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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
AUGUST 16, 1972
MR. JOHN R. JONES
BY: MR. LEW BARTON
I: I will ask you Mr. Jones, if I may, what is your full name?
S: John Robert Jones.
I: Do you mind telling us your position?
S: Right now, Lew, uh, I a pretty sure I'm chairman of the Robetson
County Board of Elections.
I: I also understand you arePdelegate to the National Republican
Convention. Is this true?
S: Yes, Lew. I was elected at the Greenburg Convention some time
earlier, uh, one of the delegates at large. There were ten of such.
I was very surprised; very much flattered to the point. I was top
vote qer amongst the state delegation and uh, this came as a surprise.
I have no words to explain the feeling I had with that.
I: Is this the first time a Lumbee Indiannhas.lbeen chosen to go the the
convention, the national convention?
S: Yes, Lew, I think it was, unless it was just so in the last 50 or 100
years here. If there was any record before that, if there's before
that, then there's no records of it.
I: Has, uh, this is also the first time an Indian has been chairman of
the Robertson County Board of Elections that we know about, isn't it?
S: Yes, now it's the same way there, the County Board of Elections, about
the same thing about it, if there was one, it was never recorded. It
is also another unusual thing, Lew, that, the ..-. n s"ke, we/rt/
g iE go have another Republican chairman. This makes it somewhat unique.
I: I would like to get back to that in a minute if I may, Now I would
like to ask you, what is your age?
S: I'm 43.
I: And what is your address?
S: Route 2, RBeebrake-, uh, there's a sign. There may be box
number; but so far, it's never been necessary to use a box number.
I: And you're married?
S: Yes, I'm married.
I: How many children?
S: Just three. I have a daughter who is 14.
I: Would you give us their names?
S: Her name is Sybil. A son who is 8, which is Robert Wayne. Then we
have a 18 month old who Tommy Mvai-en. The youngest being a male; 5o
ase 2 boys and 1 girl. nw.
I: Who was it you married?
S: She is a, her name is Abbey, daughter of Chester Lbeekhen, and Rosie
I: How long have you been married?
S: We were married in '56, almost 16 years right now.
I: And yoGi uh, wife is working in the public schools?
S: Yes, the wife is a teacher at 1etmbrroee Elementary Sihool; she has
been there for some 7 or 8 years. Before that time, she was --nr-3c
----------in the -----------Chapel. All of them, -think-axra-dwn -----
I: I know myself she comes from one of the very prominent among Lumbee
Indians; and we are certainly proud of the Jones family because they
have made great contributions. Would you tell us something your
father and your mother?
S: Yes, my dad was Miles Jones, Miles Sanford Jones, who was born and
reared in Sampson County, near the year we me to -u ----
Crossroads. Uh, he practiced farming most of his life. Mother,
she was born here in Sallyhurst, she's a Carter, daughter of
iabel Carter, the old Carter stage is right there in the town known
I: Uh, um. Well, I understand your father passed away unfortunately,
S: Yes, almost 2 years ago; I believe August, 2 years ago, which, about
9 days away now of:his 2nd year since he was with us.
I: Is your mother still living?
S: Mother is still living; she's seaewhat not able to be up and around.
She has to have carried at all times ------------. We're still
proud of her. She really did, we think, a good job raising us^-
Aecause she kept us in church; kept us out of trouble--a few other
things she did, I think, will always be with us,
I: Well, you had a very illustrious brother who was nationally known
and loved as a sky diver. And I, uh, understand a tragedy occurred
a few years ago. I know it's painful to talk about itbut I know
our listeners are interested. And, would you tell us, would you
mind telling us .?
S: Yeh, Sonny, being, being the younger brother, youngest of a family of
six. Uh, one of the--------individuals I knew him.
/y.,e^ .*//^e." / r!
He, --------.i a mi1ln-eews tg s electronic
I: Where was this at?
S: North of eeB roe e; he lead a kind of an unusual life, his duty
calling him more or less on submarines.
I: This during the war?
S: No, it wasn't during the war. This was even up to '66 since one
like that, he being a an- !P--, a similar expert. And those
--------------- and stuff like that. Submarines 7&Ai^72 this
was their line. You might spend three days under water beyond i4 rt'
'-week, but come weekend, he tried to balance it out by getting
up in the air; _, /.ei,
I: So he needed his sky diving as a means of relaxation, then.
S: Yes, it was strictly a hobby; he was not professional in it, He made
some accomplishments--some over 700 jumps. He married a non-jumper.
and she won the ladies ae national championship there af August
of '66. I mean not in August, he died in August 19 '66. His fatal
jump was in August of '66. But his wife won the national championship
of June of '66.
I: Now what was- her name?
S: Kay Jones. They were, both of them were quite ambitious, high strung,
I think sky-diving was one thing they could do together that they
I: Did they fly themselves?
S: Yes, they were both pilots; they were both and Sonny had checked out
as a commercial pilot. They had quite a thing going.for them--they
once in a while come down to see mom, dad, and the rest of us.
They owned a little plane.
I: So they both were licensed pilots.
S: Yes, they owned a little plane. They would come fly down to
Lumberton, fly over the farm, jump out and get the car and go--get
the other one. So they had everything arranged.
I: That was a nice arrangement, wasn't it?
S: Yes, but its all memories now, Law,.that is, I think -----------
ever be 29 I will always say-------------------------------------
There a quite a few things I remember him for. There's one of them
was:he always disagreed with people that sleep was not necessary,
not more then two or three hours a day. Said a man messed up his
mind with cigarettes which I was almost a chain smoker and I was
always in a fight with him about cigarettes.
I: He didn't smoke?
S: He didn't smoke; he didn't think a person should smoke--could mess
up their mind. That was his theory, mine was different.
I: He was very athletic, wasn't he?
S: Well, he's not, I wouldn't say he was an athlete but I think he
seen the world as a challenge and he wanted to accomplish these
challenges. He told me, I heard him say time after time, if he
ever perfected sky diving that he was through with it. Because
as long as there some i--
I: He wanted to pioneer in that field.
