awhile, and it just seemed like everything
began to go my way and I was going to have things pleasant until
some lady opened her mouth and said, "Why, he is just a lying
s.o.b. like all the rest of them." Then they felt like I was
against them and had joined the superintendent.
P: They thought you were an apple for the moment.
D: Yes, they thought I was an apple for the moment. When this lady
blurted this out, and said, yes, I was just like all the rest of
those s.o.b.s, you see, this completely took the situation out of
my hands. Everyone, it seemed like, just went wild. They
cheered and roared and clapped their hands and so forth, you
P: So, you could not speak anymore.
D: I could not speak any more, and I could not control the group at
P: Then you returned to the school?
D: I returned to the school. Then one of the teachers came up in
their car. One of the ladies went running to the door and opened
the door and grabbed a hold. This happened to be a man. He
happened to be an Indian teacher, but he was so dark they thought
he was black. They were so angry and mad and fussing and
everything, they never stopped to look to see what had happened.
They started pulling him out the door.
P: Out of his car?
D: Yes, and oh my goodness, I said, what will I do if they get my
buses like this? I saw that they were determined and meant to do
what they said. They started running towards the busses. As they
began to come in, I just gave the bus driver the thumb and told
him to keep going. And to not open that door or let anyone in
the bus. So, I had about eleven busses come in there that
morning and I never let one of them stop.
P: What happened to the teacher that was pulled out of his car?
D: They finally recognized who he was and turned him loose.
P: Did they turn against any of the other teachers that came into
the parking lot?
D: The black teachers came in and parked their car in the regular
place. They (the group) went to their rooms and told them they
had to leave school. They did not hurt any of them, but they
threatened them. They told the two black teachers that they had
to leave the school. So, they came to my office.
In the meantime, I had to stand between the black teachers and
the group. I told them, "You cannot hurt these people. They are
not responsible for being here. They do not want to be here.
They were sent here, and they have to work just like everyone
else does. You cannot hurt these people or bother them."
"Well," they said, "we just want them to get off this campus and
not come back." I said, "Well, they are going to leave, but you
cannot hurt them." So, I took the two ladies to their cars. I
apologized and sent them on their way as best I could.
I had two factions then. I had the leaders of the community who
were with this other group in the first confrontation in 1969.
They had a side of their own. So, I had two groups on my hands.
The leadership of the community wanted to run the other group
off. Because, they were there disturbing the school and would
not let it open.
P: So, you were caught in the middle.
D: So I was caught in the middle. My only hope of saving the
community, the school and and the people, was because they had so
much love and respect for me. I felt like I just had to stand
and tell them I would not be back as their principal.
P: So, you resigned yourself, not under pressure. You resigned.
D: Well, I did not write a resignation. I just verbally resigned.
P: Who did you say this to? The crowd?
D: I said this to the crowd. When I said that, you know, they all
began to cry and go in different directions. The school had
never been successful. The opportunity had never been there for
the boys and girls that I had given them there.
P: Now, you had an opposition group that was opposed to integration.
P: Now, the community leadership was willing for integration to take
place, so long as the school opened and operated quietly.
D: Yes. Rather than have a confrontation like this, they were
hoping that the court case would clear the entire thing up. When
I went before them and told them that I would not be back at the
school, then I was able to keep any incident down whatsoever. In
the meantime, the deputies from the county, they were there but
they were of no value and no help whatsoever.
P: On Tuesday, did the school open all right?
D: Tuesday the school opened and they had forty-nine Highway
Patrolmen surrounding the school and the roads going into the
school. Every time someone moved in the community, to go some
place, there was a Highway Patrolman stopping them and asking
where they were going and making sure their identification and
P: Did the school open with both black and white children?
P: The two black teachers came back?
D: No, the black teachers never went back.
P: They were just reassigned.
D: They were reassigned and had Indian substitutes in their place
for about two months. Later, they sent two white teachers back
to replace them. The school year finished with two white
teachers and no repercussions whatsoever.
P: So the opposition group then accepted the whites although they
were not willing to accept the blacks.
D: Well, they accepted the situation because they had so much
pressure put on them from the community and the community
leaders, but they were not satisfied yet. I do not know, they
might try to do the same thing again in 1972-1971.
D: Or 1973 rather. If they open the school, they might do the same
thing, because they are very angry. They are still holding their
meetings and still discussing this thing.
P: Mr. Dial, I want to get back now to some of your earlier life.
You said that you lived the normal life of an Indian child,
growing up, going to school and going to church. Did you work on
D: Yes, I worked on the farm around the clock, almost. We were a
large farms. The fact that my grandfather was such an aggressive
man and so forth, we had to be one of the larger farming families
in the Prospect area. At the time, my father lived in the home
with my grandfather. When I was born, this was an asset in that
they could go together and work. The more you had working, the
better you could gather and harvest the crop and get the crop
planted. Because, most everything was done by hand then.
P: Indian families are large families. How many brothers and
sisters did you have?
D: Yes, Indian families were large, quite large to some extent. I
was in one of the medium sized families, I would say. Six
brothers and four sisters in my family. Ten of us.
P: And that was a medium sized family?
D: Yes. Indian families, a lot of families, were usually nineteen
or twenty. My great grandfather was a father of twenty-five
boys. Indian families usually ran way up into the teens. It
would not be unusual to find families that had thirteen, fourteen,
fifteen, nineteen, twenty-one children.
P: Did this mean that a man might have had several successive wives?
D: No, one mother. One mother would usually be the mother of
nineteen, twenty-one children. Now, there were other families
that were, small. My grandfather's family, James Dial's family,
the family my father came out of was. I do not know the reasons
though. My grandmother worked so hard, I guess. She did all the
There were only six in my father's family. Two boys and four
girls. But my father fathered ten, with my mother, who is still
living, seventy-four years old. My father's working ten hours a
day now. The large family could really get a head picking the
cotton with the pulling of the father.
P: Children, then, were an economic assets on the farm.
D: That is right. They were. The parents at that time did not
believe much in education. They used the children for this
purpose. It was tradition that the child owed everything to the
parent. The parent did not owe the child anything. This is a
tradition that is still predominantly strong among a lot of
Indian parents today. We have a time trying to change that in my
family. We have tried to show them that the parent owes the
child everything, and this has been a most difficult thing to try
to get Indian parents to see this way.
P: What about parent-child relations? When you were growing up.
D: Patriarch type of relationships. Father, son, grandson and so
forth. The grandfather or father, the oldest male member living
in the family has a say.
P: The children owed everything to the parents. Go back and say
D: It has been traditional among the Indians that children owe
everything to the parents. We have had a time trying to change
this idea, and this is the reason why a lot of the Indian boys
and girls did not get more education than they did. Parents
would keep them out of school. They would keep them home to work
and do chores when the parents could have done the chores and put
the children in school.
In the Prospect area, king cotton area, tobacco came along in the
thirties. They began to harvest tobacco too and children were
not allowed a chance to enter school until all this harvesting
Many times the schools were open for a month to six weeks and
there would be one child in the teacher's classroom or maybe no
children at all. That teacher was assigned thirty some students
and this would make it very difficult, all the children coming in
from the farm. When they usually finished harvesting, the
teacher would have so many in the classroom, because of the state
allotment, he could hardly maneuver, much less try to instruct
these children This has always been a handicap to the Indian boy
P: What about discipline in the Indian household?
D: Discipline in the Indian household has always been very strict.
This is the thing that has really made the Indian in Robeson
County; this discipline and belief in church. The church has
been his refuge and has given him hope, due to the discipline.
The church relationship among the Indians has preserved us and
taken care of us and really gave us our place. It has brought us
through all these trials that we have had to face.
P: What is the Lumbee attitude toward old people?
D: Their attitude toward anyone is to be courteous, nice and
respectful. Now, I do not know if you have noticed it since you
have been here in Pembroke, but we are usually mister. We
usually put a handle to a name, regardless of the individual, his
race, creed or color. We do this because it is a natural thing
with us, because we have been trained this way.
P: I noticed that you even use mister with relatives. As you were
talking to Mr. Dial, who is your cousin.
D: Yes. Well, his position and so forth. We have always been
taught to respect a teacher, or minister, or people with any
title or position.
P: Do the older people hold any special place in an Indian family or
an Indian community?
D: Well, they do so far as respect is concerned. When they enter
the church, usually everyone would stand up or give them a
special seat or place. Or, they make special arrangements to see
that they are comfortable if there was a special gathering where
the older people came to church. They usually get a special
chair, a special fan or they put them near the window where the
breeze can come in and so forth. Sometimes the relatives or
someone will stand near them and fan them or something like this.
They get revered and respect in this manner.
P: Now, how about the status of women in the Lumbee Indian
D: Well, the status of women in the Lumbee Indian community has
changed somewhat; percentage-wise to some extent, as it has with
all people. In some areas and in some communities, but really in
the Prospect community or in areas farther away from town and the
cultural centers, the Lumbee Indian woman is expected to keep her
place and play her role as she always has. When anyone else does
opposite, they are sneered at and they are not respected.
P: What do you mean by her place and play her role? Spell that out.
D: Well, we mean playing her role by sitting quietly and not making
speeches. Not taking part in leadership and doing anything in
this manner. She just stays quiet and lets the man do all of the
P: She has the children.
