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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
LUM 4, Side 1
Lew Barton: This is tape one, side one of the Oral History program sponsored by the
Doris Duke Foundation through the Department of History of the University of
Florida under the direction of Professor Samuel Proctor. I am Lew Barton, LYm-
bee Indian poet, historian, and newspaper columnist. My newspaper column is
called Indian Newsbeat. My address is Post Office Box 35, Pembroke, P-e-m-b-
r-o-k-e, Pembroke, North Carolina, zip 28372; telephone number 919-521-9300.
And this is the introductory portion of the Lumbee Indian segment of the program.
For the sake of clarification, I shall give you a newspaper item appearing in
the Lumberton,North Carolina RobeXsonian, August 3, 1972. Living history jape
recorded Pembroke) the Doris Duke Foundation organized.a team of local researchers
Monday to tape the Oral History of the Lumbee Indians, organized by Dr. Samuel
Proctor, Professor of History at the University of Florida. The four-member
team consists of Danford Dial, that's D=i-a-1, Lew Barton, B-a-r-t-o-n, Mrs.
Janie Maynor Locklear, that's M-a-y-n-o-r L-o-c-k-l-e-a-r, and Mrs. Brenda
Brewington Brooks, B-r-e-w-i-n-g-t-o-n B-r-o-o-k-s. Professor Proctor, P-r-o-
c-t-o-r, who is Director of the Oral WHiNsax Indian History Program throughout
the United States directed the team of which Danford Dial is coordinator, to
obtain interviews of some 200 persons in the Lumbee River Valley. Dr. Proctor
will be in North Carolina throughout the week. The Oral History Program is a
new concept in history-gathering. Key person are interviewed throughout, I,
excuse me, through use of a portable tape recorder. Tapes are collected and
housed at the University of Florida but copies of the interview are made avail-
able to institutions of higher learning :kaK throughout the U.S. including Pem-
broke State University. Typed copies of the transcripts will also be made
available to writers, researchers, students and other interested persons. And
this is the end, the, this is the conclusion of the item which appeared in the
August 3rd edition of the Lumberton N.C. Robe)rsonian. Inasmuch as I have ber
LUM 4, iSide 1 ---2---
B: asked to introduce the Lumbee segment of the program, I deem it appropriate to
interview first of all Mr. J. A. Sharpe4unior, that's S-h-a-r-p-e, SharpeJunior
Editor of the Lumberton N.C. Robexgsonian. that's L-u-m-b-e-r-t-o-n and the
name of that paper is R-o-b-e-s-o-n-i-a-n, a county daily except Saturday news-
paper which has been successfully publishing in Robeson County for more than
a century. Not only has this newspaper dealt in vital matters intimately con-
nected with the lives of Robeson's people during all these yearsit had taken
a special interest in the history of the area, publishing a number of special
historical editions from time to time. This is August 24, 1972. I am Lew Bar-
ton and I am in the office of Mr. J. A. Sharpe, S-h-a-r-p-e, J. A. Sharpe Jr.,
Editor of the Robesonian here in Lumberton, North Carolina. Mr. Sharpe, I cer-
tainly appreciate this interview and if you will for the sake of our listeners,
I would be happy if you would first give me just a few biographical details,
your age'and if you'd like something about your family because I know our
readers are very interested in anything connected with this program.
Sharpe: MY, my age will be 60 in a couple of months and I've lived in Robeson County
ail my life except for awhile away in college and in the armed forces in World
War II. My family has lived in this county since 1907, and my father was Edi-
tor of the paper from that year until his death in 1947 upon which I assumed
the responsibility for continued operation of the Robesonian.
B: So you've been Editor of the paper since 1947?
B: You've seen a good many things happen. You've seen change take place. You've
seen good days and bad even during your lifetime, 1Ixm1 mean during the time
that you've been Editor of the paper?
S: Oh yes. We have lived through good times and bad. Long-range I think there's
been a great deal of progress and improvement.
LUM 4, Side 1 ---3---
B: That's great. I, I don't plan to ask any trick questions. But as I was talking,
I was wondering if you thought of any changes which have taken place within
maybe the last ten years. So many changes have taken place really, it would
be impossible to enumerate them all but I was wondering if you'd care to com-
ment on any of those changes. Course that's up to you, we don't, we're not
supposed to ...
S: Well we have, we have had changes in many areas including the economic area.
Industry has begun to come into this county. There was a build-up during the
'sixties continuing on into the 'seventies and this has been tremendously help-
ful. Actually it's been quite necessary because of the decline of employ-
ment in agriculture. This has been the most noticeable thing RmaHla economic-
ally, the economic, the build-up in industry. And, of course, there have been
changes in our school situation resulting from changes in national policy
regard to minorities,and these have, these have come about fairly rapidly in
this county and without a great deal of commotion)although the changes them-
selves have been rather significant.
