Title: Interview with Libby Sue Lowery (October 31, 1972)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007025/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Libby Sue Lowery (October 31, 1972)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: October 31, 1972
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007025
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 32A

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
the University of Florida


L._U 32 -

OCTOBER 31, 1972

I: This is October 31, 1972. I am Lew Barton interviewing for

the DorisDuke Foundation's American Indian Oral History Program

under the auspices of the University of Florida. With me in

my home this afternoon through her courtesy is a young lady

who is a student at Pembroke State University. And I'm going

to ask you to give us your name if you would please ma'am?

S: My name is Libby Sue Lowery.

I: Uh, how old are you, or should I ask that c a lady?

S: I'm nineteen.

I: All right. And could you tell us your parents' names?

S: My parents' names are Mr. and Mrs. Tohnnie Lowery.

I: Uh, um. And you've here in Pembroke most of your life?

S: All of my life.

I: You're now nineteen?

S: Yes, I am.

I: And which year in college are you?

S: I'm a second semester freshman.

I: Well, there are a number of things I'd like to talk to you about.


It's always interesting to talk to young people on this program.

You are a Lumbee Indian?

S: I am a Lumbee Indian.

I: Uh, since you've been over there have you noticed any difference

in the treatment given to Lumbee Indians and given to other

students? Do you notice any difference or would you rather not

comment on that? If you would rather not, then just pass over


S: Well, the Lumbee Indians don't, they don't seem to associate

with the white teachers, like the white students do.

I: Uh, hum. Do you think this is on the part of the Indians or

the whites?

S: Maybe more so on the white teachers, than on the Indian students.

I: How about white students, do they--do you ever get snubbed by

white students?

S: Yes, occasionally you get snubbed by a white student. Especially

if it's around Lumberton or Red Springs, those around home.

I: These are the towns, by the way, which are nearby towns inside the


S: Right.

I: What are you studying? I mean what do you plan to become, a teacher?

S: Yes, I do hope to be a teacher.

I: Are you going to specidize in elementary work or other work?

S: I hope to be able to teach on the college level. I'd like to get

my masters.

I: Oh, great. I certainly wish you success. I certainly admire your


effort. Uh, are Indian students conspicuously missing or few

on campus or are they so few that, well, this is not a fair ques-

tion--uh, what I would really like to know is do the Indian

students have a tendency to be clanish and to cling together or

to associate with each other on campus?

S: Yes, the Indian students do associate with each other on campus.

They're very close. And you probably have exceptions to tHis I

Suppose. But there has been a noticeable lack of rapport between

Pembroke State University and the Indian community which surrounds

it. And of-course we know that Pembroke State University originally

was charted by the Indian people of this area. And, uh, they have

had some differences from time to time, noticeably in the past few

years, particularly in regard to Old Main, famed Old Main Movement,

which was bitterly protested by some of the people, Indian people

of the area and became a national issue. And, finally, the admin-

istration did come across;and in this instance, we did beat city

hall. Uh, I would like to ask you if I may, and I can assure you

this will not get to the administration. I would like to ask you if

during this campaign there were noticeable innuendos about it or what

you should say or what you should not say, or that you should take

a stand or that you should not take a stand on it or any hints or im-

pressions. Or did you receive anything like this? ,

S: Well, when the issue was the hottest, I just-ent on campus then.

But since then, the white students, especially, don't seem to realize

the significance of Old Main to the Indians. Therefore, if they say

anything about it, they must say it among themselves. They don't say

it around Indian students. You never hear it discussed on campus.


Not now, not this fall.

I: The publicity department over there claim that there are about

.390Indian students. Do you think this is a pretty accurate


S: Yes, it's very close to it. I doubt seriously if there's any more

than 300 on campus.

I: This includes special students?

S: Yes.

I: And how about black students?

S: The black students seems to be increasing each year on campus.

I: And when this controversy began, there were 54 and probably more

than that you would say now.

S: There definitely is more than 54.

I: This is good. Uh, do you think. .do you think anything is being

done on campus to include the rapport between the administration or

between P.S.U. and the communities that surround the Indian com-


S: Well, the administration, uh, I guess it would be the administration

who sets up the new studies or new courses to be offered. They've

begun to offer courses for Indians about Indian history, archaeology,

et cetera. And they hope to expand this curriculum. They'd like to

get a real good Indian study program out here so they can. But, I

think this will help because the Indian students would really be in-

terested in something like this.

I: Are you, by the way, are you taking any courses on Indian studies


S: I'm taking archaeology of the North American Indian.