S: Yes, he wanted to pioneer in that field or any other field. He
was probably our first ham radio operator from here. If youxere
quite a bit
back over at mother's now, you would find probably.radio equipment
even from a kid he used to string out doing volunteer radio thing,
you know. He justed, uh, he always had to have a challenge; he always
had to have something, some work to do and well, skf'dive was his
biggest love, might not have been his first, but it was his biggest
I: Where did you attend school at,here in Bernebrooke?
S: I attended elementary school in Penntiubrke and high school
which is now junior school. Forty-four, fall of forty four
I started to college, Pennebreeke State University. I didn't stay
there too long then I stayed out a couple of years,'tihe I started
back to college again and did my work at North Carolina State College.
I: Did most of you children get your education -ram P.S.U.? or PS.C.?
S: I think all of dad's children did go to some college. Stanford would
be the oldest, and, being in western Kentucky program. Then my sister
who is next, Mrs. Adolf Goff, #g-t 3SMtr did hers in Pcebroke.
Then I had mine between Pennebrooke and North Carolina State.
I: About how old is Ruth?
S: She is a couple of years older than I am, o+, about 45. Then
there was Doris -------a she did a year in Penne..breek then
I think she did the rest of her work after she was married maybe
at the University of Alabama or Auburn; I don't remember exactly where.
Then my youngest sister who was a recreation or home economics from
W.C. which is one of the original tree of the University of North
Carolina over in Beesb which yeenly see '- -now I under-
stand. But there was a women's college out at the university at that
I: Uh, you mentioned the name Daesen is that spelled, Pane
S: Anson, A
I: Anson, I'm sorry. Oh, yes, I know who tare talking about now.
Anson, A-n-s-o-n. Your brother is instead of going into the
professional, staying in the profession he seems to always have
been business minded and very acutely aware of you know, the
business needs of the community.and he seems to have done so well
S: Yes, -/- -jv __, t- er since his adult
life, has been form of retail type business. F!om time to time
I have partners with him depending on how things went.
he has a -----for th----needs.
I: Now, what is his full name, he was named forls father,6-oo /'
S: Yes, its Miles Stanford Jones.
S: Yes, ---------- on it.
I: I know its one ding that it seems that he has been able to do that
we haven't been able to do in the community before it seems; that is
to provide place of recreation-.or should I say places of recreation.
S: I believe it's just a place right now.
I: He is, he operates what we call locally"the stable,' this is a dance
establishment for young people. Do you think this is because he
understands the need of young people to get exercise and this sort
of thing? Uh, you know I have noticed a order, the perfect order
that is always kept there, you know.
S: Yes, I know, you know I was in there 14 months with him. Both of us
spent hours discussing this; we took this old, what was a dliverly
stable; I think it has been a mail car with a mule sold to it
and rearranged it and fixed it up, using the- "CL-2walls.
But then when we got the walls done and got started, we spent
some time thinking about controlling conduct of people not
because we knew that the Indians were any worse or any different
from anybody else. But when you have this typeof thing when
girls and boys involved, someone, they don't always agree'
but then you want to keep control over it so no one's hurt.
S: Personally, I would like t commend the boys and girls of the
S: I think, I'm not saying because we have done it or we were into
it, but I am certain that you could have gone no place where the
children, the teen-agers were more cooperative than they were
here in nn4broeke.
S: And they are just a good group of people. They deserve to be
commended for it.
I: Well, I don't know whether you want to talk about this or not.
but it is very interesting, uh, the little trouble you had that
arose when you were seated as chairman of the Robertson County
Election Board,and I don't know whether you want to comment on
that or not. It was something that was noted throughout the state,
and people abhor that kind of thing, but I just wondered if you .
S: Lew, really, I would like to discuss this problem, I mean this
thing where you said we had trouble. I don't feel like, to me,
that I had hassle with any individual in this thing. It was
my motive athe whole thing was to show the people just what was
going on through our local, political machinery.
I: Uh, huh.
S: This, on March 6, of this year after being appointed, duly appointed
by the state section board, as member of the board of election,
*bj rd I# .''
they had-proml4eedwe would meet on the 6th and to organize the three
member board. At 12:00 our circuit court swore us in,adtae former
chairman gave us his best wishes and left the room for us to organize.
Immediately, Mr. awo made the nominationsthat I be elected as
I: And he was a member of the board of elections?
S: He was a member of the board of elections. Maybe I should call
the members of the board of elections at this time Lew, where we
will be referring to them later.
I: Yes, it might be a good idea.
S: There's Joe Wart, he's-a---- aa-, Joseph C. War .
S: Yeh, heSw'- an attorney f Lufberton. There was a Hawkins, he was
a black man and also he's a, hi dow- i ayit, a Washington Aawk.
a \ h o '4
He was a member of the tri-racialAand myself making up the tri-racial
I: And Mr. War* was the Caucasian member?
S: Right, and the other two members being non-white. Mr. Warm approved
of my nomination a little later by--------------------------and
at that time I accepted the position as chairman and went on to
discuss the business of the day. Immediately, Mrs. Lucy --_/-2
I: Is she the executive secretary?
S: Yes, she was the executive secretary so she was reelected the
executive secretary by the board, &t--his--1L e. At which time
we asked her to come back in and all of them learned, all the
outside people learned that I had been elected chairman. She
made the comment that it was very unique being one Republican
member and two Democrats---that we had a Republican member
of the board that was chairman. At which time, that if we
had done anything illegal I would be glad to withdraw at a
later date, knowing that we had done nothing illegal.
I: Right, her only objection was that you were Republican.
S: Now, don't say that, I can't tell what people's objections
is: that's the only one she listed.
I: Uh, huh.
S: I don't think s --------- Republican Bominaton.
I: In other words, well,
S: But Lew, going on through the tape, I know we need to move along.