D: She has the children and so forth, like that.
P: Maintains the home.
D: That is right.
P: In the older Indian community and in the more conservative
settlements, did the Indian women eat at the same time as their
D: Not very often because they had so many to feed, so many to take
care of. They had to do the serving while the family or the
workers or the visitors were eating, and usually she ate before
or after or she ate walking as she served. She did not get very
much if she was not very careful providing for herself.
P: Were women involved in church affairs?
D: Women have been involved in church affairs, I would say, since
1960 on. Usually, they were not involved in church affairs at
all, in the conservative community, with the exception of
teaching the small children and in the junior and intermediate
departments of Sunday school.
P: So the older Indian women then definitely play a secondary role
both within the family and within the community.
D: Yes, this is in a lot of cases. This is where they would like to
see them play their role today; even among our educated women. A
lot of them, now Jane and Brenda, are so far ahead in playing a
role that they are just so far out there. They have taken a
leadership role that we have never seen before.
P: Are they resented as a result of this?
D: No, they are not. They are respected and this is the unusual
thing here. These two young women are looked upon as leaders and
worthy people. By that I mean their character is not impaired or
Usually a woman going out in this manner, taking trips with other
men or with a group of people leaving her family and husband,
going to Raleigh to make a speech or going to Wilmington to a
convention or Atlanta, her reputation would be impaired or her
family's. (Brenda has been as far as Atlanta and spent two or
three days) Something would happen to her, and the community
would make a gossip role and lists with her name involved. But,
this has not happened to these two young ladies.
P: This is a very recent development, though, where you have Indian
women coming out and playing a leadership role in the Indian
D: Yes. This has happened, I think, because of the Old Main
movement. Both of these young people took part in the Old Main
movement. I and Lew Barton and many others took part in that.
We needed someone to write, someone to mail letters and do like
this. So, we said we needed a secretary and that made Janie our
secretary, our contact, to do this business of writing and
telephoning. This is what got her involved.
P: Mr. Dial, what was there in your family and maybe within yourself
that motivated you to get an education? You said you were the
first to graduate high school and go on to college.
D: My teachers motivated me. There is one man in this community who
was the greatest Indian leader in my day; in my belief that we
had ever had. He passed away this year, Lacey Maynor. His
daughter has been in Washington for the past twelve years, and
she has helped quite a bit. She has been the link between the
federal government and her father and us.
Lacy Maynor taught me when I was a young boy. He was my seventh
grade teacher. This man always inspired us to have pride and to
try and do the best. To be the best in sports. He was a great
sports participant. He played baseball and football. He taught
us how to play all these games. He was such a dynamic fellow.
He had such a dynamic voice and such a pleasing personality and
such a come on. Everyone like to gather around him and listen to
him talk. He could do things without losing his temper and
whatever people said did not bother him. He encouraged a lot of
young people and especially in the Prospect community, because
this is where he taught for about thirteen years. He was loved
and revered by Prospect because he did so much to help.
P: So you feel that he is the man who encouraged you?
D: He is the man that encouraged me and he encouraged me until the
last day. I had a conversation with him just before he died,
before he got so he could not talk. He was still encouraging me.
P: Why did you decide to go to Western Carolina instead of Pembroke?
D: Well, I did not really decide to go to Western Carolina. I
finished my college at Pembroke after I went in the service June
the 10th of 1941. I went into the Air Force, voluntarily. I
went in as an aircraft mechanic and progressed to an aircraft
maintenance technician. That was the highest MOS [Military
Occupational School] you could hold as an enlisted man. I was
discharged November the 25th, 1945. I returned to school here
and finished school at Pembroke.
P: You got your B.A. at Pembroke?
D: 1947, August of 1947.
P: Pembroke is a Liberal Arts school, is it not?
D: Yes. I attempted teaching school 1946 and 1947 at the Indian
school in Fairmont, North Carolina, and I taught the sixth grade.
I had forty-one students in the sixth grade. We did not have the
type of leadership. School was just not school to me, as what I
liked it to be and what I always thought and what I knew it
should be for our boys and girls.
I taught in a classroom that was not big enough to keep a horse
in a stall, much less have forty-one boys and girls in there. I
had to make the fire in the big potbellied stove and I had to
dust and sweep the classroom. A crayon and eraser were my only
school supplies. I had no visual aids, maps or anything. I did
not have enough text books. What textbooks I had were scrap and
they should not have been in anyone's hands.
The principal was not interested in school. They played
volleyball from one end of the day to the other. All the school
was out playing volleyball, while I had my forty-one boys and
girls in the classroom trying to teach them. They were not sixth
grade level when I got them, in the beginning of the year, but I
taught them for nine months. We had school while the rest of the
school was playing. I told the principal that I could not teach
school in a situation like that anymore.
I left the school then and I went to Detroit, Michigan and
started working at the Willow Plant. I was building cars for
Chrysler-Plymouth. I took my wife up there and bought a home and
we settled in Dearborn, Michigan. I do not know, with the
strikes and everything in the automotive industry, I did not like
that. That became so monotonous, I decided to sell my home and
apply for entrance to the University of Michigan.
I was accepted there. In the meantime, my father came to
Dearborn to visit me and talk me into coming back to the East
Carolina Indian School. That was near Clinton, North Carolina.
They needed a principal and a teacher there. He wanted me back
My father has also been pro-Indian and he looks more Indian, as
much Indian as anyone I have ever seen. He is typical Indian
color. He talked my wife and I into coming back to Clinton to
take the school there and teach rather than go to the
Universality of Michigan.
So, I came back to Clinton. I was made principal there in 1949
and 1950. Then after coming back I made such a record in
everything, all of the papers, the Greensboro, Charlotte, and
Raleigh paper carried a special write-up of this principal that
came home from Detroit and took over the Indian school and had
done such a wonderful job. When the Indians back here in Robeson
County saw it, they came after me again to come back here and
It so happened, I went back to the same school under the same
principal to teach. The boys and girls that I taught in the
sixth grade had been promoted so far and so fast, I received them
as seniors in high school. I taught these boys and girls as
seniors in high school. I taught them English.
P: In other words, you gave up the principalship and you came back
D: Yes. I made such a name and had the recommendation of being such
a good teacher. Then the principal from the senior high school
in Pembroke came after me to teach with him.
This was the epitome of glory for any teacher in Robeson County,
at that time. To get to teach on the staff at the Pembroke
Senior High School or the Pembroke Grade School. These schools
had the best children. They came from the best homes; they had
the best equipment. All the Indian teachers had the desire to
get into these two schools.
I asked my wife what I should do, and she said, "Well, I would
take it." So I left the Fairmont Indian School then and came to
Pembroke School. I taught there until I went to Prospect.
But, it was not my choice to go to Western Carolina to get my
master's degree. When I finished college at Pembroke in 1946 I
did not get my diploma until 1947, because I finished in the
summer. R. B. Wellons was president of Pembroke and he was a
Methodist. He thought I had the ability to do graduate work, so
he took me to Duke.
He explained the situation as to what had happened to this boy
here among the Lumbee Indians. That he had been in the service,
came back home, did fifty-two hours and made straight A's. He
thought I had the ability to go to graduate school at Duke. But,
for some reason, Duke would not accept me. They had not accepted
anyone from Pembroke University.
In the meantime, I delayed until 1952. I applied at the
University of North Carolina after teaching and getting some
experience. When I applied at the University of North Carolina,
they had already accepted the two law students from Durham and a
girl from New Mexico in the Spanish department. I thought I
would have an excellent chance at enrolling at the University of
North Carolina since there were two blacks there and a black from
When I went to the University of North Carolina, Dean Pearson was
head of the Graduate School. He told me that Lumbee Indians
could not enroll. There was a law forbidding Lumbee Indians from
enrolling at the University of North Carolina. It made me very
angry, and I told him I would pursue the case to the Supreme
Court, if I could not enter. In the meantime, he contacted
Wesley Watson in Lumberton who was the representative of the
university here in the county. Wesley Watson, the lawyer in
Lumberton, took me to the university for three days.
P: Which university?
D: The University of North Carolina.
P: You went back to the University of North Carolina?
D: Yes. So, Dean Pearson finally agreed that I could enter the
P: Even though originally he said there was a law preventing it.
D: That is right. But, there was no law, and I knew it. Watson
knew it too and told Pearson so. Then he agreed, after five
days, that I could enter the University of North Carolina on a
Friday, at the end of the year. He said he would see that I
would not be penalized for late entrance and so forth.
But, at the same time, Mr. Clemmons was Assistant Dean of the
Graduate School. There was one stipulation that he had, that I
must have a course under Clemmons. I hate to say this about an
educator, because I am an educator myself and I believe in it to
the fullest extent, but there is always some way to skin the cat.
I think I got the skinning of the cat there when he put me under
I did good work with one of my former teachers here, who is now
at Appalochee and has been there since he received his master's
degree at the University of North Carolina. He and I entered the
same summer and I did just as well as he did. Clemmons told me
that I had turned in the best paper that he had ever had from any
student, but he would not record my grade. I told him that Dr.