I: Um, hum. Are those classes well attended?

S: Yes, they are.

I: Uh, I'm interested in the interest. Uh, .do white students

generally show an interest in Indian studies courses. .I mean

just basing your observation, you know, on people you've seen
in class, and so on.

S: Well, the students that I take class with in our college is--

the white student seems to be: very interested in it. They con-

sider the Indians to be something of a mystery to them. And this

intrigues them. They've got their own & ie about us.

I: Un, huh. Uh, they regard us sort of as an exotic people, you


S: Yes.

I: I think this is generally true to everybody. Uh, you know, all

non-Indians regard Indians as exotic. And perhaps, do you think

this is something that we could use to our advantage--this interest

in Indian people?

S: I think so, because if we used the interest in a constructive way,

then I think we can improve our status.

I: Um, huh. You don't encounter any animosity or anything like that

on campus from other students, do you--do you notice as a rule?

S: Animosity.

I: Uh, huh. Antagonism or resentment toward Indian students by other


S: I think among the sororities and fraternities, you would find it

more so there than anywhere else on campus, because they tend to

be such an elite group.


I: Uh, huh. With this attitude might also be reflected against others

of their own ethnic group too, don't you agree?

S: Probably so but I think most are against Indians because there're

really aren't any Indian boys in the fraternities.

I: No Indian boys?

S: No Indian boys got in fraternities.

I: Do you have to pass certain- requirements in order to enter?

S: I believe there's a fee and there's also certain things that they

have to do before they're accepted. You know, they have to pledge

certain things.

I: Um, hum.

S: And, uh, I don't the Indian vewee so'far has attempted to join

or actually feel like they would be welcome.

I: Um, hum. Do you tlink, uh, of course, you probably don't have an

index to reference to other institutions in the large degree, but

do feel that the entrance exam Lr --

gE nonwhites? Do you think it particular difficult to pass this

entrance exam?

S: I think so for the average Indian student around here in town, and

in Robertson County, because most of the parents haven't completed

high school. And their language is one of the--is very simple

language that's been used. And when they go up to the college
i, ,I
entrance examination, English part especially, is quite difficult

to hack for the Indian student.

I: Uh, hum. So the S.A.T. test would be based on. on we might say

white cultural patterns--might be revised somewhat to be a more accurate


measurement of I.Q., true I.Q.

S: Right. It's a poor measure of a person's I.Q. because they haven't

been exposed to, uh, what some of the S.A.T., especially the English


I: Uh, huh. That's a very astute observation. I'm glad you made it.

We carries this compaint from other quarters throughout the nation.

And perhaps, they will get around to doing something about eliminating

this or revising drastically. Uh, how about your social life other

than fraternities and sororities. Uh, do you ever date a white boy?

S: No, I haven't dated a white boy.

I: And do you think this would be found wrong if you did? If you did

went to date a white boy, do you think white students would frown

on you, generally, or have you had an opportunity to observe any-

thing like this? Any other...any other student.

S: Well, there's one couple, an Indian girl and a white boy who are

going steady. And I think that some of the Indian students and white

students resent this.

I: Uh, hum. So. .it's a two-way street.

S: Yes. The personalities that too has a lot to do with it,two people


I: This is only couple you've been seeing.

S: That I've really observed, that I've paid any attention to.

I: Um, hum. And, can you think of anything if you had your. .if you

had an opportunity to be. .the chancellor for a day or to be head

of the board for a day, the board of trustees or governor of this

state, or some other place of power where you could change things

and so they can do it that readily. But if you're. let me phrase


my question differently. If you had the power to change anything

in P.S.U. what would, uh, what do you think you would change--

first of all?

S: I think I would try to get more Indian teachers on campus.

I: I've heard it said there were about three or four Indianprofessors

and, uh, we never said, settle on whether it was three or four

completely. But, uh, is this somewhat around this area, do you


S: Yes, it's definitely three or four, I know three definitely are

Indian. And the fourth one--I don't know whether it goes to Indian

or not.

I: Um, hum. How about your other courses, do you find it difficult

to take certain courses and. .very. .find it more easy to take

others. I know that this happens to most students. But do you

think--can you think of any courses which are difficult because

of your background? Would you say as an Indian student?

S: Uh, right now, all of my courses are easy to me. But for some of

other Indian-students that are taking the courses with me--it's

not quite so easy. Especially English, they find it difficult.

They really have to work hard at it.
I: Do you remembertyour score on the S.A.T. test was?

