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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Randolph Eddings Rt. 2
Pembroke N. C.
B: This is August 29, 1972 in Pembvoke North Carolina, in the home of
Brenda Brooks and I'm interviewing Mr. Randolph Eddings. Would
you give me scme of your personal family history Mr. Eddings.
E: Well, my father was Joseph Riley Eddings, my mother is Rosa Lee
Thompson. And I'm thirty six years old, born October 2, 1935 in
St. Pauls, North Carolina and. this is home .
;B How many members in your family. how many brothers and sisters?
E: Eight brothers and two sisters.
B: And you are the oldest?
B: And were you born in this county.-.. you always lived here?
B: What about your education. awwlJ you give me some of the history
of your primary sal-however far you were educated?
E: I was educated through the High School. Um, most of it in
er ~ County, about two years in South Carolina the early part.
B: 'fB---Pr Wr. h at part of South Carolina?
E: Near .B niovill
B: Are you a Lumbee Indian?
B: Did you find any discriminatory acts during your school experience
in South Carolina or in bewi- County?
E: No, in in umr, my school experience,1 was too young to notice
it if there was any .un, Maybe towards the last there was .
no, I can't say I ever did.
B: What about your vocation? Did you get educational training for
a specific vocation or what happened after High school?
E: Well, I went to um, one semester of college and umi, then I
went to South Eastern Community College to study sewing machine
B: And what about your Military experience Have you served any time
in the Armed Forces?
E: Two years in the Army.
B: Did you experience any discriminatory acts during the time.you were
in service especially on the local level?
B: Um, what abo.t your church affiliation, have you had a history of
being closely affiliated with any of yurs local churches?
B: I'm not supposed to ask all these negative questions that you .cn get
no and yes answers. Um, what kind of involvement an have you been
involved in anything in the community or county that you think would
be interesting for us to know about as far as getting history of
the Lumbee Indians? Um, what about ur, your marriage. Were you
married in the county?
E: No, I was married in South Carolina.
B: And we had some I wanted you to tell me something about why
you were married in South Carolina and if there was any
discriminatory attitude$ or action$ toward you as a client in
the chapel :;own there and why.
E: Well at the time it was back in fabtg e and otherhan being
married in the church, I don't remember urn, chapel any place
othar than Billings, South Carolina. And um, there was some f
question when I got there, signed up one day wei there was no
problems then -We went back and um, then the lady asked me if I
would um, swear that I was Indian. She said because she couldn't
marry a mixed races and if I would swear ;f I was Indian .
B: Why was it questioned ebs why did they even question your being
E: Um, well my father was white, my mother's Indian and I'm (A2 e ,J
S )leaning towards my father I guess. I am^. I look more
white than I do Indian aaw I guess.
B: the palefaced features sat out, huh? Um, has this been
a problem for you or has it been an asset ie you because as a#
Lumbee Indian you do display features of the Caucasian more
heavily than the Lumbee?
E: Well yes it has. It's um, been a problem on both ways it's um,
thr: s been tines th t if I had been more flexible, I guess,
I could've got as re&l well. And um, I'm just not built that way
and times that it would get me in trouble, being white or
so taken to be, and then there were times that it would get me in
trouble the other way. But um, my philosophy is just being a man
and and u., being treated as a man 11%; S<* proven different.
,And that has caused some ( ct- ).
B: How have you suffered or benifit/ed as a citizen in. *Rg9ss9
County because of your caucasian features and your being an Indian
E: Well, to answer the first there, I found it very easy to get a job,
and then again J*namw caused me to quit quite a few quicker than ordinary.
UM, I can go down to Lumberton and any of the um, jobs that were .
up until about fige years ago, an Indian had ever held, I could get
'em pretty easy. And um, and I could keep 'em so long as I was
acting white. And um, just as soon as I would run into something
that would proVe um, make me stand up and say what I was, then I
I would be treated a little different.
B: You didn't necessarily advertise the fact that you were Indian then,
until circumstances provoked it
E: No, Inever had to,),cause, it d like I said I always figured that I
was a man and I.wanted to be treated as a man until somebody found
mme other reason other than my race to treat me different,.
B: Can you sight any specific experiences you've had?