B: That's xikt right. I wanted to, I certainly appreciate those remarks and I
ma= would like to ask you if you have any remarks you would like to make in
reference to the history of the county and its importance, significance.
S: Well I, I assume in this particular context you're referring primarily to the
B: Well, of course, you and I are interested in all the county's history and I
don't think we can divorce it from, we can't divorce the Indian History from
the rest of the history,but anything you have to say along those lines, the
sky is the limit.
S: Well it happens that the Indian History is the history in which most people,
particularly visitors and new-comers, are interested. Anyone who takes up
LUM 4, Side 1 ---4---
S (cont.): residence in Robeson County may become curious about the Indian population
within a nwk week, a day, even within the first hour. This, this has been
difficult throughout my lifetime and in so many instances I've seen people who
seemed rather dis tan-w"zi ed in the area generally, have seen them perk up
when the Indian population is mentioned. K Of course this reflects the fact
that there are some racial differences here. If everybody was entirely alike
why,, there'd be no such interest in these distinctive differences. For a good
many years the county has been visited by writers historians and scholars from
other parts of the country and in, aixm almost invariably, these visits ht have
been inspired by interest in the Indian pamiaia population ianthe county.
This has been an almost continuous thing, intermittent, of course, but almost
continuous over a period of years.. So much so that I have been told that it
has been regarded as a nuisance by a good many members of the Indian community.
I feel sure that it is at times and other times reports have been made which
were highly acceptable to the Indians community. This interest in preserving
racial identity which has been so characteristic of the Indian population in
this county seems to have been a surprise to some federal officials in con-
nection with the desegregation plan for public schools. I thinkZkaR tendency
to discount this, possibly to interpret it4as a form of resistance to desegre-
gation, something contrived for that purpose. And this certainly has not been
the case. It, it is a long-standing interest on the part of the people in es-
tablishing and preserving their identity,and there's, it is not something that
is inspired by r sse l although recent events have made it more necessary
than ever, to actively preserve this heritage and to prevent its being dif-
"fused and lost in the general process of integration. This, this is the way
\ itxrak looks to me as, as as atobserver on the scene. I think that the crucial
\thing in this is that unless this heritage and the record of it is preserved
LUM 4, Side 1 ---5---
S (cont.): here in Robeson County, it is not likely to be preserved any where else.
Now we hava lot of Scots in this county and regardless of what interest any of
them might show in their Scottish heritage, they can be relatively sure that in
Scotland this heritage will be preserved. Now visitors from big cities some-
times find it not particularly unusual that we have three races in this county
and we have some racial differences because in New York particularly, in this
melting pot city, there are so many different nationalities represented. Each
person of a different nationality in New York City has a link with the Old
World where these cultural and ethnic and historic and national differences are
preserved in one form or another. But here we have the necessity to rely on
the people in this area and their institutions to preserve such history and
heritage that we have.
B: Well that's certainly, certainly interesting and I think it's a good, a good
summary of attitudes toward the preservation of our heritage,and of course,
I know the Scotch people are very proud of theirs although they may not be as
demonstrative as we are. But we have places in the county, you know, where,
like, like the town of Maxton which, Mack's Town originally, and Mackland
Chevrolet, Scottish Chief, they do take quite a bit of pride in their, in
some of the things. So in that respect it does, they don't seem to be so
very different in the degree that they, that they embrace and appreciate their
past. Mr. Sharpe, would you tell ag us something about your immediate family?
How many children you a have, their names? When people ask me to tell the
names of my children I, and their ages, this is really, it really flabbergasts
me. I have to sp stop and think for awhile.
S: Well, I have, I have three sons, all of whom ft are teen-agers ajpresent. I
lead a rather busy life at home as well as at the office. Son's named John
Allen the Third andACliff and Hal. I ...
LUM 4, Side 1 --6--
B: All right, what are their ages?
S: The oldest is John who is 19. Cliff is 16 and Hal is just become 15.
B: Now who was Mrs. Sharpe before you were married?
S: She was Helen Sewell. She also is a native of Robeson County. She was born
and reared in Saint Paul's.
B: And I believe you received your college training at Duke University?
B: What year was the, what years a were these?
S: I graduated in 1932.
B: I've often said to people, especially people outside the county,when I, there
was occasion for the Robesonian to be mentioned af that, that Mr. Jack Sharpe
in our county had probably the most difficult job of editing a paper in the
country or one of the most difficult because we have not two races but three.