S: I believe my score was just 800.

I: And many Indian students can't even. .can't make 800 at all, can


S: No.

I: And the lowest passing level is what--700?


S: The lowest, I believe, that you can get on is 700 or 750.

I: Uh, huh. Uh, there is, uh, there seems to be a tendency to

be sensitive toward Indian problems, particularly now that the Old

Main issues has--have been solved or at least in the process of

being solved. Do you think. .have you noticed any resentment

because of. ...that you could attribute to this or do you think

maybe it's just part of the general attitude of indifference

toward Indians?

S: Well, the white students question why the old building still

standing there--why don't the Indians do something to it?

They've got it there, now, iy not do something to it?

I: Right.

S: That's the question the white students ask and some of the Indian

students too.

I: Yes, that's a good question and I'm it will be answered in due

time. Something definite will be done. Uh, particularly when

the general assembly meets because, uh, I understand that it will
j Ae cI\V o rce$ of
be taken ------. .--- ----preliminary sup-

port and so forth.

S: That the view concerning Old Main, I think that the administration

is glad that it did say that now.

I: It's become a great asset, ashn't it?

S: Yes, especially since they're going to have this drama,ou door

drama, Old Main will bring more students into Pembroke State University.

I: The student body now consists of about 2,000 or so?

S: Yes.

I: So you think that, uh, the fact that there was an Old Main issue

and that, uh, this, you see, is such enormous publicity and became


the national controversy that this will not help--help the enrolment.

S: Yes, the University's going to benefit from it, definitely.

I never realized it.

I: But, they're not saying too much.

S: No. They want to make it an Indian museum, hopefully.

I: Well, then I don't know if you're familiar with the American Indian

Movement so I won't ask you about that--that's going on right now.

Uh, how about. .I'm sorry for the interruption, uh the telephone

I should have taken it off the hook before we started this inter-

view. Uh, do you think, uh, the policy for young people is the

liberal one or very strict one? What is your idea about that?

In other words, do you have any ideas along such lines?

S: On campus?

I: Uh, huh.

S: I think it's rather liberal.

I: Um, hum. Do you think P.S.U. generally follows in the general

direction of other universities in this respect?

S: Of letting students being able to express themselves?

I: Uh,yes. I'm talking also about life in the dorms and, uh, the

relationship between boys and girls, the whole bit.

S: Well, Pembroke State University is rather strict about boy and girl

relationships on campus. As far as this co-ed dorms, I don't

think we'll be seeing any of them soon on campus.

I: (Laugh) I think you're right. Uh, do you think, uh, do you tdink

it's rather strict about dress? Is there a certain way you have

to dress and a certain length boys have to wear their hair and


this sort of thing?

S: No, there's no limit on that.

I: Uh, hum. How about minis and microminis is there a certain

length your dress has to be and this sort of thing?

S: If there is, they're not stressing it.

I: Uh, huh. I was just wondering because, uh, there has been some

things like this at other institutions amd I was hoping to make

some kind of comparison there. Uh, I. .do you think. uh, the

Lumbee Indian students who is in college. Uh, do you think, uh,

they're pretty well informed in matters regarding boy and girl

relationships? Do you think Indian schools generally, uh, are

informing the students well in this respect? Well, if you want

to come right down and call it that--we'll just call it sex ed-

ucation which is being taught in most schools throughout the

nation, you know. And you having come through high school

recently and you are now in college. I'm wondering if these

things are stressed or if they're passed over very lightly, or

you know.

S: They're being discussed in the high schools.

I: Uh, huh.

S: On sex education. They can't come right out and say sex education

but they do teach it.

I: They call it hygiene or something like that. Don't they?

S: Right, they cover it over in the P.E. classes and biology classes.

I: And this is usually in separate groups, .uh, the two subjects

are generally separated for this kind of teaching in the high



S: Well, now in the P.E. classes, the girls and boys are separated.

But in biology class, it's taught with the boys and girls in

there together and it's taught with the proper terms to be used.

I: Right. Well, I was just wondering about this because here in

my own time in high schoolof course, it wasn't taught at all and

we know it's being taught and accepted on this university now.

I was just wondering if we're up to par in this particular thing,

if we're keeping pace with the progress that has been made along

these lines. I guess I can call it progress. Uh, I. .do you

personally, if this is artif this is too personal--we'll just type

over it. But, you being a young person, what you think is

very important I think now to other young people who will be

reading this. .the transcript of this. Do you think the attitude,

uh, today's attitude towards young people is too liberal or too

strict or. .I'm talking about the over-all attitude nmt just

school, but I'm talking about home environment, school, everything.