E: Well, I was, I was hired as a sewing machine mechanic once in
Lumberton and um, I was approached about two weeks after I was hired
on as a mechanic and asked if I would take head mechanic job.
course it meant a lot more responsibility and I)g. I was hesitant
at first about taking it because I just didn't feel that well,
an Indian had never done it before and I was almost afraid to try,
-ity ut I did and ever thing went along fine for about a year, r-'
maybe less than a year, And then they um, there was a salesman
that call on me to sell supplies to me and um, I got real friendly
with 'em and they would um, sit around and talk sometime, two
or three hours and one day this one particular salesman came by
,and wanted me to show him over the plant. And as we wfre walking
through the plant, um, he x;S I noticed you have quite a few
Indians working here;/ e says S, Aare they good workers? "ind I started
burning in the face just a little bit and I said "yeah, I think we
work pretty good." And og course he started apologizing right away
nd said he didn't mean anyti a he didn t know that I was
Indian. He um, almost got on his knees and askme to forgive him
for it. Of course there was nothing to forgive, Pcause I was
I was proud of the people and proud that I was an Indian. But
things-like that, T would kindly butn sometimes.
B: What about your experience in the military as a "t equalE "Indian?"
E: Well, um, I was inducted (<- ) Raleigh and, I was the only
Indian in the group of about twenty five. And um, we went down
to Fort Jackson, South Carolina from there and at the time that I
was at Fort Jackson I didn't see another Indian. And I was beginning
to wonder if all of 'em had disappeared. And then we were shipped
out to Indianapolis, Indiana Comp Adaberry. And still I was
without Indian friends, I had never been away from home before,
I was only seventeen,AI was pretty lonesome there for a while
but somebody came by and said that there was a couple of Indians
coming in down the street and they thought they were from Reoboeen
County. Ies. made haste to go down there that night and looked
them up, and there was three fellows from my home town. And urn,
we stuck together pretty close from then on but. But um, I Aihl'
have too much trouble -'aw the white people from other states or
even two-hundred miles from I4oa.eIn County. But um, usual the ones
from around Lumberton, ( ) and Rowland, I had
more trouble with than anybody else. Like sometimes we'd go upt6wn
on the weekend and take in a movie and if there was a western or if
Aan Indian party come on the screen, they wouldll turn around to
me and ask me if thatSwae the way we did it in Pembroke and um,
'course it was a big joke for a while but sometimes they would get
on my nerves pretty good and eventually one night we did have a fight
B: What abbut movies in sosa. County in your particular situation?
I understand we had um, ( theatres in Lumberton that
we could attend the movies but we were required certain areas.
E: Yes, um, my wife and I used to go down to the Carolina in
Lumberton. M f course, there was three sections there. I
think the um, coloredghad one part of the upstairs andlIndian
people had another section upstairs and the )imite people were
downstairs. And um, when I came out of service, I um, always
went where I wanted to go. If I wanted to go upstairs, I went
upstairs, if I .anted to go downstairs, I went downstairs. And a
lot of times I would go downstairs just to prove that I could.
And all the time, I guess I was just kidding myself because when
I had somebody with me as I did find out at one time, then I would
have to go upstairs. Um, my wife and I went down and um, of course,
we started d wnstairs like Ibeen going when I was going by myself,
right away the lady asked me um, shouldn't I go upstairs or
something like that. She told me to go upstairs and um, (A-LC CA- _
a few words.
B: Do you think4the county has changed in respect to the experiences
that your children may face and those that have exist. Maybe
you haven't faced 'yof them, because of your features, but
do you have hope that our county is undergoing some change and
that because yo':r child is a normal human being he will not face
similar discriminatory acts?
E: 'I'm hoping that he won't. But um, I w (/w-e ^ l-i ),
I. .. I. .. I. .the pnly difference I see now, thiit was .
when I was younger,4 fifteen years ago, is that now they're behind
your back and they. they .they don't care anymore about
you than they did then. It's just that they are quieter
abou it and they. .. they um, they. they'll let you join in
or take you in. They let you come in but they're not doing it
because they want to do it. they re just putting up with you.
B: What about the school that your children attend now. How how
do you 4 about the quality and the fairness in the educating of
the Indian children in KoM oon County?
E: I, well um, I have heard that some of our better teachers were going
to the hiite schools, but um, I really .
B: You say our better teachers Indian teachers?
E Indian teachers, yes.
B: Indian teachers who /qu4-y to teach, and because they show a little
superiority, they're being placed in 1/hite schools.
E: Yes, but I can't say that that's because of the Xhite Person. I
think a lot of it is coming from our own people. They're ( 2--
y-an> p L7-. )- by pb.g*well, yes, it all rg ee back to the same thing.
They're they're being used and un, a lot of 'em, in order
to keep a good job or what they Agure to be a good job, they'll
be um Uncle Tom just to be a just to keep their job.
B: This was my first interview and.I have had an emergency apendectomy
last Saturday and I have been unable to get to work immediately
on interviewing. But I hope that you will be receiving many tapes
from me in the near future. i. .