I: We've got plenty of time' I've got plenty of time if you have..
we have plenty of tape.
S: We went on and discussed the business and being a new member of the
board, I was inteaset the information I could so we sat down and
talked an hour or so, close to two hours, at which time Mr. lewton
was called out of the room. I think maybe the county Democratic
chairman and the leading black man of the Democratic party, E. 1.6,
Te*Ien and some other friends met in the hall uh, and asked him
to do something about the election of chairman,so he came back in
and tried to withdraw a motion after the election was over, which
I protested,and they went ahead and they reelected War chairman
and Hawkins secretary, at which time I told them they would hear
from me later--I would have my comments to make later. But anyway
we went ahead to state -C election board and the attorney general
and took them some 8 weeks to decide I was chairman and now I am
chairman of the election board and have been the last two elections
and I don't know that ...
I: Tms you had to go all the way to Raleigh before .
S: We had to go to the state election board and the attorney general
both of them give a ruling on, according to Robert's Rules of Order,
since there was no laws governing this. They used Robert's Rules of
Order we----.-- --- -. Wel anyhow, I was received as chairman,
and I don't think it was thekinfluence, I don't think I had an enemy
in Mr. Warvor/Mr. Hawkins--I only think that -sth the outside
influence o-t=he steae'out of it, that we'll have a real workable board 4Oe
a sincere group that Ie interested in seeing that all people express
themselves in governmentt tCt they want. *TI- '
I: Now this outside influence, do you have anybody in mind, or any group
S: Yes, as I said earlier, Lew, the chairman of the Democratic party who
was Earl Brin2ine and our leading black man who was E. B. Turner ad
they got inland they intimidated Mr. Hawkins at this point. This man
l'n -Ha- roam
was in a bad state of mind when he came back that day.
I: He was the man who nominated you in the first place.
I: That's H-a-w-k-i-n-s.
I: I forget to spell it.
S: I really believe that he was sincere and not out for any race t4i-s
1tea Mr. Hawkins was mt; he was not out to beat ----------fr-a
race. I believe he felt that me being the type of boy I was that
I would be for more of the people--no matter what color they were
or what political affliations they were. Uh, I think, uh, because
of political parties or race or anything like that, that everybody
should have fair dealings to express himself as he -2- -l,
especially on election day.
I: Right. And Earl Gribb was at that time he was chairman of -4be*tesn
County Board of Elections.
S; No, Democratic party.
I: I'm sorry, thank you for correcting me. I'm in a daze I think; I've
been working pretty hard today, excuse it.
S; Uh, but Lew, getting back and getting off on this ding. I would like,
I'm more interested in what has been done since then. -7little
squabble was necessary to correct one of the things, but that is not
the major things. Since the time there, we have been through two
elections. We changed in areas where e predominately black people
who have gs of being intimidated. We tried to get black
registrars, at least get some black judges. And in areas that were
predominately Indians, we did the same. And where it was predominately
white populated, we made very little change, except in individuals. But
I would like the statement that I talked to Mr. Collins about theirs,
if I don't get anything outadae rembeing on the Board of Elections. I
.liexhat the statement he made, Lew, he says, uh, he was out hauling
voters trying to get people to the polls.And he tried to get his
friends and some of'hem he would give to them and says "I'm
not going to vote today." Said, well, go out there and stand in
that line and that ol sassy so-and-so, and since we're making
these types of remarks, we won't use any names. Uh, that ole'
sassy so-and-so, I'm not going to vote today.
I: And you think this was the cause of a good many non-white people
S; I am certain this was so. And, uh, so, he said immediately he says,
"Now, listen so-and-so's not there any more, Miss so-and-so's there.
Okay, if Miss so-and-so there, you go ahead and get somebody else,
I'll go myself. You won't have to haul me to the polls: I'll go
myself, but just get out." So now in a vote to express their
opinion, we ought to do something for the citizens, we ought to
serve them whoever the voters were. They accept a meager wage,
which was taxpayers wages to do a job for the day and I think we /
ought to do it. Not the stuff we've had before--not the kind of
stuff where it says, uh, where it starts will be non-partisan
when he walks up and says I want to change my registration from
Republican to Democrat and then he has to tell why. Or when he
says he wants to change from Democrat to Republican, you can't
vote in the Governor's race. All these things are used, Lew,
against people voting and changing their registration to desires
of themselves and they are being misinformed and that goes, this
takes you back to the time of the little quarrel with the Election
Board, in the Election Board. I think after the press picked it
up and put it out, our people know more about the election
procedures of this area than any time before.
I: Than they've ever known.
S: I think so. I think they really got on the thing to know.
I: Well, this was change, wasn't it? I mean, when this tri-racial
board was the first tri-racial board in a long, long time but
not in history, wasn't it?
S: Yes, as far as history as far as we have knowledge of, this is
the first tri-racial board in this county that are equality divided,
black, red, and white.
I: Do you know how many uh, before this happened and we are talking
about sometimes before last year, sometime before this happened}
and we are talking about sometime last year, sometime in '71, right?
S: Right.'72, no, we were ,-l-L _-- in March of '72.
I: Well, uh, before this, I don't remember the figures, but you might
remember the figures, I understand there were about 39 registrars
and only three that were not white.
S: They were non-white' there were three non-white after March 18, of
I: Boy, that is something.
S: This is something.
I: And that is a dramatic change.S:And now we have, uh, I am thinking
somewhere around 17 or 18 non-white at this time.
I: At the present time?
S: At the present time. We have been through two elections; and I am
proud to say not that I had a part -t-do- it but because it
did happen, the citizens reported back to me, unless they were
flattering me, that they had one of the most calm elections in the
area and one of the biggest turnouts in the outlying area that we've
I: Well, Mr. Jones we i pausechere for just a mett and he a coke and
some cookies)and I've enjoyed mine, .ad I would appreciate it if we
could continue and you continue in any vein that you like. I am sure
you must have some pet peeves being as close to the people as you
are and being so knowledgeable about the political situation as it
exists and the injustices that exist in the county relative to the
Indians and indeed to not only Indians but to our black brothers as
well and so, I .