Do you think Lumbee Indians, our people, have a tendency to hold

back in these things whereas other people may be more liberal in

terms of these things.

S: Well, the Lumbee can't enjoy, I believe, are more strict .than

white parents are, simply because they know the stern the whites

have had toward the Indians. The children are taught to be reserved;

they're taught to try and get an education. And the parents try

to lay down a guard for their children, to protect them. Tey are

more restrictive than the white parents are.

I: Uh, hum. You think Indian parents are generally more restrictive *

p I see. And interestingly enough, I met a o afa girl


in Polk County recently and she feels the same way. And she does

not feel that her parents are too strict by any means and you

know, and the parents tell me that they are rather strict

because of the ministry. She was not resentful of this in any

way. She did not feel that they were too strict. And she agreed

with the parents. And I was wondering if this was because this

love for her parents that she felt she had to agree with them.

And I don't think you would feel that you had to agree about any-

thing, do you?

S: No, I don't have to agree with anything.

I: Right. But these things are interesting. And I certainly believe

in our young people and idealism and also their liberal tendencies

in the direction of better information along these lines. And, uh,

I shouldn't be injecting my opinion at all here but this is something

interesting to young people everywhere. And, if you'd rather we move

on to some other subject, we can or I'd like anything you have to

say along these lines because, uh. .

S: One thing that I've observed on campus between the Lumbee Indian

students and the white studentstthat the Lumbee Indian students

are more conservative than the average white student on campus.

The dress is more conservative; their actions are even more con-

servative than whites. Well, if we're put under pressure, we

feel as if we're setting. .we're ambassadors on campus and among

the rest of our people.

I: Uh, huh. You 're sort of put on the spot, aren't you?

S: Definitely.

I: And I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, what

about you? Do you think. ..


S: I think it has its merits. And then they are. like you say,

you're put under pressure. Because we misbehave or we break

some of the laws and a white student or somebody sees it, well,

then naturally we're going to feel like they're saying, "well,

there goes a dum Indian'! you know. And, we're sick of that;

we don't want to have anybody say anything about us, especially

at the college that was originally for us.

I: Right, uh, but it's true that generally, though, isn't it that

Indian girls are supposed to be a bit shy. Do you think Indian

girls in college are a big shy?

S: They are.

I: And,. I think. .at least, it's been said that this is characteristic

of Indian girls and whether this is because of home environment

or whatever, uh. I think it's a beautiful trait, myself. But

then I'm prejudiced. Uh, how about opportunities in various fields

on campus, you have to have a wider choice now perhaps, then you

could when I was coming along. There are more fields in which you

could specilize and..

S: I imagine you had business administration, did't you?

I: Yes, we had some business courses. I'm just wondering if it has

expanded, uh. Well, there's one thing I wanted to ask you about and

you don't have to answer unless you want. You don't have to answer

of this, unless you want, just say no comment. and we'll tdak about

something else. I will certainly understand. But, do you feel

restricted in expressing yourself in any way at all on campus or

do you think the freedom of speech may be encumbered by certain

unspoken things, or certain attitudes or maybe even vocal things


in some instances?

S: Well, I know that in the archaeology class, certain things may be

motioned about the Lost Colony of Lumbee Indians. You know some-

body in there, might say, "Well, how do we know there's a Lost
Colony?" They'll come up with some wild theory, It just doesn't

make sense, you know, and if I stand up andsay well, I try to

defend it. They're going to look at her.#ow does she know, he's

a Lumbee.

I: Uh, huh. But you're not restricted in expressing whatever your

opinion happens to be? Are you?

S: No.

I: They would listen respectfully to whatever you had to say.

S: They would listen.

I: Uh, well, this is--this is the thing I was asking. Uh, how about

your uh, your physical ed courses and things like this? Do you

think the Indians athlete is generally on equal par with the

athletes from other ethnic groups?

S: I think so.

I: The Indians have a reputation for being good in athletics and do

you think we're holding our own in that respect at P.S.U.?

S: I would say so, cause there's Ronnie Chavis and Victor Ellis--

they're all fine athletes.

I: Um, hum. Yes, they certainly are, and, uh, they do give good

account of themselves even though they are in the minority, don't



S: We're well representative--rtcntafiP 7I

I: How about religious--religious activities on campus, do you

have much of that?