Pearson gave me permission to enroll late because I had
difficulty entering. He said, "No student has ever entered my
class late and passed my course." He says, "Hell, nobody tells
me how to run my class."
He never would give me my grade after he said I made straight
A's. He said he could not even find a punctuation mark out of
place. He asked me how did I do it. I told him, I said, "Well,
I entered late and I knew only one thing I must do. I must try
to memorize," and I said, "I memorized everything." He could
not understand how I had such a wonderful memory, and why I could
do so well. He never would record my grade and I could not
return to the university to get my master's degree even though my
work was good in all other fields.
P: Was good. So how long did you stay in Chapel Hill?
D: I stayed there for one summer.
P: One summer. This was the summer of 1953?
D: The summer of 1953, and I was the first Lumbee Indian in Robeson
County to ever enter the front door at the University of North
Carolina, to enroll in any capacity. Now, Joe Smith enrolled
there from Indiana. He went to the University of Indiana, and he
received his business degree at the University of Indiana. He
planned to become a CPA [Certified Public Accountant]. He
transferred from Indiana into Chapel Hill at the same time I went
in the front door. Joe was one of our bright-skinned Indians,
with blue eyes, you might have seen some similar to that. He had
red hair. He was Joe Smith, and he is still in Raleigh. He has
been in Raleigh since that day.
P: So you left Chapel Hill at the end of that summer.
D: I left Chapel Hill at the end of that summer, and I did not
return to graduate school. I never intended to get a master's
degree or try again, anyplace.
P: But you did come back that fall to Pembroke, here to teach in the
D: Yes, to teach in the high school. Then in 1959, this man Carly
Lowry, who is now working with the Indians in Arizona and has
been there for fifteen years or since 1959, he asked me to take
Prospect school behind Adolf. Adolf took it in 1956 and had been
their principal for three years. He went to Boston to receive
his degree from Boston University.
P: Did he get a Ph.D.?
D: No, master's. So they asked me if I would replace him there. I
told them I would provided I could secure a master's degree and
become qualified as principal. I did not accept the job unless I
could qualify myself for the job.
That is one of the difficulties we have among our Indian people.
They do not respect the leadership they have. They do not put
trust and confidence in it. You really have to be on the ball to
get this respect and this confidence.
At that same time, the president of Pembroke State College called
up the gentleman at Western Carolina, Dr. E. D. Turner and told
him about me. He told him that I was coming up and for them to
interview me. Dr. Amsley, he was head of the education
department, interviewed me to see if they could not do something
for this young man. They did, and they were very kind. They
gave me the same opportunity they gave everyone else at that
You have to make five hundred and something on the National
Teacher's before you could become a candidate for a degree. So I
went on up there and they enrolled me in graduate school and told
me that I would have to take the examination. I paid the fee.
They said if you make a certain score on the National Teacher's
you would be all right. I did, but I was very frightened and I
did not have confidence in myself.
I started to come home the Friday evening before I took the
National Teacher's and my wife told me to not be that way, to go
ahead and take it. I took it, and did very well on it. I
entered graduate school and did most of my work in the history
department. I did thirty-six hours in history. I think I made
straight A's in history and received one B. That was in data
processing. As far as that is concerned, they gave me P's. That
was a disturbing thing, a P instead of an E. I wanted an E,
because that is what they said I made in the course.
When I finished, out of the class that entered when I did, they
called for a history teacher at St. Andrew's, which was a
Presbyterian Junior College at the time. They wanted the best we
had in the graduating class, and they recommended me. I said, I
am sorry, I cannot go to Maxton Presbyterian Junior College to
teach because they will not accept Lumbee. I said for that
reason I am going to have to turn down the job. I was at
Prospect. I received my degree in 1960 and I stayed at Prospect
P: You got your degree, then, in June of 1960.
D: Yes, and I stayed at Prospect until the confrontation of 1971.
P: Were you the lone Lumbee at Western Carolina?
D: I was the lone Lumbee at Western Carolina when I was there.
P: You had no problem, though, as an Indian?
D: I had no problems as an Indian whatsoever. The people were very
nice. There were no sneers or anything and I was truly just like
a human being.
P: You had no problems as a Lumbee in service during World War II
either, did you?
D: I had no problems whatsoever.
P: So the problems, the attitudes toward the Lumbee is a local
D: A local thing right here in the county.
P: Has it spread beyond Robeson County?
P: How do you account for it?
D: I do not know. I guess it is something like the Martins and the
Coys. The Martins and the Coys or the feud between the other
tribe. There seems to have been a lot of people hurt during the
reign of Henry Barry Lowry. There were a lot of families hurt.
The McClains, the McNeils and the McClouds and so forth. They
blame the Henry Barry Lowry gang for it. There were Locklears,
Oxindines and all of those groups in his gang. They think all
the Indians are just like Henry Barry Lowry and that group.
P: You trace this discrimination, then, back to the 1860s?
D: That is right.
P: The seeds of it.
D: That is right. They planted them.
P: Is Lowry considered a folk hero among the Indians?
D: With pro-Lumbees he is. If everyone felt about Henry Barry Lowry
as Lew Barton and I do, and Janie and Brenda and several other
young and old Indians, we would make a monument to him that would
be just as great as anything there is in this country.
D: Well, he made us what we are. Had it not been for Henry Barry
Lowry, we would have been extinct. The pattern was laid to such
an extent that we would have been extinct completely. Because
prior to this time the Indian families had to leave North
Carolina and Robeson County. Many of them left and went away for
years and stayed until things were settled, because they wanted
to make Negro slaves out of all these Indians.
P: Are you saying, then, that the Lumbees thrived as a result of the
D: As a result of the discrimination that has continued. That has
really made us the people we are, because they wanted to make us
negroes. They wanted us to enter the negro schools and negro
churches and so forth. After 1835, with the disfranchisement,
from that time until 1885, we were in complete darkness. That is
what we call the fifty years of darkness for the Lumbee Indians.
P: From 1885 until when?
D: From 1835 until 1885, about a period of fifty years of complete
darkness. No connections in church, schools or anything.
P: What do you mean, you had no connections with the church?
D: We did not have a church, as such, we did not have a building.
P: You had no affiliation with the Protestant church?
D: We had no affiliation with the Protestant church.
P: But the Lumbees were Protestant in the nineteenth century, were
P: Well, where did they get their religious training, where were the
churches? There was no formal church.
D: They used a brush arbor, and in fact, one of the biggest arbors
used to be the biggest church among the Indians in the 1930s.
St. Anne Church, started from a brush arbor and started as a
school, from a school to a church.
P: Who were the ministers in those early years?
D: The ministers in those early years were Oscar Samson, my wife's
father, Reverend Frank Graham, and L. W. Moore.
P: These were not trained clergymen then. These were just men who
knew how to read and write and who had the respect of the
community. Lay leaders.
D: Right. There is not a trained Indian minister among us in
forty-two churches in the Burnt Swamps Association, besides the
other churches that we have at the Methodist and the Church of
D: Well, the Indian has always felt that the minister should work
and earn his living just as anyone else because of his past
history, you know.
P: Do you have white ministers now in your churches?
D: We have a white minister at our church and our church is
integrated due to the fact that it joins the college campus. We
are a Baptist church and it is the only one that has a trained
man from the seminary, it is totally integrated.
P: So the churches in the outlying area, the Indian churches still
depend upon lay leadership.
D: Yes, lay leadership. Now, Prospect church is a Methodist Church.
They have a Brother Simeon Cummings as their pastor. He has been
with them for seventeen years. He came out of the classroom and
and took classes at Duke University. He has led these people and
done a wonderful job for them. But he is not what we would call
a trained minister.
P: In the way that yours is?
D: That is right. Our minister came directly from the seminary and
took seminary training for three and a half to four years. We
are the only church that has a trained minister.
P: In the outlying areas, in these Indian churches, what kind of
service do they follow?
D: They follow the Baptist, in most Baptist churches they follow the
Baptist teachings, the Baptist Gospel. They get the Baptist
literature just as we do in Berea. They do not have a planned
program service as we have at our church with bulletin. A church
bulletin with all the announcements and everything. This is done
in about four churches.
Their minister, he could be a school teacher or he could be an
outstanding farmer and he would get perhaps an allowance for the
services usually. A man who can talk an hour really has a lot to
say and this is usually the man with the sermon in these
The response from the congregation is somewhat like the old
Israelites. It reminds me of what I know or have read about the
Israelites. The minister will say something and the congregation
will respond with an amen or something like that.
Someone may lead the singing from what they call the amen corner.
They still have amen corners in most of the churches. He will
depend on these people to lead the prayers and take the
leadership from there, you know, back and forth through the
pulpit. So it is kind of folkloric like in a way to watch that.
P: The minister is not paid?
D: He may be paid a small salary like a hundred dollars a year.
P: And this comes from the collection plate?
D: Yes, but he does not go to the church unless there is a church
member's funeral. He will preach once a month or maybe twice a
month. Now if he preaches twice a month he might get $250 a
year, but if he preaches one Sunday out of the month it might be
P: What about the Indian religious doctrine? How do they look at
the Bible? Do they accept it as literal?
D: The Indian accepts the Bible and he just does not try to change
it any other way, but that, the majority of them do and word for
P: Word for word in the Bible?
P: So the world started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?
P: Is this as true in Pembroke at your church as it is in the
D: No. You see at Pembroke Berea Church is somewhat different
because most people that attend Berea and their families are
college trained people.
P: This is the most liberal then of the Indian churches in this area
of North Carolina?
D: Yes. By attending Berea Church, if you were Baptist from
Gainesville, you would feel as much at home in Berea as you would
back home in Gainesville.
P: Are the majority of the Indians Baptist, or are they pretty well
spread out, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian?
D: The majority of them are Baptists because of the Burnt Swamp. I
told you the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association has forty-two
churches, and this is the largest association of Indian churches.
Now, we have a Methodist Conference, and it has about eight or
ten churches, and so it is much smaller. Then we have a few Free
Will Baptist still around, and then we have some Polemists. We
have two churches that call themselves the Brothery. They are
separate and apart from all other people.
P: Are there any Indians who are Catholics in this area?
D: No Catholic Indians that I know of. I do not know of a Catholic
Indian even in New York or any place.
P: Have the Mormons made any inroads in North Carolina among the
D: Yes, the Mormons have made some inroads. They are doing a
splendid job right now, especially in the Magnolia area and
Pembroke area. Up above the college they have a building. I do
not know whether they call it a church or seminary or what they
call this building. But, it is a wonderful building, and very
expensive. It is where they haul the groups in by bus and train
and work with them. A number of our people have joined their
group and their organization.
P: They have left the Baptist Church and are moving into the Mormon
D: Yes, but not the upper educational level. Usually the uneducated
families and the families on welfare, people of this type,
because of the interest in everything they show them.
P: What did you call the Baptist, the Indian Baptist Association
D: The Burnt Swamp.
P: Is is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Association?
D: Yes, and we have a representative from our association to the
Southern Baptist Association. We have various committees from
our association, as all other associations do in the southern
We contribute money to the fund or cooperative programs just like
all other churches do. In our church Berea, here we have a
program and we have a budget and everything just as you have in
the First Baptist Church in Gainesville. So much for missions,
so much for the cooperative program, so much for home missions.
There is so much for the program at Christmas and so forth. So
much for the building fund, so much for the pastor's salary and
so much for upkeep.
P: In the outlying Indian churches, is there any program for
educating the children, Sunday schools?
D: Very, very little, not much. You would find this in about ten or
twelve churches. You would not find it in all the churches.
P: The responsibility then is the family's.
D: The family and the public school used to be very concerned about
this and did a lot of this before integration. Now, that
integration has come along, it has taken this away from the
P: You did have religious education in the Indian schools?
D: Yes, through teachers. This is one thing, the teachers were more
or less expected to do. If they intended to teach.
P: Were they expected to actually teach the Bible or set a high
D: Set a high moral level, more than teach the Bible. But if a
teacher taught the Bible, for instance, if you opened this class
with prayer and you would read a verse or two of Scripture each
day and so forth, why he was considered the best teacher in the
school. It did not make any difference what he did about the
rest of his work, you see, and if he attended church every Sunday
and took an active part in the church, why, you just could not
replace this teacher because he was the idol of the community,
the apple of their eye.
P: Did the Indian community resent the Supreme Court's decision on
prayer in the public schools?
D: Well, several of them thought it was very bad. But I do not
think to the extent of resenting it. They would not just pay any
attention to it. They ignored it and went ahead as if there had
not been such a thing. I think that was somewhat the attitude
and feeling of the superintendent toward the thing too. So far
as the Indian people were concerned.
P: Just go ahead and do as you have always done in the past.
D: That was, you did not exactly say that, but you said enough that
it gave that feeling.
P: As far as the Indian community was concerned though, generally,
they would have been opposed to this decision.
D: That is right, yes.
P: In terms of their general attitude toward religion, they felt
that this was a necessary thing. Is the lack of religious
training in the rural churches a result of not having enough
money or not being able to get to church or what?
D: The lack of training in the rural churches, I think, is a
traditional thing, in some ways, because they do not believe too
much in training. They have not been in contact with someone who
is trained. Someone with much influence to guide them in that
Now, where they have had the contact with people that believe in
training and so forth, they will follow them through and do a
very good job. But most of the churches believe that is wrong
and that it is a put on and a show.
P: If a man is called, that is enough.
D: That is enough, right. They do not think training has anything
to do with it.
P: Mr. Dial, you were talking about the large Indian families. You
were saying something about how children were delivered. In the
old days, there were not that many doctors and women did not go
into hospitals, I presume, to give birth to children.
D: In the early twenties and up until around World War II, most of
the Indian women had their children delivered by what we call
granny women. In many cases if they could not afford to get to a
granny woman or she was not nearby, the mother would usually take
care of themselves.
P: Who were the granny women?
D: They were older mothers who had had experience in this type of
thing. They had not been trained by any physician or any nurse.
They just took it upon themselves to learn the art of delivering
P: Is granny women a North Carolina term or is it a Lumbee Indian
D: This is a Lumbee term, I think. I have never heard anyone else
use this term.
P: The white community used midwives too, but they called them
P: So, using the term granny women is a Lumbee Indian term.
D: That is a Lumbee Indian term.
P: These were Lumbee Indian women who were involved?
D: That is right.
P: You say that sometimes Indian women delivered their own children.
D: Yes, I know one mother who delivered about eight children for
herself. She had no doctor or anything and never went to the
hospital. No medical care whatsoever.
P: What was the medical care situation in the earlier days that you
remember from your youth when you got sick, for instance?
D: Well, the only time I ever went to the doctor was one time I went
swimming and had an accident. This was around 1958 or 1959, I
hurt my neck. That was the only time I had ever seen a medical
doctor except when I went into the service for a physical.
During my childhood, for my family, and even for adults, we used
home remedies. For instance, when a child would get a cold, we
would use turpentine and fat lightwood splinters, fat meat. We
would put the meat between the prongs of the fat lightwood
splinter and set it afire and burn this meat and tar together in
a spoon and give it to the child. This is what we used for colds
and for chest pains and so forth.
We would use pine top and pine straw in the pillows for people
that had asthma. They would sleep on pine top and pine straw.
We used many other things. One special thing that I remember
that was quite common in my home was sassafras root. My mother
would boil them and make a tea out of them. We also used liquor
with lemon juice. We used liquor with tea, spiced tea.
P: What about for a laxative?
D: For a laxative? The only laxative I ever used was oil. They
just called it oil, white oil. They bought it. It had a bad
taste and a bad odor. They would just give it to the children.
Calamus root and calamus tea were other things that were used a
lot. I do not know for what remedy, but they always had them
around. My mother always kept a bottle of camphor in the house.
She would put this camphor and whiskey together to make some kind
of ointment. She would use this for headaches and things of that
nature, like burns.
My mother was an expert in making soap. She took lye and meat
scraps and meat skins and would put them in the big washpot
outside. She would make a big pot of soap and then leave it and
let it harden. Then she would take it out of the pot and put it
on a board in the sun and let it dry. This is the type of soap
we all used until I went into the service in 1941. I did not
know about face soap ar any other soaps of that nature.
She would also use this soap to keep the house clean. Every year
we used to take water, hot water, and this soap and dash it up
against the walls and the ceiling to purify the house and to
clean out the germs. We called this fall cleaning. We had to do
this in order to keep all the pests and insects and germs away.
If someone passed away in the family, and the doctor did not
exactly know what was wrong, they moved out all the furniture in
the hot sun and let it stay out for days. Then they would scour
the house with hot water and lye soap. Lye was used to get all
the germs and everything, and this has been a practice among the
Indians until recently.
P: I want to ask you about funerals, Lumbee Indian funerals. Is
there anything unusual about them?
D: Well, it is something like you mentioned today, ringing the bell.
To me, it is more like a parade or a festival when a Lumbee
Indian passes away, because we have not adopted the modern
practices of burial and funeralizing our dead as the white man
For instance, my mother was at a funeral last Sunday and she made
special preparations to get to that funeral. She did not know
the person quite that well or she was not related to the person.
They always turn out in large numbers and they spend quite a lot
of money. It seems to be a racket here with the funeral homes.
When an Indian passes away, the Indians go all out and at length
to spend money in big barrel expenses. It is not unusual to see
a family put their father or their mother away and spend anywhere
from six to twelve thousand dollars in funeral arrangements,
floral decorations and things of this nature.
This is something that I talked over with my wife, and my
children and tried to get them to get out of the habit. But
they do not think it would be a nice thing to do. I particularly
believe that something of this nature should be a family sort of
thing. If someone would like to view the body or come and make
their condolences known, they should do this prior to the
funeral. You should not have all this singing and these long,
lengthy sermons and so forth over a dead body.
P: Now, when an Indian person dies, is the funeral at the home or is
it in a funeral parlor?
D: They usually take the person to the church. Now, the churches
are only large enough to accommodate a third of the people that
gather. Very seldom can you attend a funeral and get a seat,
unless you go two or three hours early, because so many people
attend the funeral.
Before they started holding the funerals in the church they used
to hold them in Old Maine. This is why Old Main is so dear to
us, because many of our honored dead have been funeralized in Old
Main. This is where the funeral was held and this is why we had
so much sympathy toward Old Main. It could hold the crowd and
could partially take care of the crowd there.
But the school buildings, the auditoriums in the school building
was another place in which funerals were held. It is common to
hold funerals there because they could come near accommodating
the crowd. A funeral occasion was also a place where people
could meet and get together on common things and so forth.
I think this is the reason why Lumbee Indian funerals have always
been such a big affair. It is certainly something that draws our
people together in one common interest and bond, to some extent,
because they prepare large plates of food and bake a lot of cakes
and so forth. Everyone carries their food to the family. They
usually hold a wake of maybe two or three nights. I have known
them to last for a week. The wake would last for a week, and
they would be eating, drinking and merry making to some extent,
and telling a lot of jokes and so forth. This has always been
the custom and habit.
P: This is not true in the white community here?
D: No, this is not true in the white community, and I do not think
that is true in the black community. This is still true in
modern America today among the Lumbee Indians. They hold a wake
and sometimes it lasts for a week or two or three days. I know
it is an Indian custom, but, to me it is a bunch of nonsense to
go and spend all this money; thousands and thousands of dollars,
copper caskets, all these expensive clothes, and vault and put
all this wealth in the ground. The ground is not only rich as
soil to grow crops, but it is rich in wealth that has been buried
by Lumbee Indian families.
The white man has always taken advantage of the Indian to this
extent. He does not want them to change this. A white man in a
funeral home who can get two or three Indian families a year in
his parlor, why he can make enough money to take care of his
business and his family.
P: How about a wedding? Is there anything special about a Lumbee
Indian wedding ceremony?
D: Lumbee Indian weddings are a recent phenomena. They have not
been things of the past that the Lumbee Indian has cherished.
The Lumbee has always tried to keep this somewhat a secret and
they slipped away or eloped. This has been to satisfy their
The color of a child's skin or the texture of his hair has always
been a trait that the Lumbee have looked at with pride. If the
child had straight, slick hair and fair skin, this was quite an
asset to get one into the family with some of these traits and
with blue eyes.
P: White features?
D: White features.
P: This was considered to be a social asset?
D: A social asset as well as an asset in all respects. This is why
I made the statement that no longer does the Indian boy sit in
the classroom and look at someone and say, "I wished I had blue
eyes and straight hair." For this reason, many of the Lumbee
boys and girls that married, eloped, because they could not
satisfy their parents enough on this particular issue. But this
is no more a factor, because they have become aware of their
P: Well, in cases where the marriage was acceptable from the
parents' point of view, were weddings large elaborate things?
D: No. Weddings have never been something that there was much
interest placed upon. Recently, we had a wedding at our church.
This young lady majored in music, and her husband graduated from
Pembroke. Her father is very outstanding, he is a college
graduate. Her mother has taught school, and they have done very
well among our young, married people here in Pembroke. His
daughter is getting married, but the only thing that they slip
into the church bulletin is to ask all the friends of the family
that wanted to attend the wedding.
But there will not be many people there and only a few close
friends will go. Just a few people that are interested in seeing
one of these things will go. There will not be many people there
to take part in it.
P: So weddings are relatively simple affairs.
P: Certainly much more so as compared with funerals.
D: That is right.
P: The funerals call for the greatest amount of ceremonial. Is
there anything especially attached to the birth of a child or a
D: There are christenings in the Methodist Church, but there is not
much significance attached to the birth of a child in the family.
It is just a normal thing, another child in the family. Now,
usually, where there are families that we call the upper crust of
society, why, they kind of get excited. Like, for instance, my
wife and I were excited about our son and his wife.
P: But this is a personal kind of thing.
D: Yes, this is a personal kind of thing, and no one else has any
interest or concern.
P: And there is no Lumbee Indian tradition associated with any of
D: No, not at all, not at all.
P: So the funeral, then, death is the thing that seems to be
D: This is Lumbee, and it is tradition in that everybody sympathizes
Everybody has concern to the extent that maybe the entire group
will weep with the family.
P: Whether they know them or not?
D: Whether they know them or not. It more or less gets to be a real
noisy affair, where people will cry out loud and yell and so
forth. I guess, by this taking place, the crowd reacts as they
do. This is usually a thing that happens and is still with us
today. In fact, there were five bells in our different churches
last Sunday. There were crowds, tremendous crowds at all these
P: Mr. Dial, earlier I asked you about the role of the woman in the
Lumbee family structure. I wanted to ask you about the role of
D: Well, up until recently, children have always stood back and
taken their place, what was called their place in the family
circle. When visitors would come children would never be seen or
heard. They would never be allowed to go to the table and eat
with the guests or the visitors. Children were never allowed to
speak or offer suggestions at all. It is this way in some homes
today. Now among the people who were fortunate enough to get an
education, they made things different for their children and
brought them up differently.
But in many homes today, I would say, in about fifty per cent of
the homes, the children are put out of the house or they sit in a
room somewhere. If they do manage to stay around and they happen
to say something and they are near by, a parent will quickly slap
them in the mouth to make them hush. They will not allow them to
participate whatsoever, and this is Lumbee tradition.
P: Then the Lumbee children, certainly in the older traditional
family, played no role in making family decisions?
D: No role whatsoever. My father's family was brought up this way.
My family, my mother and father brought us up this way. They
allowed us to make no suggestions or play no role whatsoever in
P: The so-called democratic family, then, was not a part of the
D: No, and I remember when I was twenty-one when I left and entered
the service. I had never walked off the ground away from my home
without notifying my mother and getting permission from her if I
could go. Whereas now, I see boys and girls, twelve years of
age, and younger that walk off. They do not tell their parents
anything. They stay as long as they want to and return when they
want to. My mother and daddy would never allow this and they
would not tolerate it. It was a traditional thing with families
during my childhood.
P: Mr. Dial, what is happening with the Lumbee Indian children
today? Are they becoming so acculturated, so much a part of the
white society that they are breaking with these traditions?
D: The Lumbee Indian children today are not exactly breaking with
these traditions. They are so discouraged at the treatment that
they are getting and do not feel like they have a place in this
society here. This is the thing that hurts the Lumbee Indians so
Many of our brilliant boys and girls leave the community. They
go somewhere else and make a living They adopt the white man's
ways and so forth and stay there until they have their family.
Until their family grows up, their children may not even return
to this community to meet their grandparents or their nephews and
relatives whatsoever. Then after that they will return here, and
this is still being practiced.
I have come across a book or I know about all the people in
Baltimore that have taken their children and their family up
there. They themselves will return but their children are so
well adapted to that society that they will never come back here
to live, I do not think. But their mothers and fathers will.
P: In this area, are you having any special drug problems with the
Lumbee young people?
D: The drug problem, you might say, is a virgin thing among the
Lumbee Indian boys and girls. I think this is mostly due to the
growth of the college and the university. Our Indian boys and
girls never knew anything of drugs and smoking marijuana until
the college boys brought this into the area.
Then some of our Indian men or people saw the advantages in this.
They took advantage of it and began to distribute it and sell it
to our younger boys and girls. But, it is not exactly a bad
thing with us yet. I think it is growing and getting even
stronger with all the tradition and everything that we have, you
must go this way or you must do this or do that.
Our boys and girls are ignoring us now. For instance, the long
hair problem was something that did not come to our community
very quickly. It eased in because of the college boys and girls
and it still is a thing that is talked about and discussed quite
a bit today among Lumbee parents.
I know many Lumbee Indian parents and father, I would say about
eighty per cent of them, will not allow their sons to grow long
hair. They will not allow their daughters to wear the short
bermuda pants or the short shorts or the mini skirts and so
forth. This is traditional, if a Lumbee Indians feels like this
is wrong and that it is a disgrace, they do not mind telling you
In fact, I know several parents who have been turning their
children out. They ran them away from home because of the long
hair and the modern traditions that they were trying to adopt and
bring into their home. They just will not stand for it.
P: Are you saying, then, that the Lumbee are pretty moralistic in
D: I think, I am not saying it because I am a Lumbee, but I think
the Lumbee is very moralistic in his attitudes, much more that
any other people. This comes from the fact that they are so
religious. They depend on the church of their religion. I think
this is where their moralistic ideas come in.
In fact, one thing, if you do not attend church, you are an awful
fellow, regardless of how you live and how you get along with
your fellow man. Just the fact that you do not attend church
makes you a terrible fellow in the eyes of most Lumbee.
P: Most Lumbee go to church regularly?
D: Most Lumbee go to church regularly. It is a pressure that is
placed upon them, because of this tradition and this society.
P: What happens to the non-church going family or fellow?
D: Well, he is not thought too well of. He is not associated with
much. People do not sympathize with him as they would with those
who attend church. They are not eager to help him. This is one
thing that you have probably discovered, even with your close
your association with me.
A Lumbee is always trying to do something to help someone or
trying to give them something, trying to make the other person
feel that he cares or maybe that he likes them or something like
this. Most people that come to live among the Lumbee find this
out, they take advantage of it. They plant themselves here and
they like to live here because of this; because of what we call
The greatest hospitality in the world is practiced among the
Lumbee Indians. If you had the time, and could stay around, long
enough, I think that you would be willing to sanction me in this
and find this out.
P: (laughs) What about the Lumbee attitude toward many things which
are going on in the American community, today; the sex
revolution, for instance? The prevalence of pornography? Girls
getting pregnant before marriage?
D: Oh well, a girl that usually does this, generally among the
Lumbee, is an outcast.
P: She is an outcast.
D: She is an outcast from then until she goes to her grave. She can
never straighten up and she can never remove that scar, or that
name. This is one thing that I have tried to do, and one of the
things that I have tried to do when I took over the school as
There was no law saying a girl that had had a baby could not
return to school. I thought that it was better to get girls back
in school that had had this misfortune, and get them educated so
they would not continue to bring these families, large families
of children and get them on the welfare. I found that it helped
quite a bit. But the community was real sour toward me. Through
the respect they had for me, and everything, they agreed with me
to bring these girls back into school and to get them educated,
and so forth. But this is an awful thing among the Lumbee that
this has happened.
P: Both in the family and in the community at large?
D: Both in the family and in the community and at large.
P: Does the church take any stand on this?
D: The church, definitely, yes. This is where this comes from.
This is preached and taught in the church. This is just an awful
shame and they just cannot live it down, just cannot get from
under it once it happens. You will find very few Lumbee that
feel as I do, because of my knowledge and my acquaintances with
other people, the contacts I have had, I guess.
P: What about the Indian attitude toward alcohol?
D: Oh, it is a dreadful thing. They feel the same way toward
alcohol and beer. This is why you find that Robeson County is
one of the driest counties in the United States. You will note
that there is a liquor store in town.
P: A liquor store where?
D: In Pembroke.
P: There is one in Pembroke? So Robeson County is not officially a
D: It is not officially dry, anymore. Yet, it is one of the
P: I see.
D: The politicians had to slip this liquor store in town, you might
say, in the darkness. Put it in here without the people knowing
about it. They did not have a chance to vote or a chance to know
about it coming in. They had it in here before we know anything
We have bootlegging and making of whiskey, and so forth, in our
county. Just like in a lot of other places. And if your are
seen visiting in one of these homes, regardless of whether you
drink or not, they put out on you right quick. And boy, they use
it as a weapon against you. You just cannot afford to be caught
visiting them, or entering one of these homes for business.
P: Is whiskey served generally in the home, cocktails or wine at
dinner, and so forth?
D: Oh, that is a terrible thing for anyone to do, to serve whiskey
or cocktails in the house. You see the white man uses this, too.
Because the Lumbee, you know how the Lumbee feels about this. He
uses this as a weapon to try to destroy someone. You know, their
character, their position, their job, and so forth; they use
this, too, as weapons against the Lumbee Indians. Because of the
strong traditional idea that it should not be done among the
P: So the Lumbee are pretty adamant, then, about drugs, and about
alcohol, and about all of these other things.
D: Yes, they are.
P: I want to switch to another area that we have not talked about,
at all. I want to get it on the tape. That is of course this Ku
Klux Klan activity of the 1950's. I wondered if you could give
me the background of that, and describe the incident as either
you saw it, or know about it.
D: Well, the Ku Klux Klan incident came out of the Lumberton area.
There are a lot of Indians living in the Lumberton area. The
Indians of the Lumberton area live, you might say, in the gutter
and in shanties and so forth.
These low class whites visited in the Indian area and the Indians
visit the low class whites; drinking beer bouts and so forth.
This Indian man was visiting in this white home. He was visiting
this Indian lady. They got to be a very common thing. He was
going over, too often, seeing this woman too often. So the
whites did not want that to happen anymore. The Klan burned two
or three crosses in the yard.
P: In Lumberton?
D: In Lumberton. They tried to prevent this from happening,
P: This was prior to 1958, or was this in 1958?
D: This was in 1958. This was leading up to the confrontation with
the Klan. So, they could not stop it there. I think they took
the mother and the children away from home, and they burned the
home. There were several other incidents where it was occurring,
but it was not as common as it was with this couple.
After they burned a few crosses in the various people's yards,
that were practicing this, they saw they were not having any
effect. It was not preventing this from happening. So they met
up here above Maxton, out at the Presbyterian Junior college.
Right off campus, there in the field. Cole, who was the head of
the Ku Klux Klan, lived in Florence, South Carolina.
P: What was his name?
D: James Cole. He was reared by an aunt of mine. He lived in her
home, an Indian home, for a long time. This has been a surprise
to us. Right there at Prospect school where we visited, he lived
in a home across from the school for about five years.
At the time, in 1958, he became Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan
He was determined to straighten these Indians out, and prevent
these Indians from marrying white and having relationships with
one another. So, they met over here in the field in Maxton.
The Indians received a warning and a call. They sent out a
warning and a call too, for the Klan not to come. That if they
came, they would not put on their rally. So for a day or two, it
was serious thing. The closer it got to the time that the Klan
was supposed to meet, the more serious that it became.
P: Now, could I have a date on this?
D: I do not have the exact date, but it is in Lew Barton's book.
P: I think he said September.
D: I think so.
P: September 22.
D: As they came, the Indians began to put out the call to all these
different places, where there were other Indians; in Clinton,
Fayetteville, Baltimore, and even Detroit. Many of the boys in
service at Fort Bragg, they came in here that evening.
Sem Oxindine, he is Sonny Oxidnine's son (who was mayor of
Pembroke at that time), was a veteran that served in World War
II. He runs the Pembroke Esso station. He and a former sheriff
of Pembroke, known as Shell Warriax, who is Lew Barton's brother-
in-law. He was living in Charlotte, at the time, and he got in
touch with Shell. Sem and Shell led the crew, that night, on the
Klan. I guess there were about 5,000 men, with sightseers and
everything, that invaded the Klan that night. They just did get
set up and got started.
P: Now, the Klan had already assembled in the field adjacent to the
D: That is right.
P: Have you any idea how many Klan persons there were?
D: I think there were about 20 of them, at this time. There would
have been more if they had gotten there. They ran into
difficulty with all these people. They heard about it on the
way, so they turned around.
P: They were afraid?
P: The twenty of them did assemble, including Cole.
D: Yes, that is right. There were several highway patrolmen in the
area who tried to prevent these people from coming down. Even
Sheriff McCloud, who was Robeson County's sheriff could not do
anything with all these Lumbee. They had so many weapons and
everything. When they put up their light and started to put up
their table, the Lowry boys shot the light out. This is another
group of Lowry boys that was right in front.
P: Are these Lowrys from Pembroke?
D: These Lowrys are from Pembroke, some of them teachers, some of
them graduated from Pembroke. They shot out the lights and
everyone began to take to the woods. The Klan began to run for
the swamp. There is a swamp near there and they began to run
towards the swamp and try to get their cars out.
They really did not hurt anyone, they just tried to get them on
the fly. I think there were about two or three people that were
hit with some shot. Two or three of the Klan were hit with some
shot. So they ran them away and stayed there for about three or
four hours to see if any of them would return. They did not
return to the Klan's side.
All the members that were there practically marched back to
Pembroke, and burned Cole in effigy, right on the railroad
tracks. The news reporters from all over the country were here
and they saw all of them there and came into town. They were
here for the cross and for the burning of Cole in effigy and all
Sem and Shell worked with the man that is standing in the picture
in Life magazine. Shell is so much Indian he looks so much
Indian, his hair is real straight and he looks like an Indian.
This was quite an asset, in a way.
It is something that I did not participate in. It was something
that I was sorry of that happened at that time. In a way, I did
not know it would do us as much good as it did, but it publicized
us. Our name was scattered all over the country. This was the
first time they knew that there were Lumbee Indians in
California, Canada, Washington D.C., Maine and places like that.
P: You say you were not involved.
D: No, I was not involved in that. I did not take part.
P: Did this mark the turning point in Lumbee Indian identification?
D: Yes. This marked the turning point in Lumbee Indian
identification and recognition, not only on the statewide level,
but on the national level. And, I think worldwide. As Lew
Barton said, he received letters all the way from Japan and
wherever there was a Lumbee Indian stationed in the service at
There were calls and telegrams sent home. There were people who
knew about this and Life magazine made a great publication of it.
This went all over the place, all over the world through Life
Then conditions began to change, somewhat. We began to gain a
little recognition through our stand. So many people began to
challenge the old ways that we had been used to in the drugstores
and in the restaurants and the cafes and so forth. Things really
never opened up for much until after the Klan rally.
P: Mr. Dial, I wanted you to tell me about the fight to save Old
Main, we do not have that on tape.
D: Well, in the first of December, the alumni meeting was in
December. This is the main meeting that we have for the year,
where they had the opening basketball game.
P: First of all, what year is this?
D: This was in 1972.
P: This year?
P: Well, now if it was in December....
D: Oh, I am sorry it was 1971.
P: Tell us what Old Main is.
D: At the first basketball game, they have the crowning of Miss PSU
[Pembroke State University]. They have a big dinner. This
usually begins on Friday evening and goes through Saturday night.
The Alumni Association met and at the dinner Dr. Jones showed a
movie and film of Old Main and the campus and explained
everything to the Alumni Association. He told about the growth
of the University and the money and the state appropriations and
how much it had grown since 1952. He indicated what the state
appropriation was for this year and what they would be used for.
Then he comes to the screen with this pretty architectural
drawing and this model that someone has made for him. He tells
them that this is the wonderful building that is going to replace
Old Main, and stand in her sight. Everyone just sits there, in
awe, and caught up in the praise and the glamour of the situation
and they do not respond or say anything.
P: Were you at the dinner?
D: No, but they said it was quite an affair. They did not respond
in any way. I had never heard of Old Main being destroyed and
some building put in its place until I read it in the paper. I
read about the alumni affair and what had taken place.
That Monday morning I went to work after reading Sunday's
Robesonian. I called Dr. Jones and I asked him, I said, "Dr.
Jones, isn't there some way that we can preserve this building
and save it from destruction?" He said, "No, this has been in
our plans for several years and we plan to put the new Arts
Auditorium there." Well, I said, "I think Old Main should be
restored and kept there as a monument to the Indian people."
I began to tell him about the funeralizing, the picnicking, the
games and the celebrations that we had at what we called school
closings and what Old Main meant to us. He still agreed that
should not bother anybody, that there was no sentiment attached
to that. Our modern education among the Lumbee Indians started
with Old Main graduates. The first class to graduate out of Old
Main has what we call the two year normal certificate. These
people really did lay the foundation for Indian education all
over the county in the various Indian communities, and Indian
To me, I thought this had a reason for making Old Main a
historical building and historical site. The first drama that
we ever had was held in Old Main. He and I talked to each other
for about forty-five minutes.
P: He was friendly?
D: He was very friendly. He told me that it was impossible. So, I
began to think, and I called Lew Barton. I called some other
Indian people and asked them about it. They began to see my
point of view. They said I was too late. There was no reason in
the world for me to try and do anything, because I could not.
Then I called Dr. Jones again. I told him, I said, "Dr. Jones, I
plan to save that building, if it is possible." Well, he said,
"You are nothing. You cannot do that. I do not have to say
anything to you because I think you are a smart man, a fellow
that has a lot of sense and morals. You know you cannot do that.
There is no use in trying, as I tried to tell you." I said,
"Well, I believe that ten thousand names can tell you something,
and can tell the governor something." I said that within two
weeks I will have ten thousand names on paper. In fact, I will
have ten thousand names in a week if it is necessary, before I
see that building go down. He said, "You can do no such thing.
You cannot even get half those people in a week's time, much less
ten thousand, in a week." I said, "Well, maybe I can't, but, I
will die trying. I want you to understand that I am not doing
this to offend you, or to hurt you, or to hurt the college. I am
not against you, or your program and I am not against you. In
fact, I am proud that you are president of Pembroke. There is no
organization or anything pushing me to do this. This is my
feeling and this is the sentiment of some other people. They
feel like you do, that this is impossible. I believe if I get
ten thousand signatures, that somebody will listen."
By that evening, I was out distributing papers in all the Indian
centers in Robeson County. I finished up about 11:00 that night,
so by the end of the week I had about 7500 names. Then, because
of the Robesonian and the publicity that had gotten out, Paul
Samson, who is in Illinois, Brantley Blue in Washington, Tom
Oxindine in Washington, and people from Pembroke came to my aid.
They began to write to the Robesonian and send letters and make
calls back here. Then when the Lumbee saw that people like
Brantley Blue, Tom Oxindine and Paul Samson.
P: You were putting out the money from your own pocket to finance
the 'Save the Old Main.'
D: Yes, I went out and saw some young people that were not working
and had transportation. I paid as high as $75.00 to one girl, in
one day to go through the Indian community and stand at
restaurants and cafes and get names. That is why I was able to
get these 7000 names by week end. Then, when these men away from
here began to add their two cents, and they began to write in and
call, they aroused the other people that were asleep. Everyone,
then, began to join them.
P: Meanwhile, you are in January, of 1972, after Christmas.
D: Right, then we were worried because the governor would not listen
to us. I had sent him a telegram. I had sent him a letter. He
would not answer anything that I sent.
P: This is Governor who?
D: Governor Bob Scott [1969-1973] who is the present governor now,
of North Carolina.
P: He did not respond to either letter or telegram?
D: He would not respond to my letter or telegram, or anything, it
seemed like. I waited and waited and waited. Then I sent a
telegram, about two pages. I forget what the telegram cost me to
send, but I knew I had 300 and some signatures on the telegram.
I sent it to him and he would not even answer that. It was about
six weeks before I got any message from him whatsoever.
Before I got a message from him, I had to get a message to the
White House. I went through Commissioner Blue to Harry Den, who
was assistant to the President on these things. He received my
telegram that evening by 6:00 P.M. By 8:00 that night, he was
calling back to Pembroke wanting to know who Danford Dial was and
everything. He checked me out through Jones and other people.
Scott got the message also that night. I think it was the next
day or so, I received a letter from Scott.
P: Supporting this?
D: No, not supporting it, acknowledging the cause, and so forth. He
was sympathetic, but there was not anything that he could do. He
had to go along with the Administration and the Council of State.
I had called Cameron West, who is in Raleigh, and was head of the
North Carolina Board of Education, several times. He would not
give me any satisfaction. He would not talk to me either. The
last time I talked with him, I slammed the receiver in his face.
I said, "If Old Main goes down, I will go down with it, and there
will be Lumbee at my side. If you can stand that and the state
of North Carolina can stand that, send the bulldozers and your
guards and everything else to Pembroke. We are ready and waiting
But after the Federal Government contacted them and several calls
came from Washington, Sam Ervin [U.S. Senator, 1954-1974, North
Carolina] also put in a plea to the Council of State and
Governor, I think this kind of softened things up.
Then we secured Barry McKell, as a lawyer, who is a professor of
law at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill. He took
our case and told us about the impact study that had to be made.
The state and the national one, before something like this could
be done. We began to work with him. But the thing that really
put the interest and the pep in the movement was Dalton Brooks
and Harold Deese, whom you met with yesterday and had dinner.
P: Who is Dalton Brooks?
D: He is Martin Brooks' brother. He came in late yesterday, right
after we had lunch? The young man that you met at Brooks'
P: Oh yes.
D: Dalton Brooks, Harold Deese, me and about twelve other young
people took signs and cards and we marched from LRDA. That is
the old Carolina Inn in town, all the way through town, down to
the college, around Old Main and the Administration Building
chanting, "Save Old Main. Save Old Main."
I think the thing that added some humor to the parade was me,
this little short fella with a great big road sign, red road
sign, with a STOP on it. I had tied cords through the holes in
the road sign and I put this around my neck and stood out in
front and led the march.
We chanted "Save Old Main, Save Old Main." No one here had ever
seen anyone march, or demonstrate before in Pembroke, until I led
the demonstration march on Save Old Main, with this big, red Stop
sign, in front of me.
Then we had 300 people join our group and came to our aid. These
people joined our group because of their feelings toward Old
Main, but they were Tuscaroras. They were the people that called
themselves Tuscaroras, they live across the river. They do this
because they do not like the Lumbee Indian name, because it was
legislated and given to us by Dr. Fuller Lowry. But, they joined
in the march to save Old Main. They marched, the next day, from
twelve until 7:00 that night.
But, my employer told me that I could not march anymore during
hours, that I had to wait until after hours. So, I joined them
at 5:00 that evening and marched until 7:30 that night. A
thunder cloud and a shower ran us off the campus. We did stay
there and students would come by and ask us why we wanted to save
Old Main; why we were out there demonstrating.
Now the Lumbee Indians, as a whole, did not like the
demonstration. They did not approve of it because they say that
this was a black habit; that only blacks would do such a thing.
Lumbee Indians did not do such a thing. For that reason, I had
to call the demonstrations off.
But, we demonstrated once more. That was the time the Council of
State came to Pembroke with Dr. Friday, since Pembroke had joined
the university system now. They marched and had these mothers
and children and men standing in various places. They were
holding up signs. There were certain people in the group, like
Dr. Jones, and Zeb Lowry, that we called apples. We asked the
Council of States to take all the apples with them back to
Raleigh, and it was quite a humorous thing.
This made quite an impression on that group to see these old
mothers out there. These young children and these mothers with
young babies in their arms standing there. There were more
women, standing that morning, old women like my mother and
Adolph's mother in this demonstration. I think this had quite an
effect on the people.
P: Well, when was the decision made to save Old Main?
D: The decision was made about three weeks ago. I would say about
July 14. They met and...
P: Who is they?
D: The College Board of Trustees and the Administration. Dr. Jones
and they met and said they had purchased 15 acres of the other
land from Mrs. Crassie Lowry, who at one time owned most of the
college campus. They had decided to put the Arts Auditorium at
the new site, facing the St. Ann's road and above the grade
school. Dr. Jones gave the statement that he wondered how we
were going to repair this building and how we were going to get
the money to renovate it? You see, he does not want the people
at the historical society [State Historical Society] to recognize
Old Main as being of value and that it should be preserved.
As long as this stands in the way, we will have problems getting
this building renovated. But, if we could get the Sate
Historical Society to recognize that Old Main is of historical
significance, then the National Historical Society would
recognize it. They have already more or less promised this to
Mr. Blue and Mr. Oxindine in Washington. The money would be
forthcoming and would be a joint effort with the State and the
National Government. And it would not be a costly thing to the
Lumbee Indian people.
We would like to see this building renovated and put back to use,
just for classrooms and other things, just as it had been all the
time. Now, we do have enough artifacts and so forth that we have
gathered from Lumbee Indians and from people that we could have
two or three rooms for a museum. We would also like to put all
the papers that have been about the drive to save Old Main. We
would like to put them in one of these rooms and house them there
with the other things that we have.
P: Mr. Dial you mentioned a name I want an identification on, a Mr.
Paul Sampson, as one of the supporters of this, a man from
D: Paul Sampson is the son of Oscar Sampson, who was a tremendous
teacher and Indian leader among us for many years. One of the
founders of Indian education in Robeson County. He left from
here at a young age after he finished high school.
P: This is Paul, now.
D: Yes. He went to McKendree College in Illinois, where most
Indians attended, prior to Pembroke becoming a college. He
married out there. He returned here to work among these people,
with his family and his wife.
He was not accepted because he had married white and because he
knew so much. He wanted to do so much to help raise the standard
of education and to raise the Indian level in all areas, so far
as that is concerned. He tried and did the best he could for
three years and he just could not take it anymore. He took his
wife and their son to Illinois. He has been out there since
1939; he has been back in Illinois.
P: Doing what?
D: Teaching school. He is teaching out there.
P: Now, tell me about the Tuscarora Indians, that you mentioned. I
had not heard about them living here.
D: The Tuscarora Indians are a group of people that live across
Lumber River in what we call the settlement community. That is
out on the 710 and across 74 Highway as you are going west of
Pembroke into Maxton. A lot of these people are descendants of
Henry Barry Lowry. But the Lowrys do not claim them in that they
are uneducated, and they have not really been active in schools
and so forth. Their living conditions are kind of below
standard. They are poor people that depend on welfare.
P: Are they an Indian Group?
D: Yes. They are an Indian group. They are more Indian than the
group here in town, to some extent. When there was a movement
here in the 1920s and 1930s to get Indian recognition, as all the
other Indian tribes were getting, this was led by John Brooks.
Who is Dalton Brooks' uncle and Dr. Martin Brooks' uncle.
They came and examined twenty-one of these people that called
themselves Tuscaroras. Out of twenty-one examined, I do not know
how this was done, and I do not know by what means, except a
blood test. They claimed that there were twenty-one of these
people that passed the test. They had anywhere from seventy-five
to ninety percent. If fact, there was some of them who had
claimed to be complete Indian.
P: Did they have any kind of organization and leader?
D: Yes. They have an organization. We plan to take their leader.
He is a young man who went to Pembroke for two years and his
relatives belong to this group, Carnell Locklear, is their
leader. They pay him a salary and also furnish him an automobile
to drive. He has been before Bruce with their problems. He has
taken them and paraded and demonstrated at the welfare department
because of the treatment that they have received. He has really
moved and done a lot of things to help these people. The
treatment and the recognition that they have gotten lately, has
been rather pleasant compared to what it was last January or last
P: They think of themselves as being different, separate from the
D: No, they do not think of themselves as being different or
separate. But, they call themselves Tuscaroras because the
Tuscarora Indians, at one time, inhabited this area and many of
them were left here. The Lowry blood and the blood of these
people came directly from the Tuscaroras.
P: Do they feel that they can trace themselves back in any way to
the Lost Colony?
D: Yes they do. They claim this as strong as anyone.
P: Just like the Lumbee.
D: Yes. But they do not like the Lumbee name because it was a
legislated thing. The Lumbee bill took so many of our rights
away from us. We were hoping to get them back with the Lumbee
bill that Jordan had to present to the Congress, if he had been
re-elected. But he was not re-elected and Galfanaks [U. S.
Congressman, North Carolina], who replaced him said that he would
see that this bill would go through, giving us all the rights to
scholarships and other things just as other Indians have.
P: Are you optimistic about the future, Mr. Dial, the future of the
D: I am not optimistic anymore. I have just decided. I should not
be this way, but I think that with the coming of integration at
the schools and the attitude of Dr. Jones at the college, that
the Lumbee Indian is going to completely lose his role aspects.
Unless, he will be able to assimilate himself and join the white
man and his ways he either has to go one of two ways.
P: What do you mean, one of these two ways? What are these?
D: He has either to go black or white. If he goes black, he will go
as if he was in the dark ages.
P: Well, that is less likely to happen than him going white, isn't
D: I really do not know, because the breadbasket becomes a lot of
things with the Lumbee. There are not many of them that will
stand and suffer. Take the humiliation and other things that my
family and I have suffered in the past year for the cause and the
rights of the Lumbee. I have not found anybody that would do
this with the exception of Lew Barton. He is the only man I know
P: But, do you feel that the Lumbee would go in that direction, the
D: No, they will quit the schools and they will quit everything
before they go. This is the tragic thing about it.
P: The whites will stand in their way if they try to go in that
D: Yes. The blacks will stand in their way if they try to go in
that direction too, which, the Lumbee do not care to go.
P: Well, this leaves only the Lumbee this middle position, of
D: The thing about it though, is that they will become uneducated
again and untrained and they will not know the real ways of
civilization and culture. They will leave all of this,
completely, because the number of children that did not enter
public school at all this year is fantastic among the Lumbee
because of integration. Then the number that entered and dropped
out because of integration and the treatment that they received
P: Where is the truant officers and the compulsive school attendance
laws in North Carolina, for these children who have not entered
school and have dropped out?
D: Well, you know, it is rather peculiar. When you go, and I have
had this happen many times in court, when you go to the court
with the case of Lumbee children being out of school, they laugh
at you. They play you off as being stupid and ignorant. They do
not care how, they will tell them they should go to school. They
do not do anything and they make no effort, whatsoever, to see
that he does go to school. Because they want to keep him
ignorant, and so forth. Then, when you go to court to defend
someone in a case where it is manslaughter or murder or something
like that has been committed, they holler and yell at you, "Ya
damn dumb Indian, why don't you go to school and get some
education? How stupid can you be?" They might have someone
there, white, on trial and in the same predicament, but they only
yell at the Indians and say things like that.
P: Do you feel that the courts are prejudiced against the Lumbee?
D: I wished you could have a day in court with me when they are
P: How about the police?
D: And hear the remarks that are made by people from the white
society that are supposed to be culturally trained and
intelligent. The way they use the names and the wording, and the
way they yell at the Lumbee.
P: What about the police and the sheriff's office in Robeson County?
D: They treat them the same way. For instance, one young man was
driving a white man's car and he was under the influence. The
man that owned the car was under the influence. They took the
man that was driving the white man's car and put him in prison.
They found out that he had ninety dollars on him, on his person.
They put him in prison and wanted him to put out this ninety
dollars and put up $250 bond. When his family went to see him
and to talk with him, they even threatened locking them up if
they did not get out of there, if they could not get bond for
him. But they turned the white man loose that owned the car,
that was under the influence, too, and let him go his way. He
went back to his job. But they would not even let this young man
stand in the visit room, or talk with him or anything.
P: Are there any Indians on the police force, or on the sheriff's
D: Yes. But they are very detrimental to the Indian.
P: The Indians, themselves, are detrimental to their fellow Indians?
D: Yes, because they mistreat them terribly.
P: Are there any blacks on the police force?
D: Yes, but the Indians that are on the police force stand in danger
of losing their life almost instantly at anytime. All I can say
is, that he better make sure he stays in the right place and when
he goes out to make an arrest he had better have enough
P: So, the Indian policeman, then, is worse hated than the white
D: Yes, he is.
P: He is the worst kind of apple?
D: Hate him with a passion. That is right, the worst kind of an
apple. You said it correctly. He will do anything, at playing
the game, to get from the Indians or to trap his fellow man. He
will not give him a chance, or give him any fair showing
whatsoever. They all come alive on him and try to get him tied
up and hooked up, somewhere, so they go along with the court and
the courts decision.
P: Mr. Dial, can you think of anything else that we ought to get on
D: No, except I would like for you to know more about this treatment
P: Perhaps you can document some of this with your...
D: How the Indian is really treated in court. I hope you have not
been misled to believe that the Indian has a fair share and his
role here is pleasant in North Carolina. I am not one of the
bitter ones to say this, but Mr. Adolph, who is well set and well
fixed himself due to the success of the building program and so
forth, he was able to upgrade himself and get recognition through
the Methodist Conference. He got on these various committees and
became a wealthy man. He is not particularly interested in the
Lumbee Indian as such. He is using the Lumbee Indian in writing
this book and all for Mr. Dial's benefit. It is not for the
Lumbee Indian's benefit.
I will tell you that Mr. Dial is the Doris Duke Foundation. The
Methodist Foundation gave him the money, $19,000 to write this
book. I hope he does a good job and I hope he does justice by
it. This will add much prestige to him. Then for him, a man
that is able to build a bank building and Rose's five and ten
cent store, he is not buying very much of this other man's 250
acre land. He is pretty wealthy in anybody's society. Whether
he is Lumbee, white or what. Mr. Dial takes the stand of an
Indian as much as he can, but if he had to, when it came to
deciding one way or the other, it would be no problem for him to
say, "No. I do not care a thing for those people. I am not a
Lumbee Indian." He would not deny it quickly.