S: Lew,, you mention this on our break before you get into or maj6r
kicks --go back up here and tell you about our trip to New York.
I; Yeh, I would like to hear about that. //Pw' L 4/4
S: Well, this was in the spring of '71. Some of us went--we had this
organization, we had no funds we wanted to do something for the
community. We thought maybe some government agency would help
us but we would get enough seed money to get the organization going
where have a small staff. So some of us that were interested in
community development and, uh, we-rkd 'had 1a hee-se together
and-ended up J New York. And from there, there we had previous ar-
rangements to meet with a girl on the Indian --' and to the
best of my memory, her name was Mrs. Oganheimer. fr, at two o' clock
that evening we went in ; we talked to her 7----- -- ---. And
she made the statement that she didn't any records and had never heard
of us up until some short time before we went there. Her statement
was, these are not the exact words, but with this meaning, "where
had 30 or 40,000 Lumbee Indians been all this time because she had
done .. .-- nhad done research foundation and they didn't find
any record of us until some time earlier we had petitioned in for
a few dollars for seed money to get our organization going.
I: That's very strange isn't it?
S: Yes, that's pretty good, p, A pretty good to hide 30,000 people.
S: 30,000 people. Of course, I don't guess that's too hard to do;
I've seen it done in recent years. Maybe I'm not there to say
this, but I knew of it.
I: Do you think they, uh, they list our people, sometimes in other
ways to suit their own purposes? Some of the--I'm talking about
first now the public officials at times in the past.
S: Yes, I really think so. I think that, we're a convenient race.
I: Well, what do you mean by that Mr. Jones?
S: A convenient race, convenient people--they use them--they are used
the way that is most convenient for you. I think when our County
Board of Education goes to Washington to H.E.W. and they have to
have so many, uh, er H.E.W.)and they have to have so many--the
H.E.W. tells them they have to have so many blacks in their schools.
Then, te-ake--it, they run out and pick them up 25 or 40 anywhere
they iset and they have got so many nonwhite. But then suppose
---------------- they are supposed to be sending white in. Then
they send Indians over there and then they hai nonwhite. That's
when they make something besides black and another time they make
us something besides white. So I guess we're just a convenient group.
I: It all depends on what their needs are fe the moment.
S: Yes, just whatever their needs are--they can satisfy the Indian
Agency, the Justice Department, right on downt-with the Indian people.
I: Do you think we've been listed as all three races at different
times for political purposes and for purposes funding and that
sort of thing?
S: Right, right, we have. And we'll be used again. Uh, they will
give us Indian recognition as soon as they get some money sent
out from Washington for Indians. This will be the first of that
race, because I don't dl Washington ever sent any money out
to before. ------- ----I'm going to substantiate this
with something else that we dealt with earlier back here a month,
two months ago. Uh, Miss Brenda Brooks and Miss -'----L -_ --Lockl0 .
I: Those are two Lumbee Indian women leaders?
S: Yes, anet tfey had noticed the rules of the Democratic party
in North Carolina said that any group, uh, wea% -Z -----
population would have representation from that area. Well, uh,
--L -,-S"- I the Democratic party, not wanting to deal with
two groups, listed Rbert-on County with 25,000 blacks and that
was the only minority they had there. I don't know where we came
in. I bet they made white out of us at that time, Lew, because
there wer 60,000 whites in the county at that time, according
to their records. And, this is not justTsomething I am assuming
or anything. I talked to their executive secretary. He said the
censor's report gave him no record of nothing but black and white down
here. And, at the time, I had some censor's reports on my desk that
showed that there were so many Indians, about 30% of the population
down there. I think they got informed and they got their statistics
straightened out. I'm glad they sent Mr. Dial to the convention.
I: Now, this was MrA Adolf Dial?
S: Yes, Professor Adolf Dial. I think this was one thing
I: This is a Democrat,
S: This is one thing that made Mr. Dial the first Lumbee Indian
going to the convention, the national convention.
I: Ha, ha, it's very ironic isn't it? Well, I wanted to ask you
about this education bill, this mammoth bill that's being passed
for education for Indiansand I know we are included this time.
I: Is there any loop hole there that you see that our people can be
deprived of their rights under this bill by te local authorities.
S: Lew, I'm certain I don't know how the bill reads exactly, but I
don't see that we'll get the treatment that it was designed for ,
for the simple reason the way the system is set up. If they're
going to spend the money for education they are going to have to
give it to the local education administrative office. And that
being the R oten County K '-'---and some will go to the
city units under the county.
I: And how many, uh, we have a complicated system here and our listeners
will probably find it hard to believe much less understand. Could you
tell us how many school administrative units we have in this county,
S: We've got 6; we've got 5 city units and 1 county unit. And, .
I: Where are most of the Indians?
S: The Indians are predominately farmers so therefore they were out on
the farms in the county district.
I: I have heard a complaint around and I was wondering if this was
your complaint too, they say that the way it's set up, most of
the white people get two votes to the Indian's one vote because
of the way the districts are set up. Could you help us answer that.
S: Yes, uh, your county unit, which I question to leave out, the county
unit but nevertheless it is practiced. The county unit when they
elect, uh, now, board of elation board of education, it is voted
on by all citizens of the county. Where the city unit has an election,
only the people living in the city units. This makes a very poor
situation. Once in a while you find one that, ---I- -7 -L -----
like he sees it. And I have had .. ., --- .
S: I remember about six years ago I asked a friend of mine how he could
support a certain member of the board to administer the school system
of the county w1e confidence he hadNas a business man. He
said, "well, I don't have any confidence in him''; in other words,
the words he used,'he's not worth damn. t' A,' --then he used
another word and we won't repeat that. Anyhow, he says "That don't
affect me and my children no way. My children are going to such and
such a city unit--being Red Springs city unit. My kids are going
to Red Springs city unit and if I got two in the county' it's not
going to affect meptbr my family."
What can you expect with the majority of county voters having this
same feeling that no matter what happens it doesn't affect them.
JOHN ROBERT JONES
I: Well, they do want their finger in the pie. I mean they want
to help seek the county board of Tape 7, side two, con-
tinuing the interview with Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones do you remember
where we were when we had to .
S: Yes, we were just discussing a friend of mine whose wife and his
kids went over the city units and talking about voting on a county
school system. This, I think I said earlier, you said served as
a---no mater what or who they got,it wouldn't affect him and his
family. This thing hurts.
I: So he was indifferent because of this. But, uh, do you, uh, do
you know why they insist on having the opportunity to vote in
those, you know on matters pertaining to both the city units and
the county units although they have virtually no interest in the
county units, as you noted there. They don't really have an interest
in the county unit, but still they want toL'---'--- desire to control
-Aso to ct
us or control the county unit or control the black people or a com-
bination of this, what do you think?
S: Well, I think, yes, well I would like to make a statement like this,
uh, t. ---------,---most of ius, hate to give up
something we've always had. They've always had control of us for
whatever reason they want. They're not about to freely give it
up today. The only way to get it is take it from 'em. And, uh, teyu
that sounds kind of an evil thought.--
3 I know what you mean.
S: Yes, this is the only way to move across. And I'm not violent in
I: I know you're not.
S: The idea here is to use the law. Now that is the one thing that
seems harder every day. Unless a number of them just to follow
the law And I think,Lew, that any Indian, or any Lumbee
Indian, especially would be more than happy to abide by the law/
if he is treated fairly y the law. In fact, give him the same
rights with the law as you give anyone else and he will abide
by the same rights. If he goes there and changes the law ftr one
individual because his skin is lighter, the law applies to him
-------------because another one's is tan or red or black. The
law applies to him different. Then, you breed violence and crime
and stuff. And, uh, the press--the press is trying to say to our
people over the years and deliver about, we've had fqEn d dollars
spent on us by the state, tax dollars spent by the state-----
Uh, why do we have certain t s amongst the Lumbee Indians
of obeP ton County. They are always in prison or in the court rooms
being tried jut if you make a man fear and --S where he
can't feel like that he can do as good one way2 $iat he can negotiate
as well as you can or do as well as you can at some things. Then if
he can't do it that way, he d try to do it another way. And usually
our people seek violence because that is the only thing they have-- ij
their strong their guns, their force, and their knives. And
this is the only way e can do anything.
I: And do you think this is because the legal, he felt that the legal
process had failed him where he was concerned.
S: Right, it didn't apply to him like it did to the other man. He
didn't have the right. Not only did he not have the right to the
courtroom, he didn't have the rights the same, he didn't have the
same privileges by-him. He didn't have the same type schools or
neither was he able to go sit down and talk to people ;a-could
help him/tecause the first thing here. And this thing is supposed
btebe-reted Lew. It goes so much and it means so much to a person
Lew; I don't have the vocabulary like you or some others have.
But now you take the little instances; I told this one on my wife--
it i a true story. But uh, it's one she's ashamed of. And, she /'
very intiminating, withT----- ---. In 1956 we were married,
/-..- -'. ,,7 /_: / '
we left -----went back to the mountains of North Carolina.
And Lew, if you notice this woman and you had her amongst white,
she is not a real bright skin but we've seen a number of white that
are no brighter complextdon than she had.
I: You could not identify her from appearance as an Indian?
S: No, you could not identify her appearance as an Indian in an area
out of Lumbee land. Uh, we went over to the mountains of-t-hecVs
Z-Z and then later e had another day to leave. We
came back over to Ashtg- North Carolina. It was on a Friday night;
I remember it very well, the Friday evening. We came in, checked in
the motel, took a shower, then dressed after traveling some two or three-
hundred miles that day. And we went from there to the restaurant.
And out there on 220, being the major part of North Carolina, there
was this restaurant. And she and I parked the car somewhere near the
front of it. We got out of the car and I took her by the arm and she
got say 20 feet from the door. And she read a sign on the door--it
said "for whites only". Now, Aehbutghas and never has had any
problems with the Indian people. And this woman, Etabeeze, being
the completion that she is, she would have no trouble getting in.
But she was raised in Rebertsen County, she had been kicked out of
so many places--not kicked out of so many places but had read other
signs over Lumberton. And A .----had got so deeply instilled in her
mind that she balked when she read this sign, "for whites only"
and had to get her mental collections together and realize she was
not in Lumberton and not in Red Springs that she was in Ahbttrg before
she could come up to par with the thing and walk in this restaurant.
Actually, a person ca be intimidating wherever you go, within their
own'selves. This is bad.
I: But,theyve been used to that treatment as their lives at home and even
if this Ash Eg and talking about another city in this same state of
S: Yes, there is no practice of segregation or discrimination against the
Indians not at this time, but she had no problems at all except with
herself. She came back home for a second or two, came back to Robertson
County when she saw that sign. This thing really cuts deeper, that
-- ------------------------unless he has had some too.
S: But -Zl 1---there, I don't know what our good state of North Carolina
did to us, with Highway 74. Does Highway 74 go through Cherokee?
I: I'm not sure-which way. Seventy-four used to gV through am oMke
but they moved it, didn't they?
S: Yes, moved over about a mile. You know 74 Ef Andrew Jackson r
I: Right. Tell us about that, that's interesting.
S: Seventy-four goes through RPbeei-tsn County, it goes through
Columbus County'and I'm certain it goes through Cherokee. This
highway has been named Andrew Jackson Highway. Well, I don't have
to tell you about Andrew Jackson, you know that name. Was the
leader of--he made his name in the Indian4 wars.
S: He was the most anti-Indian t4n anyone we have ever' had,-being
poor and white and out of South Carolina. Then he came in his
army days and made a rapid count --just slaying and killing the
Indians. And a long time he was president, John Marshall of the
Supreme Court ruled that the plantation people, the plantation
people could not take the Indian's land in the state of Georgia)
as they had done. Some Indians petitioned to the Supreme Court,
and the Court ruled in favor of the Indians. And Andrew Jackson's
famous words then --"the marshall has ruled now let him enforce."
I: He defied the Supreme Court. *
S: He defied the Supreme Court of the country. Uh, now they tell us
today that they want, the state of North Carolina, the road that
runs through two no not three and then they want the
Andrew Jackson Highway.
I: And we have to build this, right?
S: We pay taxes to build. Now, I would like the state of North Carolina
to move this road, move this land, move these signsT-that does some-
thing -fl our people. -- ----- v ----- ~ .
F, Andrew Jackson was no good to the Indians; he persecuted them. Why
did they name a road that comes right through an Indian area and call
S: it Andrew Jackson Highway. Why did they2-now what are we going to
do about it. Is the state going to move this road--move the name
of this road--change the name of this road or do we have to go
I: Is this is a nit St road?
S: J/ A federally funded road, U.S. 74; it !s federally funded. Why
o they do that, aad understand? Why they don't change it
to a different name other than i1 Andrew Jackson?
I: Do you think it would be better to give it a number instead of a name?
S: It has a number, Lew, it's Highway 74. We call it the Andrew Jackson
Highway. The best thing I think would be to do is go out and cut
down all the signs -------------------ha! ha!
I: I'm sure many, many, many Indians share that same feeling. I am
sure of that. I don't know what we could do, *r anything we could
do legally about .2
S: I asked politicians about this and they tell us that t-4eohfnon
road name is hard to be changed. I believe if the politicians
] /J, /I
had tde road run through their area that really made them feel bad;
they would change it. But I just don't feel like they want to change
it because--for us. And they don't intend to change it--they keep
telling us the same old story--th =wFeeesn name is hard to change,
ove and dvr-. Unable to charge .
I: But, do you think we are having a new day for the American Indian, all over
national I mean?
S: Lew, I think Mr. Nixon, our president is asking for a new day. Changes
don't come fast. And, uh, I know that Mr. Nixon is sincere and I think
by the time me-sm four more years we can call it either then. I don't
know whether we can know. I probably agree--the programs that he
hos 1:7, /^O1 e.
tried to establish 4- really not 4(tt--Bnne oke needs=here.
I: Do you think he had opposition from the Democrats on the programs?
They know he has introduced a good many.. Well, I heard a high-ranking
Indian say not long ago that President Nixon than anyotber president
in history. Do you share this opinion?
:'rJEly 7Vp,)k /? 1 4
S: Uh, I s... -heinn-f the Lumbee area I'm not a world traveler.
But I know that we've had more--know you and I talked earlier of the
changes made the last three to five years. And .
I: We have an Indian commissioner on the United State Indian Plains
Commission. And we have this is the Honorable Mr. Bgr4ey Blue.
We also have a Lumbee Indian who is head of the Communications Divsion
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And this is something I know we have
never had before. And in the past, it 9as been almost impossible to
get to the White House and of course, in one sense it seems to me,
we can do this better than the reservation Indian who has to go through
the Bureau to get--because we're not Bureau Indians.
S: Well, not only do we have commissioner and well, you have--look
how strong we are under the Nixon administration the boys we--of
the men that we knew--we s Carl Sweatt,
I: He's working in Washington.
( ^ far Wf 2
S' You know what .
S: He's H.E.W.--I remember that7-he taught basic education.
I: He was a Lumbee--can you think of any more?
S: Oh, there's W. J. Strickland up there on an internship with Dr. Watson
that they train to help our people on an economic status.
S: You know, we're going down to the convention next week.
I: How-about Mrs. ShaeEah?
S: Well, Mrs. Sharebashlshe has been there fi some time.
I: She has been there before )Mfss=zaae.
S: She's been there some time.
I: That's Mrs. Helen Shierbeck: S-h-i-e-r-b-e-c-k and she works
S: At least Mr. Nixon didn't get rid of her Democratic friend.
I: Right, bless his heart.
S: You know Lew, we've got something going again. You know Miss
Vieky.-- --is going down to the convention as a mio Miss
Vicky Ransom. Have you hard about that?
I: No I haven't about that. But we had better say right ere that
Miss Vicky Ransom was Miss Lumbee several years)and she has won
several other beauty contests besides.
S: Right. She was Miss Lumbee. She has been Miss Soy. You know the
more recent thing is she's Yellow-- of North Carolina.
I: Right. She is a lovely girl.
S: She is, she's a beauty.
I: She is intelligent and beautiful personality.
S: She has n the highest in morals. I have known B y for some time--
she's the next thing to my daughter.
I: Right. That's Y-i-c-k-y R-a-n-s-o-m.
S: But, uh, she's a--Mr. Nixon's staff has selected her as a Nixonite.
So I hope to see her a T.V. star soon around there on the parade
I: That wouldle great, wouldn't it?
S: Yeh, so this thing is really going good for us now. I don't know
how much we can do. It's just like we talked earlier in the first
of the interview, Lew, on this building coimissionfr t,to the
Republican party, which I am a member of, and uh, but I think they
in North Carolina they live this thing aboutno 44 .. We have
joined in the young- &-Y--/-, leadership of the highest
standards, education,-and morals and I can name a number of them.
They are a very sa Z l group. I socialize with them--triracial and
socialize with them when I am the only non-white in the group. And
never once could I see any discrimination in the group, and if I
"/ ,- r c // / ,/ as ,,to ---
any idea of it when the party-iL -*^ -..-----state-wide I would
have lost part of it 1e.
I: So maybe I think we ought to explain here for the listener or the
reader that in oelrtn County for a long, long time we have had
a one party system. Right?
S: Right. One party system, one party control.
I: And you think all of this is changing, don't you?
S: I am hoping, Lew, that it is changing. Uh, I have seen some changes.
I joined the party back in '58, the opposition party for the Democrats
/hVP /t/ 7 /V a rr,9
not because of the Republican council, because I would rather bewhere
'/7f2z1 they have two-party system.
S: And I have seen more ------than I have seen in beTen
County where we have a one-party system. Anyway, we haveea two-
party system; we're not h economically. I believe
R6b on County comes 93rd in the county out of a 100; 93rd for
capital income. UytjS =ifstf strongholds for the Democrats
Right hereA fr a one-party system. And I feel that anybody
aRhave a one-party. ;.!---- ---+-- ---L .. _
Uh, then there's is no checks in the office. There is no one
trying to help the other one for everybody's going to vote for
him--vote a certain way. They are going to be controlled. It
is my opinion system and the rise in the economy will go hand and
I: Well, I seem to remember--do you remember the per capital income for
white, black and Indian is for this county--the last print we had
on that some time ago.
S: Yes, somewhere around there-I had it laying here, '66 Lew. Uh, I know
that, uh, it-- --c? /_ ,--with the white taking the
I: And it's even low for him, in comparison with the nation.
I: I seem to remember something likeY4,500 fr white and about .,000--
1500 for blacks and about 1,300 for Indians I believe, somewhere in
S: Indians in Lewiston--looks like North Carolina would be a low per
capital income stage, b County being one of the lower capital
income counties in all the state of North Carolina and the Indian
people being in the lowest of a County;,I think that is pretty
I: Mr. Jones with your talentS your ability--you are a person I have
always admired. I have to put that in truth. You could
always admired. I have to put that in fe -te-l-he truth. You could
have gone anywhere else, just about anywhere else. And although
you haveAvery well, you have done wonderfully well here and you
could have done much better somewhere else. Is that a fair state-
S: Yes, I think Lew, uh,
I: I r mand I was just wondering why.
S: There's more opportunity elsewhere. Of course, Lew, I don't know
what I would have done elsewhere--some of us have to have a challenge
before we can do anything.
I: Of course you accepted that challenge we know that and are very
grateful that you have. We are certainly glad you did Z- i W1.
S: Well, maybe I should--could have done more.someplace else. I'm
still proud that I'm here; Ilm proud to be a Lumbee Indian. Maybe
one day I didn't think it was such a great thing where I couldn't
L r / 'f-'.:
get a coke in the drugstore on the streets of thubee. Anyway, today's
a different day. We're going to move; we're going to overcome a lot
of obstacles. And, uh, we're ready to go. We've got good foundations.
This year we just did our thing with our bank, the First Indian Bank
of the United States.
I: That's great, that's great.
S: That's a great one Lew, we have done--a definite accomplishment.
I: You are a part of that, too, aren't you?
S: Yes, Lew, I was one of the tri-racial organizers of that thing. I
del my -- ---. --there, I hope it was to the
advantage of the bank--I thought it was at the time.
I: When did this bank start operating? 33- listeners might not know
about the bank.
S: Sometime, uh, in the spring of '71, some five or six of us got
together, Lew and we decided we wanted a bank. With the efforts
of many politicians we decided we could do it if we could sell
$jc. -74,V 0-/ f.'4i
subscriptions to. .' .t -= ut. excuse me. .near $700,000
or $650,000 stock subscriptions to that amount. And, uh, _ast
get a few more things in the area. The bank commission kind of
hinted that they might give us a charter. So ss the 19th of May
of 19, we petitioned the State Banking Commission for a charter
to operate a state, commercial bank in our country. AnWshortly
thereafterwards, from there we went to the federal agency, the
government, F.D.I.C. federal insurance corporation. They approved
us sometimes in August or September. After that time, we commenced
to sell our stock. And, uh, we sold the $670,000 worth of stocks
then. And we opened our doors on December 23, 1971. This bank has
70% of its stock sold to Indians. Uh, there is 30% sold to non-
Indians. This is the firsttime in the United States that Indians
accepted this challenge and been successful about it. I understand
a number of them have been making ground. And we 4 t see our
brothers from other areas do their thing. Our assets are a little
over two million dollars. Uh, that's somewhere near a 100 people
he- -------:of this thing.
I: There's a beautiful sign on the highway. I just love the motto that
says: "We are on our way up." Does this give you a thrill when you
S: Yes, Lew, it does. lAnd A believe that we are our way up. We
are going to come out. I believe that people are ready to work;all
they want is another chance.
I: Do you think this bank is sort of a economic tool, not only a
service to our people and to the county as a whole but it's also,
do you feel also sort of an economic tool that has helped us with our
progress? It certainly commands respect. Do you see it as an
S: Right, Lew, it's changed the community. It's got, uh, let's see,
now, you remember in Pembroke after about two years ago, we might
have had, I believe we've had one Indian girl working in the bank-
for a year, h -i.a..be.-.-. n Bank. So there's nothing wrong with
S-t i / / ^ai/jk /A^ ./i _t
it; no And today you walk in the
Bank in Pembroke and you find per-y Indian girls. Now, uh, Lew
I'm convinced that these girls are qualified now, they've been
.l. -_ .d .*:,"
S: It just happened this way and we And, uh, so as I see
this bank, it is not what that we'll do directly to the people. 6f
Ahiajwhat will happen indirectly.
S: Uh, I remember the banks of Pembroke, I mean of Robebn-t County,
more particularly the Bank of Pembroke. Someone told me one time
that they got more collateral per dollar loan than any bank in the
I: Uh, hum.
S: Now, uh, Lew, that looks good in -------. It
va / I,
don't look good--I de. see how it look good a service to the
S: And, uh, Lew, today I beC4eve the banks are going to get a little
bit more than what we want them to. There is not necessarily
a Lumbee National at all. Just like my friends tell me when
I ask them to come to Lumbee, they tell me they've gotten mighty
good to them at First Union.
I: Ha! ha!
S: So I'm proud to know that First Union, National, and Baltimore
have gotten good to our people.
I: So am I. There is another matter I wanted to ask you about. I
don't know whether you were aware of this or not but there was
a--some discontent among Indian people around Red Springs because
of tre National Bank over there and an employee over there. The
Indians say, the Indian story is that this employee was too good
to Indians and so they, uh, the bank either fired him or. .
S: They transferred him Lew, they transferred him to a home office
where he- 2--0 por,
I: The Indians resented this, didn't they?
S: Yes, they did.
I: Didn't they boycott the whole town of Red Springs for a while?
S: I know some of them done it but I don't think they organized it
high enough--that no Indian mr-i 1-ie thing. We've not
been--Lew, we've never been quite that clanish, you how; we've
been good people.
I: We've tried to be fair, do you think?
S: Lew, we've been fair to all people. MA I think that is one thing
they have taken advantage of, you know. This is the reason we've
helped everybody else except ourselves.
I: And now we are beginning to help ourselves.
S: Let's hope we are.
S: It appears that this is the situation now) we are going to
help ourselves. And I think when it's all over, we will continue
helping the white man, the black man ----------------------------
--- ---------------------------there is no reason why no man
should live decently. There is no reason why they shouldn't have
sufficient homes. It could very easily be acquired this day and
time. And. uh, I think that's what hurt Robertron County before.
A couple of years before, we didn't turn love, we didn't 1uiel,
we didn't because-we didn'-tcreate, we didn't
create as many jobs- Have you tried toa h oer recently?
I: Yes, I have as a matter of fact and haven't been able to get one.
S: It's a different situation today--the homes arebeing built here,
uh, it's giving more people employment-more homes being built here.
And we're in a cycle now everybody is spenders--not only getting
new homes but getting jobs,uh, enough- ..-2. -buildings to help
pay for them, too. Uh, anyhow this doesn't hurt any individual.
I can't see why, uh, any group or any individual another group
to mover-forward financially because, uh, if I helped you, you're ,
v< ':s,. i ./y s' 'C-i, uc-
going to spend your dollars on someone else unt-il someone may spend
some on me, and I can make a profit off of it.
I: I want to ask you another question to get your opinion about. It
seems to me that Simpson County is, uh, is it a couple of counties
S: Yes, it's- -- 73.
I: We've always recognized SAmpson County Indians as the same as our
Indians here ,ad Rebert-tn is no different at all-'they are all
from the same group, aren't tiey?
S: J frck -> /y
I: It's very interesting because, uh, in y thesis about them--you know
the colonists and the Indians a4tihey inland, some of them settled
in Sampson and others get moving farther inland.
S: Lew, -do you figure us ---.---during this, uh, 1rWarbes-
on these swamps and low lands, don't you think that maybe Andrew Jackson
pushing the Indians out of the area and the people before that were
just remnants of what they left of it?
I: Well, this is certainly true of, at least, it's part of the picture.
I belle anthropologists agreeion this; I am certain that Doctor
Gultun turr of t' State University, he speaks of all the Indians as
Indian survivors, he means these are the people that survived the Indian
wars. Uh, this is my opinion.
S: Uh, this is a, very much so. I think Afs one reasonvtook up
the act of, you know, united all Indians because of the persecution
a hundred and fifty years ago.
I: Right, well we had a school case, you know, Mr. Jones in 1970 and many
of our people protested what they considered to be an unfair segregation
plan.and uh, I happen to be in the group that sat in your county and this
is where the federal court was, and the judge was Judge Butler, Audronam
Butler and I heard him say out of his own mouth: he said "My father was
instrumental in getting the Indians in this counties' schools and he
has tried to get them schools',' but he says "I know all these people
and he says for a hundred years, the whites and blacks, jf.t the tax
money of these people and get themselves schools and these people fs
no schools'.' He said "I am very sympathetic towards them but I have
to administer the law.' And he said, "well, I'm very sympathetic."
When he said this, a cheer went up, you know, because there were many
Indians in there and they just applauded and this sort of flattered
me, because I didn't know whether he might, uh, this judge could have
fined us all for contempt of court. But he didn't'he was very under-
standing. And so, uh, my question is, don't you think that, uh, uh,
legal officials are coming to see the Indian problems more and more
and are going to get a fair consideration from the law and from the
enforcement of the law?
S: Well, it's been a long time since, uh, since Andrew Jackson, -------
---- -----------------------the Supreme Court decision.
I: Do you think we're going to have more Andrew Jacksons?
S: Uh, Lew, I don't .yes we're going to have some bigamists. We're
going to have some racists. We're going to have people stand on the
street corners and say uh, yes it will; it's, it will be the same thing
/JL1- #o //r'cc'. Z^
as blacksv- ey send the blacks back tA=e. You will have- t put the
Indians on ----f- ^-. You've got, you'll have plenty of
Andrew Jacksons. But, uh, generally speaking, our people believe
more in law and order, as the system of the United States believes in
law and order. We're going to follow the law as it is written. We're
going to accept people as people and not as color rnd so forth. And,
uh, it's going to be a d place to live. Uh, your community will
never realize, that --the things that I realize, because they are
younger than me. My children can't realize the days that uh, --
;aJ Lltllrmie ,
-------they couldn't use the bathroom They can't realize the days when,
uh, the government put 14 professors at Pembroke State and only 51
students and there were plenty of kids around here too that wanted to
go to college too and there was room for them. In '44, when I was out
'44 Lew, and there was only 51 students. There was 14 professors.
And, uh, ha I,-a waste, a bad waste. Uh, the education system
wasn't up to what it should have been. Uh, my broken English is
the -------------, we've just about wore out of our vocabulary over
and over again, Lew from, uh, being here and others in the area and
not getting outt-and mixing with the others.
I: Do you think we're getting, this might be an unfair question too,
I'm going to anwer and you can answer if you like ..