S: Well, there's a Baptist Union and quite a few of the Indian

students associate with it, attend the meetings. They're all

active, I would say.

I: Uh, how about your drama department? Do you have any connection

at all with the department?

S: No, I have no connection at all with the department.

I: How about--do you circulate enough that you, uh, you know, you

hear what people call scuttle-butt or or what people are talking

about, you know, and how they feel. Students generally--uh, I

was going to ask you did the idea of the Indian pageant appeal

to students generally at P.S.U. Do you think they think it's

a good thing or they're indifferent or is there another attitude

do you think?

S: Surprisingly enough, I've never heard this subject mentioned;

it's never been discussed on campus--not the groups that I've

been in.

I: Uh, huh, and yet this is a major project in this county, isn't

it? I mean, among all three races, uh, that's been in the news

very, very often and many, many public meetings for the last

three years. And so it's a little surprising, uh, do you remember

seeing it mentioned at all in the P.S.U. newspapers I mean, student


newspaper. Uh, are there any Indians, have there been any Indians

connected with newspapers since you've been thereAe remember?

S: No.

I: Do Indians get mentioned pretty often in fhe Pineneedle. By the

way, that's the name of it, Pineneedle. Or would you say they

get mentioned in proportion to the number of them on campus.

What I'm trying to say is. .do you think. I might as well

just come right out and say it--do you think they get fair

coverage by the student newspaper?

S:No, they don't.

I: Uh, can you think of some things that P.S.U. could do to help

Indian students?

S: Perhaps, they could give more support to The Lumbee Organization.

I: Hum, huh.

S: On campus.

I: Is this organization usually given a cold shoulder. .sound of

disapproval of the sale of something along these lines? Or some-

thing that simply tolerated?

S: I would say it's simply tolerated.

I: Uh, huh. Mr. Ed Chavis is very active in that group and his

Indianess is very conspicuous. Have you noticed the reaction

to Ed on campus? Uh, Ed is very proud of his Indianess and, uh.

S: Yes, he is.

I: And I'm wondering if other students react one way or another to

this. Is Ed generally liked on campus?
(ta't-S ?
S: YesV/Ed's got the personality I think that sort of draws people

to him.


I: Ed could probably pull anything off and, you know.

S: I think so.

I: Yes, he certainly has a marvelous personality and, uh, and

so do you by the way.

S: Well, thanks.

I: And the student which lacks, you know, dynamic personality is

at a sad disadvantage at P.S.U., would you think?

S: I would say so.

I: You have to have a little extra.

S:t Yes, We have got to try and meet people.

I: Do you think they meet you half way when you do try?

S: Yes, some of them.

I: Do you feel that P.S.U. owes something tee? The Indian students

because of the fact that their forefathers established the in-

atitution or do you think they think this is not relevant?

I'm talking about attitudes.

S: Everyone on campus should be treated equal there. Especially

the whites do--they're there to get an education. E-ertet all

on the same scale. And, uh, I would say that there's no--

I wouldn't say that the white students feel that the Ind an

children should get any sort of special treatment simply because

they're Indian.

I: We know that many white institutions--many white universities

are actively recruiting Indian students and are very happy to

have them because this is a mark of distinction. Do you find


this sort of program missing at P.S.U.. Do you think they

actively engage at recruiting Indian students?

S: No, I don't. I don't think Indian student) in this community

is encouraged to attend public state universities as much as

they should be.

I: Uh, huh. Many, iany universities and colleges throughout the

nation have active recruiting programs for Indian and black

students and they want them represented at their institution

of higher learning and they often secure scholarships for them

and this sort of thing. Do you think the Indians are given any

special preference in regard to, uh, to scholarships or student

helps and this sort of things-above other students or about the

same-or not as good or how?

S: I would say it's about the same.

I: I would gather from this then that they don't seem to take into

account the fact that the Indian student has at a disadvantage

for a long time. A disadvantage which the white students have

not had. And Of course this would be generally true of the black

students I suppose. They don't seem to recognize this difference,

do they? They really don't--well Uh, last year I believe I

went on campus and I encountered a phrase, "the Indianizatien of

Pembroke State University". And of course that's very controversial

and, uh, but I thought the need for raising questions about this

was certainly very legitimate and desirable and I raised this

question and among those questions emerged the issue of Old Main.

And, uh, and I've been--I had been sort of made by newsman that


precipitated the Old Main Movement by this article. Do you feel

pattern which you could--you would identify as the Indianization?

Do you think we're gaining strength in other words, or do you think

we're going downhill instead of up? That cat is rather distracting.