And I've come to admire you over the years because you always have a ready
command of diplomacy and a common sense and all those other things oand I think
it's, I think it's remarkable that, that you have endeared yourself to so many
people of all three groups and certainly you're one of the people I respect
more than anybody else in this whole world. You've been very kind to me and
I'm, I'm, M I know many people feel this way about you. But if they met you
as we're meeting you here today, you're so quiet and unassuming, I, you know,
I just wish that our people, our listeners will be able to, to meet you for
themselves because I, I, it's, you're xay very impressive.
S: Well that's very kind and generous evaluation. The less it's deserved, the
more it's appreciated.
B: What do you foresee taking place in Robeson County here in the next few years
or within the next, say, next decade? Or have you thought along those lines?
S: No, frankly, I have not. But as an immediate proposition, we 4-a in this
LUM 4, Side 1 ---7---
S (cont.): county what seems to me tkaHgeneration of new interest ikn in history.
For example, the, the historic drama which is now in preparation to be presented
in the summer of 1973. This, this shows a keen interest in history and its
presentation in the form of an out-door i drama. Even more recently a, a small
organization called Historic Robeson Incorporated, has just received its cer-
tificate of corporation from the state to engage in preservation of historic
sites and buildings in the county.
B: That's, that's interesting.
S: Linking it with the future, I, I'm inclined to think of it iIterms of the situa-
tion that /i 7'Ko .: described in his book Future Shock that as
the pace of living gets faster and faster and changes come about more and more
rapidly, people are inclined to look more than ever for something to cling to.
And their history, their past, their traditions and so forth are, are an object
for this, for this purpose. That is, they tend to turn back and look at where
they've been at times, because the present pace is so rapid that they can hardly
tell where they're going. It also helps to, to anchor the individual and the
community in, in a fast-paced situation.
B: Do you see a great improvement in, in racial relations in the county you know,
within recent years, well, say, within the past decade?
S: Yes, from a standpoint of my own observation. Now frankly this, this obser-
vation would not be as keen and sensitive as the observation of a member of
some other race who might be more racially conscious, so to say. But to my
xaw view, there has been a considerable improvement in race relations. Now
we've aimgs always had,Athat is within my lifetime, we've had individuals
whose, whose racial attitudes were pretty 9ada sound. I think that we now
have more people with acceptable racial attitudes than we've had in the past.
B: Well I, I'm sure you're interested in all the problems of the county and one
LUM 4, Side 1 ---8---
B (cont.): of the things I've always been very grateful for in my own experience
since I too, am a native of the county, being born here, brought up here, living
here through a major portion of my life, I've, I've always g felt that when
problems arose on occasion, I don't know whether I you would want me to mention
this or not but Kk there's nothing uncomplimentary about it, on the contrary,
this is a, this is something thak I admire very much,lyou've always been willing
to talk to me about certain problems that arose between, you know, sometimes
little incidents which do arise which might be very misunderstood or cause bad
feelings and I've always felt better knowing I could pick up the phone and
talk to you about it and that your, you attitude is always so objective..and
you know, we get the benefit of both views. And I'm sure many people feel
this way about you too because to me, you've always had the trait of being a
peace-maker, as spoken axiak of by the,in the Bible, you know, where they say,
where the Bible says"blessed are the peacemakers.' And frankly, you've always
struck me as this kind of pea personality. And this is one of the things\ I
think, one of the many things that people admire you for in this county. Not
everybody is as observant or as, to notice things like this. But I think it's
been, it's been very conspicuous to me for a long, long timeA your spirit of
good-will and so forth. And I think it's added so much to this county,your
S: Wfll as a, as a person engaged in newspaper work, I, I'm KnsEanxky conscious
of the fact that there will be enough trouble of different kinds spontaneously
without trying to stir up any. I, I feel that we ad adequate trouble just
in normal course of events. However, in this, in this county with three races,
there has been a, a need for people to get along together.
LUM 4, Side 1 ---9---
S: This, this is true everywhere but I think it is particular true in this, in
this county. Actually this, some of the remarks that you have made about my
in many ways, [me to
attitudes, I'll have to admit these seem to kHK reflect your own, in that I've
found you to be a person of great good-will who's interested in finding pro-
blems and solutions and reaching understanding. And I've, I've never mentioned
this to you beforelbut it has been easier for me to communicate with you than
it has been with a great many other people 'omehow we seem to be ahaable to
communicate. I don't think this is quite typically the/llhg with everybody
I come in contact with iCertainly not with everybody. But this ability of
yours to communicate with other people including people of other races, I
think is a, a cultivated talent which you have put to very good use.
B: Well I certainly appreciate that. You are very kind. I am conscious of the
problem of communications and I remember something that the Reverend Beanis
Brooks said one time, said if you, if you drive your listeners away, you won't
get to talk to them about their salvation, you know. So you got to find the
level where they are and try to reach them there. And, and I think I learned
a good many things Bam from him because he was a minister who I really spent pkT
a lot of work into his, his career. Of course he's no longer with us. Mr.