6t me see if I can get rid of her. I apologize for e unwelcome

guest. We have a Simese cat who sounds very human like a child

-Wien she starts crying or sometingp-4u don't see a pattern then,

that you would identify the Indianization--playing the Indian element

instead of up.

S: No, not since I've been on campus.
I: Uh, huh. O.K. And, what do you think the Indians do to bring about

Indian awareness as in the State University. Do you have any ideas

along those lines? An Indian need.

S: Indian awareness. Well, in this community,there has never been any

Indian past--any Indian background like that. So I suggest that the

students be able to take some sort of course in Indian past, of Indian

literature--we say about the culture--it's terrific.

I: Yes, we've been at least partially cultured and we face the need, don't

we? --to renew our Indian culture?

S: Yes, like everybody trying to find something to relate to, to identify

to. And that's what we need.

I: Well, today and this week particular, you may have heard some radio,

television, newspapers and this sort of thing that the American Indian

Movement is here in the county. And people have been here from all over

the United States, Indian people who. .




I: Uh, the interview with Miss Lowery of P.S.U. student body. And I was

asking a question when I was interrupted. Do you recall what the question


S: Uh, Is there action on campus to--------------I forgot the question.

I: To establish better rapport between P.S.U. and the Indian community

which they're on.

S: Yes, I would say, no, there isn't. The university doesn't associate

that much with the community and the community doesn't associate very

much with the university.

I: Uh, huh. I've heard it said, for example, that Indian students come

to Pembroke State University and get their education and proceed to go

back to their respective home and they don't buy anything while they're

in town. They don't take advantage of the Lumbee Recreation Center, which

is very excellent recreation center. They don't take advantage of church

services and we're the most church-going people perhaps in the nation.

Uh, many of these things and I'm wondering, uh, if perhaps some of this

----------- on the part of white students and white professors could'

e+ ;r4 L4t4U
be, appear that they might ad ------ ------on the part of the Indian

people or as you said a while ago, discrimination by Indian people.

S: Yes, somebody said that they cannot be discriminated against because

of the closeness of the Lumbee students on campus. You know, they only

associate with each other and I know a few of us are extroverts--we get

out and associate with some of theyhiites. They feel that the Indians

doesn't of the Indians--don't want them to associate with them and the

community on the whole is the same way.

I: Uh, huh. I think this is very sad. Uh, for example, the VISTA workers


who come here are in training and this is part of their education.

And they, to them it is an aggressive--it's a progressive thing.

And they go out and meet people regardless of attitudes and they

learn in doing this. And, also. perhaps, better develop their

personalities and their ability to get along with people. But,

uh, you can't expect, I suppose, the average person to do this,

I mean, to me human relations is a great adventure and I will venture

into a black community or a white community at times and deliberately

seek out relationships because I wans to know about other people

as well as my own people. But, not all students and professors are

that outgoing, are they?

S: No, they're not.

I: And I suppose there's not anything we can do to change that, perhaps

we could mention some of these things in print and encourage people to

come to know each other better, one way or another. Do you think the

establishment of a club or some kind of organization, say a tri-racial

organization to encourage people to know each other better would be a

worthy thing?

S: It would be very worthy.

I: That's certainly a good idea. Maybe we can establish something like

this for the future. Because afterall we still have to inhabit the same

county and, uh, can you think os something--anything else that we might

do to improve relations in the various groups?

S: Uh, I don't know whether this would be acceptable or not, but I feel

like the allege should be willing to lend some of its facilities to

the high school, such as more auditoriums for our pageants. We haven't


been able to have a pageant or a concert. And, uh, the high schools

and the colleges should work closer together.

I: I see. Well, uh, I recall that in 1954 such an attempt was made by

Dr.--by the late Dr. Herbert G. Oxiendine who asked for a leave of

absence from Pembroke State College and who offered to become principal

of Pembroke High School for a period to try to raise the standards of

Indian students because he wanted them to be able to enter Pembroke, but

the County Board of Education turned him down although he had a Ph.D.

and although the local board had voted overwhelmingly to accept him.

Yet, the County Board of Education vetoed the whole thing. And it

didn't work out that way. They just didn't seem to understand or

something at least it didn't work out. So perhaps there is bad

rapport between the county school system or systems, perhaps we might

say and P.S.U. Perhaps, that should be improved. As you and I know,

uh, the county system is comprised of about 65% Indian student and this

particular school district in particular could certainly use federal

rapport with P.S.U. and vice versa because the institution is always

going to be hampered if the political structure among the Indians is

counter to P.S.U. then P.S.U.'s going to have one heck of a time, you

know, in accomplishing anything and I think if both sides recognize this,

uh, that perhaps we'll eventually see the need of better rapport. And

until we see the need of better rapport, then nothing's going to be done.

S: There needs to be more cooperation between the university and our high
aC r f4( e. +,
school. The university could publish a lt ri but high school

magazine that they've started along with the.. .the University refused

to do it. Whereas, other universities like Western Carolina University?


Uh, It would print the high school's literature thing.

I: Which would simply be a printing project and nothing else, right?

S: It was simply a matter of them being considerate enough to help out

and they wouldn't, because I made the request myself that they print

something for the high school and they wouldn't.

I: Uh, huh. And of course, uh, they wouldn't--the printing cost would be

paid in that case? Or you have to. .

S: Well, assistance to finish the papers and everything. There woukh't

be anybody losing4--f anything, they'd be gaining.

I: Uh, huh. Be gaining by the interchange?

S: Right.

I: Well, this is something to be regretted. I don't know what can be done

about it. It seems that things are going to get worse before they get

better. Uh, but we do know that the University is duty bound to serve

not only whites, not only Indians, not only blacks, but all and does it

seem to you that they're falling down on their responsibility to the


S: Yes, they have.

I: And, well, this is very sad. And, uh, we'll just have to keep trying

to, if they don't do it willing then we're going to twist their arm a

little more and we're going to keep twisting their arm tl. they do give

us more as we had to do in the case of the Indian study courses and

as we had to do in the case of saving Old Main, which they were deter-

mined to destroy. And, uh, I don't see any other alternatives, do you?

S: No.

I: I sort of put you on the spot with that question, it wasn't a fair


question, really. Uh, do you encounter any other problems on campus

other than the fact that you are an Indian student? Can you tlink of

any kind of problem might come as a result of being an Indian student?

S: Of course, I've already mentioned we have to, uh, we're not able to

associate or make friends as easily as if we'd been white. We can't

make as many friends because we're Indian. We aren't readily accepted

by a lot of them.

I: Uh, huh. In other words, mostly you can make friends only among the


S: Right.

I: And, uh, do you think, uh, we've talked about that the Indians were a

little reluctant to the Indian students. Uh, do you know, of course,

you can't look at this as objectively perhaps as some people could.

But do you think there's more reluctance on the Indian part of more

reluctance on the black students' part?

S: That would be hard to answer, because it depends on the individual and

the attitudes they've got out there. I know it's hard for some of the

white students to meet some of the Indian students. But I would think

it harder for the Indian students to try to get know the whites.

I: Well, it seems very sad and I do hope that progress can be made in this

direction. I remember that I visited Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

last year with Professor Adolf Dial and they were definitely in control

of that black institution. I mean, uh, black people had the favored position

as always. They had not been demoted; they had not been de-anything.

And they were still holding their own. -------------. o you think we've

been soldori river, so to speak, by some of own people who were in key


positions and should have looked out for our answers but didn't?

S: I think so.

I: And its certainly a bleak-looking picture at the moment although we

have made some progress was made. .marvelous progress really. And, uh,

I certainly hope we continue to make progress. However, there was a

complaint which came to my ears several weeks ago about a professor
h il
who had the habit to referring to Miss Lumbee in derogatory terms like

Miss Firehouse or something like--of this nature. Did you hear anything

like this or shouldn't--wouldn't you like to comment at all?

S: I just casually--I just overheard some comment about Miss Firehouse
and at the time, I didn't know they was talking about Miss Lumbee--
I was surprised when I heard the name Miss Firehouse.

I; Well, I remember this occasion and on this occasion, uh, when this

complaint came to me, I immediately got on the telephone and I talked

to a white student who knew the professor very well and asked the

white student, you know, about this man personally. But, somehow,

the message got to him before I could ever even get on the phone to

get to him. A friend of his, an Indian friend of his, was getting

back to me and pleading for this professor that he was being misunder-

stood and this man who has been a professor at P.S.U. d u".ed in
the past, said, Lew, if you don't, uh, if you don't talk to this man,

this professor and tell him that, uh, this isn't resented and people

know that this is a mistake and so birth and assure him that he won't

sleep a wink tonight if you take this to the paper, this man won't
sleep a wink tonight and the theory here was that I would publish this

in a newspaper _aa and. .soon as I got off the phone, he asked me

if I would talk to this manpAnd of course I told him certainly I would.