Sharpe, do you think, do you think industry is any great danger, the industry
that we have now? I'm thinking specifically of the Goodrich plant. I, this
is the biggest industry in the county, isn't it?
S: Yes, it has been since it was established several years ago. At the moment
it seems to be on a pretty solid foundation. This Converse Company which is
operating the plant now has a secure foothold in the canvas foot-wear business,
and it has a, a national reputation, particularly great acceptance among ath-
letes. Of course, nearly every high school boy considers himself a potential
LUM 4, Side 1 ---10---
S (cont.): athlete which makes this particular brand of shoe attractive to him. I
think we've got a very good thing at the moment and I hope it will continue to
B: WHai Yes sir. Well we may, do you think we may increase,our population is going
to increase or decrease or is it sort of holding its own, do you think? I don't
have any actual figures with me.
S: Well the xaKEKHx and trend in recent years a has been towards a slight decline
in population. This is not so much a decline in birth-rate as it is a reflec-
tion of out-migration from the county. And I would anticipate that in the
future, the, the birth-rate in the county will probably decline somewhat. But
that the population probably will increase if we find a little more prosperity
to attract people who have moved away from this county. There are, I understand,
particular from the employment agHxKm agency, the state employment security
commission, a great many people who inquire each year about the economic sit-
uation, yk the employment situation particularly, in Robeson County kEmKasK
because\they're living away from here. They're living in Greensboro and Balt-
more and Detroit, places, they would like to come back hoim, but they are, they
have jobs/they're making more money than they could make here)and until the ec-
onomic axndkiix position, situation improves, until employment opportunities
are greater, they do not find it economically practical to come hakx back to
Robeson County. But this love of Robeson County is rather characteristic of
the people living here and I believe particularly of the Indian population of
B: Well this is certainly interesting) This attitude of, that the Indian people
have. And I believe it's shared maybe not in as intense degree as with the
Indians, but people do, Robeson does grow on you, doesn't it? I mean, a good
you know, they
man? people/come over here and our county isn't, it's not one of the wealthiest
LUM 4, Side 1 ---11---
B (cont.): counties in the state and we do have some problems.but when they stay
for awhile, they seem to, to become very attached to the county)and many people
make this their permanent home. I'm sure you've observed this and so this is
something that you have to experience Robeson xEB really to, to evaluate it.
Something seen from the distance doesn't seem to, it seemsto be different in
the distance than it is close even though we have these three races. Has that
been your impression? I mean when you really stay for awhile and get to know
everybody, it's a very peaceful, easy=going sort of existence, I think, that
many of us lead. An there's one thinglI think helps along these lines and
there's one thing that all of us have and this is respect for the other person,
particular the other group's point of view. I believe we do respect each
other's points of view. We may differ on occasion but I believe there's sort
of a feeling between the races that's very difficult to define,but we'd like
to get along, we want to get along. And we when things are going smoothly
as they do most of the time, it's a good feeling to come to Robeson County evne/
relax if you've been away on a visit. Sometimes I've gone oArDication and seems
to me/\coming home is the best part of my x9an vacation.
S: Well people who have come here from other parts of the country, some of them
have told me that they, they have found Robeson County hospitable to new-comers,
more so than other communities in which IhEy iixjn they've lived. As a long-
term resident of the county I, I really have no perspective in this matter, no
basis of experience of my own. But I have been told this by people taking up
residence here. Incidentally, I think that one thing that is found here is, and
here again I can't compare this actually with experience anywhere else but it's
my impression that there probably is more communication between races, between
different groups in xhk this county than in possibly the typical community. We
LUM 4, Side 1 ---12---
S (cont.): were speaking a moment ah ago about our ability, that is yaK nz yours
and mine, to communicate with each other. I think that throughout my lifetime
at least, there's always been an avenue of communication open between different
groups in this county. I've never knowndifferent races or different groups to
become polarized to the extent that communication was cut off. Elti this kind
of thing that, that is normal in this county so it's taken for granted but I
become conscious of it at times in reading reports from other communities in
which somebody will mention the necessity for reopening communication. Well
now we haven't had this problem on any noticeable scale that I can recall.
B: True. I, that's very interesting and it's certainly true and I hadn't thought
about that but this is, I think there're many, we have many plus values in
the county and money certainly isn't everything. We've, a necessary evil I
guess, of which I'd like to have more. But do you think our people are not
as concerned with economic strivings maybe as they might be in some of the
more industrial areas of the country?
S: Yes, I share that impression. As a matter of fact it's my opinion that if, if
civilization and progress in the usual sense had not overtaken us that we'd
be leaving, be leading more leisurely and relaxed lives than we are. It is
necessary now to have an automobile and buy gas for it in rxdax order to go
anywhere, in order to, to function in this society. Except for this necessity,
I think things would be much more slowly paced. Of course this is, this is
true everywhere. But I think that we have moved into the mainstream of society
partly from necessity, partly because it's not safe to drive a mule and wagon
on the super-highway.
B: Do you think that|out-migration we mentioned awhile ago, do you think it may
increase or decrease or hold its own?
S: Well my guess would be that things have pretty well leveled off and that, that
LUM 4, Side 1 ---13---
S (cont.): we would have approximately well we've had, we've had a trend of decreasing
population, I would expect that, within a few years this population figure will
become stabilized and then later show an increase. AThis is purely guesswork.
Frankly I had figured we would hit dKity ninety thousand population in the 1970
census and we came up considerably short of that.
B: Well I, I don't want to take up too much of your time but I, I do want to ex-
press my appreciation again for your being willing to share in this with us.
And we're all willing to share whatever thoughts we have or impressions, any-
thing of that nature with other people who are interested. I think that perhaps
we could do a little bit more to encourage this sort of thing; it would make
for a better understanding of the county as a whole from the outside)too. We
have been in the news a great deal, this area has,and people are coming to know
us better. For example, the Old Maine situation. Some of the people in Wash-
ington were telling me that wherever they go there's somebody saying how's
Old Mainecoming along. And just a few years ago, of course, they didn't
even know about Old Main&or about our county maybe. But once in awhile we
do have KKEHi aktax stories that seem to capture the national interest and
this was one of them,and I think we've just about got it solved wouldn't you
S: Yes. Of course it is part of the nature of, of news that the unusual attracts
more attention. And oftentimes conflict attracts more attention than accord.
And Or part of the national awareness of the Lumbee Indians is based on the
1958 flare-up near Maxton in which the Ku Klux Klan was routed and more recently
the controversy over Old Maine. One of these had the potential of becoming a,
a disaster in terms of injury to people t didn't turn out that way. This
conflict over Old Mainehad the potential to disrupt things considerably at a
growing university. Apparently this is not going to take place. The solution
LUM 4, Side 1 ---14---
S (cont.): to it was found. In, in both instances I think it was demonstration of
the ability of the people in this area a to work out some kind of solution
even when A qAiffs of some kind develops.
B: Well that's very encouraging because Old Maine- was particularly e ouraging
to me because I saw people from all groups working together pkfpas perhaps as
never before. And the Klan incident you mat mentioned, this is one time I
feared that communications would really be i a xugh interrupted. But we
welled up that very beautifully and everybody understood that these were out-
side forces wha were causing the commotionand so there wasn't nearly the
amount of tension that might have been expected. The tension was mostly be-
tween the people in the county and kas people outside the county who came in
and tried to solve all our problems, so to speak, all our x or some of our
racial problems by intimidation and that sort of thing. And I, I think I was
never prouder of the county than I was during that time because good-will was
definitely demonstrated here,and when we're threatened from the outside, the
county seems to have the ability to, to unite very quickly. It doesn't, it
doesn't HaK necessarily matter which group it is, you know. Ran Robeson people
seem to take pleasure in ironing out their own problems, those that we can
iron out anyway. And this, I think this is an illustration of that, don't you?
S: Well it, it was. And I think it showed admirable restraint. In other words,
this could have turned into a quite bloody affair.
B: Oh yes.
S: The stage was set.....'r /7
END OF SIDE 1
LUM 4, Side 2 ---15---
BEGIN SIDE 2
B: il7if is tape 1, side 2 of K an interview with Mr. J. A. Sharpe% Editor I of
the Lumberton N.C. Robesonin. I don't know just where we were, Mr. Sharpe,
when we got interrupted. But we had said something about the Klan over there
and, on the other side, and we had made some remarks about the people present-
ing sort of a united front in this county during that time. I don't know
whether that would be an exaggeration or not. If it is, it wouldn't be too
much of an exaggeration. I think there was resentment from all, all three
groups in the county toward the Klan when *SAcame in. I don't think they had
too many people on their side in the county from any of the groups.
S: Well that, that apparently was the case. There's very little evidence of, of
support for the Klan or for its approach to the situation here in this county.
We have our problems and our differences and we're aware of them andpMrXH
working on them. And usually we are able to work things out in a reasonable
manner which does not make necessary to resort to any drastic measure, parti-
S: This Klan challenge was taken up. But as mentioned restraint was used so that
it turned into a rout, but not a disaster.
B: Somebody asked me where I was on that particular night and they had been assmK
assuming that Lew Barton was somewhere on the front out there. And I said well,
I hate to disillusion you but I wasn't there that night. Said where we you.
I said I was home on my face praying to the Lord that nobody would k be i
killed and listening to the radio. I said somebody was broadcasting from the
bottom ofithK ditch and telling me everything that was happening. I said I
figured that was a pretty good place kx for me to be. And,but if it hadn't
been for my visual limitations, I very well might have been there because it
LUM 4, Side 2 ---16---
B (cont.): was certainly an interesting thing. And when something's happening like
this, it's very difficult for people who write to stay away, isn't it. But, and
also I had a personal interest since I'm a Lumbee Indian myself and this is
whom the party, who the attack had been aimed at.
S: Well this, that particular incident brought the Lumbees to the attention of,
not only of the nation generally, but as I understand it, to the attention of
Indians in other parts of the KHmrky country on Reservations and elsewhere.
seems to me that prior to this time, there had been less identification of
the Lumbee Indians in Rh Robeson County with thE Indians in other parts of
the county than there has been since then. And I, I think the reason for this
was the distinctivemakxH of the Indian community in this county. THat is,
an Indian community which operated side by side with other races and very much
within the pattern of the overall structure of the area. There was not the
stand-offishness that I have heard reported in the case of Reservation Indians
who cling so closely to their tribal customs that they are resentful of any
efforts to include them in the general community so to speak. I, I'm sure that
this is less pronounced now than it has been in the past,but there used to be
quite a difference in that Lumbee Indians owning land, kkAafunctioning in the
total community as other citizens were in that way rather different :mn from
Indians on Reservations. But that, that K Klan incident triggered the imagi-
nation of people throughout the country and earned the respect of a greaymany
people throughout the country. And since then I believe, there has been an
increasing identification of the Lumbees with Indian tribes elsewhere.
B: The controversy about Old Main, Mr. Sharpe, was a little different nature, but
the attention it gained was tremendous too. But I was particularly proud of
this effort because there was no violence. There was a possibility that some-
body might do something very foolish at times because the Old Mainecontroversy
[UM 4, Side 2 ---17---
B (cont.): dragged on for months and months. \People got impatient and so k on but
here again, I think people exercised good judgment and nothing like this hap-
pened,_and I'm very proud of the Old Maine victory because this is something that's
of a more elevated nature. This is cultural, this is cultural grounds that the
whole thing is on. And it was, it was all conducted on a pretty high plane.
I didn't see anything connected with it to be ashamed of or anything like that.
I was very ahppy happy that it reached a point that it could be Rx concluded.
And what was so reassuring to me was the fact hat people all over the country
were willing to discus"S3 is. And we had communications from the White House
to the house next door. And we had support over this distance. And at times
kka ix9xsK migk- there might have been, the interest might have ka even been
greater x away than at home if it every lagged at home. But I think this is
a very noble cause that time. Well I think the Klan, the case of the Klan,
this was a noble cause too, but I was particularly proud of Old Maine'ecause
this represents the zenith of our achievements, our intellectual achievements.
What I'm saying I'm saying very badly, I know. But now we have to find means
a to raise funds to restore the building. And this is still a problem but
we aren't too worried. Wax We're, we're very encouraged nonethofess. And
we have had the State Department of Archives and History say that they would
recommend that it be placed on the national register and this is going to be
a big psi plus I think, don't you?
S: Well I've, I've felt all along that Old Maine and the symbolism attached to it
was really a great asset to Pembroke State University. Admittedly it does not
fit into the more modern building plan of the university as much as so as a
new building might do. But as a symbol and as a concrete reminder of the past
to thousands of Indians and other citizens of the county, 1A I feel that it
haslgreat value to the university. And a value which the university administration
LUM 4, Side 2 ---18---
S (cont.): will become more preciative of as time goes by.
B: I wanted to ask you just a question about the freedom of choice plan that all
three races in the county supported before the present integration plan went
into effect. And some people outside the county and outside this state were
suspicious that, that maybe pressures were being applied to some of the minor-
ities but I'm sure that none of this happened. You never came across any in-
stance of anything like this, did you?
S: None whatever. That is none to my knowledge, none that I have kahax heard any
B: Well sometimes ...
S: I think freedom of choice represents the, the HS true sentiments of most of
the people. It's very logical that it would.
B: This is where we're misunderstood sometimes. 4People just jump at conclusions
and figure well they're putting, put some kind of pressure is being applied to
ka the group, minority groups in Robeson and they're, they're just Mi going along
with the landlords and things like this. But of course in Robeson as you and
I know there aren't any real, there isn't a real majority is there? I man
mean except in maybe a few thousand margin.
S: Yes, we have what amounts to three minority g races and any two of them repre-
sent a majority. As far as I know we don't have any intimidated minorities at
B: Right. Do you think this is, do you think this is a good condition, that it
gives us a good working basis that we could utilize this to our advantage in
getting along? And perhaps that we do, the fact aht that we have three groups
so nearly equal in numberSand so on?
S: Yes I think ki it has been a strong factor in, in maintaining good race xSai
relations in the county. I think it has been right along.
LUM 4, Side 2 ---19---
B: It offers us a challenge too. I believe that we may take advantage of once in
awhile. This challenges us in the practice of democracy doesn't it? I mean
because the groups are so nearly the same in number and there isn't one group
which towers over everybody else numerically. And it seems that we w could,
we could utilize this very thing to our advantage maybe more often than we do.
Would you agree with that assessment?
S: Yes I think that's true. And of course this is a, I believe it's called now
an economically deprive) area, a pocket of poverty. And we have not had possibly
the extreme economic differencesin this county that there have been elsewhere.
It's not that our poor have been any less pa poor but that our rich have
been less rich than in most other areas.
B: Well that's certainly one way, a good way of putting it. I ...
S: Something, something that has mHKKRm Kn occurred to me from time to time and
I don't know whether there's any actual basis for this belief or not, it's just,
just an idea. You know the distinctive, one of the distinctive things about
k our situation is that here is a, an area, a county in which the Indian pop-
ulation was not driven out, in which it stayed and there's never been any con-
certed effort to make a change in that. Now a great many of the early white
settlers were of Scottish descent,and many of them came here after this disastrous
Battle of Cologne in which the Scot, Scots were either butchered or subdued
according to the Scottish or English k viewpoint whichever you call it, but
anyway, it was a bloody disaster. And without every having khis heard this
mentioned as a possible factor, I have often wondered if, if this experience of,
6) defeat and oppression which the Scots had before coming to this county, may
not have made them less arrogant and hostile toward the native population than
in the case of some other early settlers. This is purely a personal conjecture
but I ...
LUM 4, Side 2 --- ---
B: Well it's certainly a good one and it, I, I believeithis is true. I believe
that our Scotch people have been, had a tendency toe hk to be more tolerant
toward the Indians here than some of the4population in areas where other In-
dian groups are located. I found a difference, a marked difference, for
instance, in Halifax County, not wi wishing to label any county or anything,
and Warren Countyy I did notice that there was a difference in the attitude
that they share toward the Indians than the attitude here and there is a very
marked difference. I livedthere two years and I was very aware of that. And
another thing I found difficult to understandxkk is that they were, they were
much more tolerant towards me because I was from Robeson and than they were
toward Aheir old, their own Indians, you know,and I couldn't understand this
but, and I, I was very careful not to take advantage of that. Because some-
times when you'd be in a public meeting, they, they'd ask you to come up and
would take care of you, if you was in line, you know, to get something done
like a.yrzell I won't specify anything but I always was very care, I was al-
ways very careful not to take advantage of those things and you know, just
very graciously thanked them and say no I'd, I think I' Astay here, thank
you just the same.
S: Well I, I think that it would be only fair to mention in this connection
that the churches have, have been a factor irx in the life of x Robeson County
among all the races. And certainly the influence of the church has been toward
a peaceful cooperation. And among all three races, there has been+ tendency
to accept the leadership of, of relatively tolerant leaders who emphasize
working toward goals rather than trying to make over the whole situation by
any drastic means. This, this acceptance of, of ax sound leadership I think,
along with the influence of the churches, has, has km done a great deal to sta-
bilize the situation in this county.
LUM 4, Side 2 ---2X---
B: Yes sir Do you think, do you think our people, among all our groups,
we have a tendency to accept aK compromise and to Hdx understand that we all
can't have, all of us can't have everything we want, and do you think this helps
us in ironing out our problems and difficulties simply because we, we do rea-
lize that we have to accommodate all three races here?
S: Yes I think that's the case. And, and some of us can recall having heard people
hark back to the days I of the kDepression and say that they thought people
got along better with each other during the Depression in many instances and than
they did in more prosperous times. But we've, we've had a, by United States
standards, we've been in a depression here in Robeson County almost permanently.
That is even in our best crop years, with our economy at its peak, we have not
experiencedAgeneral prosperity in this county that has characterized many parts
of the United STates. And it's not that we, tiks not that weAin favor of this
but it helps to keep us humble.
B: I think humility's a good thing. Well Mr. Sharpe I certainly appreciate the
time that you've given me and I feel a little guilty about keeping you as long
as I have already. And but you'veX certainly contributed so much to, to the
program and it just wouldn't be the same without you on there, you know, making
your observations. And I want to thank you again for the Doris Duke Foundation
and for all of us participating in this. You're alwaysjwilling to help out.
wkEHA there's a need for something like this and enlightenment is in your field,
informing people. I think a paper plays such an in important role in this
respect and certainly your paper has, has played a great role in this respect.
I wish we had time to go over, you know, the Robesonian in itself is a fas-
cinating story to me, from its beginning to its end. I, I believe it began
actually during the days of a great upheaval in the county. Do you remember
LUM 4, Side 2 ---2--
B (cont.): now? Smmm Sometime around about the 'seventies.
S: 1870. It was founded by a minister and his brother.
B: How many times has it changed hands in that time?
S: Very few. It, at the time my father came here in 1907, it was Hn ax owned by
a group of local stock holders who held a celebration banquet whenever they
unloaded it on him. They were, they were happy to have someone take over the
paper and take Ha all the risks involved. And it, it has been largely family
owned since that time. Governor, former Governor Angus McLaine owned a part
of the stock up until sometime in the '20s I believejand he finally agreed to
sell his shares.
B: Well it's certainly a respected paper. One thing that's always fascinated me
is that in some areas of the county when people, when the people say the paper
you know they mean the Robesonian, you know. They simply call it the paper.
S: We, we appreciate that.
B: And it's ...
S: We have tried to identify with the county and its people and their, their in-
terests and their, their pxmkiag problems and I think that is k the, the duty
and the province of a, of a newspaper.
B: Well again our thanks, Mr. Sharpe. You've very kind to have taken this time
to talk to us. And I'm sure that this will be very informative to many of the
people who are interested in the area. Thank you again. ... effect. Where's
the guitar? But he, he is quite a human being. I love that man. My son,
Gary Lewis Barton, is a fireman in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Once in
awhile he and I get together and play a litt( nusic. He's the only one of
my children who takes an interest in music. And here we're, he's playing the
anxKhap aRx autoharp and I'm pa playing the guitar. So we'll punish you just
a little with that if we may. (Music) Gary has just turned 21. (Music)
LUM 4, Side 2 --- A---
B (cont.): A group of Lumbee Indians got together not long ago and recorded an album.
And in a very recent issue of the Carolina Indian Voice published at Pembroke,
North Carolina, there x is an account and a description of that album. It's
called Lumbees and Friends, I believe. I'm going to get my 14-year-old son to
read this for you.
The son: Lumbees and Friends. A record album of Indian songs and chants, Lumbees
and Friends, has been produced by the Lumbee Regional Development Association,
four dollars each. The recording is compromised of twenty-five cuts ...
S: Is comprised of twenty-five cuts of the songs and chants of various Indian
tribes which have been shared withFe Lumbees. Album Note, explain, the
purpose is to further distribute American Indian culture Indians, American
Indian culture interest to owf-our Reservation Indians of = the eastern
United States. This record is intended to tell people of all races of the
efforts the Lumbees are making to KsxK strengthen their Indian nsmni community.
The voices in the songs and chants include the following Lumbees and friends:
Horace Locklear, L-o-c-k-l-e-a-r, Barbara Locklear, Willie Locklear, Red
Clark, C-l-a-r-k, Adora Clark, Doug Brotherton, B-r-o-t-h-e-r-t-o-n, Dave Rosar,
R-o-s-a-r, Chuck Ross, R-o-s-s, Robert Jacobs, J-a-c-o-b-s, Sylvia Jacobs, Don
Jacobs, aalDial, D-i-a-l, Jamie Cauble, C-a-u-b-l-e, Eric Sifford, S-i-f-f-
o-r-d, Claudia Shiner, C,S-h-i-n-e-r, Candy Chipman, C-h-i-p-m-a-n, Henry Ox-
endine, O-x-e-n-d-i-n-e, Rob, Robin Butler, B-u-t-l-e-r, Vicky Jones, J-o-n-e-s,
Lyle Yurko, Y-u-r-k-o, Ron Rozzelle, R-o-z-z-e-l-l-e, Joe Liles, L-i-l-e-s,
Mike Clark, C-l-a-r-k, Bryan Locklear, Dean Strickland, S-t-r-i-c-k-l-a-n,
and Gracie Jacobs.
B: Well thank you, Rick. That seems to be mostly Lumbees. I recognize the sur-
names of only two or three friends. And this concludes then our portion of
LUM 4, Side 2 ---25--
B (cont.): aHH pKmgram this program dealing with Lumbee Indian expressionespecially
musical expression, and also American Indian expression generally in the musical
field. Before I conclude however, I have to make a very embarrassing footnote
here. My son Ricky Barton is not quite thirteen, he informs me. But he's so
active intellectually and otherwise that I suppose I, it was not too unnatural
a mistake. Well, this is Lew Barton signing off for the portion of the Doris
Duke Foundation tape recording dealing with introductory material and especially
Indian music of today.
END OF TAPE 4