And I would like to talk to him very much. And, of course, the

professor called me then and he said he misunderstood and he apologized

profusely to me and I told him I didn't see why he should apologize

to me but that it seemed that the student and professor was the logical

nne. And, then he pointed out that if he did apologize before the class

then he would lose control of the class in some respect that the class

would not respect him as much. And so, you know..

S: I think they would respect him9ore especially)the Indian students.

I: But anyway, I didn't publish that because I wasn't clear if it had been

clear-cut case and it has happened a number of times as some of the

students said it had then I could have gotten clear evidence I would

have published it. And, you know, regardless of the outcome, I would

have published it--a report and tell people as a news reporter but,

uh, do you think this sort of thing if it happens at all--happens
4-S PT(iOS
rarely or that most professors aren't this bold to throw Jrsitevl r

on Indian students especially an Indian student who represents the

entire Lumbee people is the horror of the situation to me. And, of

course, I pointed out to him, if you don't respect the symbol of the

Lumbee Indian, you don't respect Lumbee Indian, and I couldn't see

if any other way. Uh, but do you think this is perhaps a singular

case and that this sort of thing doesn't usually go on?

S: That sort of thing doesn't usually go on. I mean, if a professor

a student in class can sense whether or not that professor is

prejudiced and once is enough. They're all prejudiced that's the

reason I said, that we need more Indian teachers than what we've got

because I think that the students would feel a whole lot better sitting


in a class up there with an Indian teacher before them than going to

every class and everyone of the teachers being white.

I: Um, huh. But an Indian student goes to a white school, you know,to

a traditionally white or to a college that was traditionally Indian but

which now is, in fact, white, or largely white. This student, you think,

has a handicap because of conforming patterns outside his own sphere of

life and his own social sphere.

S: Right. I think that the Indian professor can understand Indian students

more so than the white professor could because he's been raised in this

community more than likely. He's been raised in this community and he

understands the problems of the Indian student on campus.

I: Um, huh. Well, uh, we certainly hope that these things all turn out for

the best for all of us and, uh, I certainly want to thank you for your

courtesy in giving us this interview. Is there anyding else you would like

to add to this?

S: I would like to see Pembroke State University the best Indian. .the

best college offering Indian courses to Indians. I fink thistg.hat 1+t

should 4e the nation since it was originally the first Indian college.

I: And all groups of American Indians throughout the United States are

very proud of Pembroke State University and Indian schools, wouldn't

you think? Uh, from the reaction we've had, you know, during the Old

Main Movement and during the present movement..

S: Yes. Pembroke State University is more or less assembled to the Indians,

especially Old Main. It's something they had to fight for and it's some-

thing that they find wrong.

I: What would you say to a young Indian person who iant rtd coming here


to school but had a choice of going elsewhere and financial ability

to go elsewhere? Would you say that they should come and accept

the challenge whatever it was or, just try to get out of the whole

thing and try to live somewhere else where they would be treated


S: No, tell 'em to come to Pembroke State University. Uh, the reason for

this--I had the chance to go to Chapel Hill but I changed my mind and

decided I would rather come out here to Pembroke simply because it

had been the school that my grandfather and my parents and everybody

else who would fight so hard for us to maintainI.I felt like it's

something I could learn--it's. .it makes you feel proud to walk by Old

Main out there to see it's still standing.

I: Yes, it's still standing. Uh, for example the American Indian Movement;

there were so many Indians from other parts of the United States here this

week and the building which the Robedson County Board of Education has

erected at. .uh. .near Lumberton at the Board of Education is an Indian

school and they say that this is. .should be marked as an Indian school

hnd, uh, they're talking about taking drastic action and this is. .

may mean even occupying the building. Matter of fact, Bome-of them did

sleep there the other night and.

S: I think that they should keep the building or the building should have

one that this was an Indian school.

I: Well, it does have on it actual "The Old Be School" because .

what it does actually have it is "this is a typical school" of,

you know, the beginning of the 19th. .. of the 20th century. Uh,

do you think this is misrepresented?


S: I think so. I think the Indians are being misrepresented by that.

I think they should have Indian on it.

I: Um, huh. Uh, is there anything you would like to add to this?

S: No.

I: I certainly have enjoyed interviewing you and what you've said has

been most helpful, I'm sure and I want to thank youagain for the

Doris Duke Foundation for the University of Florida and its history

department. You've been very helpful, thank you so much.

S: Your welcome.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs