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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewing Vicky Ransom
typed by amy levenson
B: This is March fourteenth, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the Doris
Duke Foundation's American Indian Oral History Program under the auspices of
the University of Florida's History DeDartment, Dr. Samuel L. Proctor, director.
With me today I'm very privileged to have Miss Vicky Ransom. Um, I'm not even going
to try to enumerate all her titles. I'm going to ask her because I'm all
excited about this interview myself and I'm sure you'll be delighted to meet
Miss Vicky Ransom. Uh, Vicky, may I call you Vicky?
B: Good. Uh, that's R-A-N-S-O-M, right?
R: Yes, like money ransom.
B: You're such a lovely person, not only in appearance but your personality is, is
such a lovely thing and, uh, all of us admire you. Uh, your first title was
Miss Lumbee, is that right?
R: Yes, that was my first pagent that I ever entered which was in 1970 and that
sort of gave me a start. And once I got into it I couldn't seem to get out
of travelling and I really enjoyed it.
B: Oh, that's great. We certainly had a great representative and of course you
still represent us in a very great way and we're all very grateful to you because
you've brought a lot of honor to our people and we have a great people. And, uh,
I know you're just as proud of our people as I am. Uh, would you tell us something
about your parents?
R: Well my parents are Mr. and Mrs. Julian Ransom. They, they are also Lumbee Indians
and they've been a native of Pembroke, or Robtson County in... they were born
in Robion County. My father is a purchasing agent at Pembroke State University
and also a Methodist Minister and my mother is a housewife. And I have, uh, the
LUM 48A 2
greatest parents that anyone could ever have. I'm sure that I couldn't have
done as much as I've done if it hadn't been for the support of my parents.
B: Well I'm, I'm certainly glad you you recognize the contribution of your parents.
Sometimes we have a tendency to sort of overlook this but I know they are
boosters for you, supporters and so on. You have so many supporters. And, uh,
what are you doing right now?
R: Right now I'm still in school. I'm a senior at Pembroke State University and I'm
majoring in Sociology. And I had to go out and do my graduate work in guidance
B: Oh, that's great. How many titles do you have Vicky?
R: Would you like for me to name them or would you like....?
B: Enumerate them? Yes, I certainly would. I...
R: Well, like I say before I was Miss Lumbee in 1970. I also represented in
1970 Robtson County as Miss Princess Sawyer. You know, Robtson County is...
has a lot of farm area so Princess Sawyer represents the soy bean crop.
B: Uh huh.
R: Then in 1971, I was Miss Tobacco Festival. And, um, this was also a great chance
for me to travel. I travelled around the state. And also, um, made different
appearances out of the state representing the tobacco, um, industry.
B: Um, wonderful.
R: I was also, um, this past year, elected Miss Young Republican of North Carolina,
which I was really proud of. It gave me a chance to meet a lot of people. I
attended the national convention in Miami this summer.
B: How wonderful.
R: I also attended the governor's inauguration and also the president's inauguration
and I also rode in the president's parade in January.
B: Oh, wonderful.
LUM 48A 3
R: So I really had a real good time.
B: And you've been travelling, haven't you?
R: Yes and I've been enjoying every minute of it.
B: That's wonderful. Um, we're not supposed to ask ladies their age or anything
like that but, uh, if you'd like to tell us your age?
R: I'm twenty years old.
B: Amen. Well you, you certainly have had active years. Uh, were you ever,... were
you a majorette or anything in high school?
R; Well, in high school I always enjoyed playing in the band so I played the
clarinet in the band in junior high and high school. I never was a majorette or
a cheerleader. But I always, um, playing in the band.
B: Um huh. Well that's great. I know that you take on a lot of activities in
school, I mean your work load in school I understand has always been, uh, very
heavy. You never, uh, sort.of, uh, took advantage or anything like that, uh, to
lighten your load or anything like that. I don't know that you could have but
I guess if I'd been in your position maybe I'd been tempted to try. But, uh, uh
we all certainly admire you and, uh, we're all indebted to you, really 'cause
you, you've done so much for so many of us. Um, how about, uh, the many things
that you've gone around and done, I know it's wonderful to be able to, uh,
go to the White House or to the Governor's Mansion and other places like this
but I just wonder, uh, which of these things impressed you the greatest? Uh, do
you remember, do you have memories of any one ocassion above all others?
R: Well Mr. Barton, I've had so many great experiences that I just couldn't
pin point one and say specifically that this was the greatest experience. I
guess one of the most thrilling and inspirational experiences I had was when
I was Miss Lumbee in 1970. Um, I rode in this parade and afterwards this little
girl came up to me and she said, can I ask you, she said, what is Miss Lumbee?
And I explained to her, I said, well Miss Lumbee, I said, I'm a Lumbee Indian
LUM 48A 4
and we pick a princess every year and then they represent the Lumbee Indians.
And she was so excited and she said, well, I've never seen an Indian before.
She said, where's your feathers and your war paint and all this, you know.
But she was so excited that she had met an Indian and I think just to see the
5 i .-C' in her eyes and and to hear her talk and everything, she was so
thrilled with it. I think that was one of the most, uh, inspirational
experiences because it gave me a chance to show someone else something that
they had never known before.
B: Right. And generally people know so little about Indians. Do you find this
R: That's right. They have... they have such... they have this stereotype about
Indians and when they see someone who is dressed like they're dressed and
who looks similar to how they look they just can't grasp the thing that they're
B: Yes. I, I uh, remember when I was over at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre,
Pennsylvania offering residence several years ago, they expected me to come
wearing feathers and so on. And I said, you're a little bit disappointed in
me, I know, because I'm not wearing feathers. I say, I'm a little disappointed
in you because you don't know that even Collins Foster hails from this state-
and I do. I was just kidding. Uh, do you get to talk to other young people
a lot? Do people call on you a lot to speak to, uh, groups of young people,
R; Um, I've had the chance of speaking right now since I'm Miss Young Republican
I do get to meet a lot of young people and I talk to them. I go to different,
um, dinners and, um, and this type thing and I do speak and I always mention
the fact that I'am a Lumbee Indian and that I'm proud to be a Lumbee Indian.
R: ... and, um, I do get a chance to, um, speak to them and I get
LUM 48A 5
to hear a lot of their problems. Sometimes we go to meetings and they have
open discussions and it's just like a young person to a young person basis.
We get to sit and talk over different problems. And they... it's funny...
they're always asking me, well... are the young people around your home.. are
they different from other young people? They seem to think maybe that we
have to... different problems than other young people.
R: ... and they're really sort of amazed to find out that the young people, the
Lumbee Indian young people are the same as other young people.
B: Vicky, I'll ask you the inevitable question, what do you think of our
young people? I want to tell you before you answer that, that I'm all for
this generation. I think it's great.
R: Well I think I admire the young people of today 'cause some people may think
they're very liberal or rebellious but yet they have enough spunk in them
to speak up for what they believe in. I feel like after all we're the young...
the adults of tomorrow and if we believe in certain things so strongly we should
be able to feel free to express these ideas and opinions to the older generation.
Whether they accept them or not. And I think... well I don't go along with
certain things that go on but I do think that, um, the young people, they're
sincere about what they believe in and when they tell you that they really
believe in something, you can believe them. Of course like this summer when
I attended the national convention, republican convention in Miami, I was
really surprised because there was so many young people there protesting against,
um, the whole governmental system and here was another set of young people there
really trying to contribute something. And I was thinking' that a lot of people
there's a generation gap between the young people and the older people but yet
there seems to exist a lack of communication or a gap between the young people
LUM 48A 6
themselves. There seems to be, um, some difference of opinion between young
B: Well, do you find this generation gap is pronounced as, as people generally
think it is?
R: I don't... I think people have played it up a little more than it really is.
I don't think that it's as bad as... there might be a generation gap on an
individual basis but I think as a whole there really isn't that much of
a generation gap because I can sit down and talk to my grandparents and we
can discuss issues and they seem to have the same opinion as I have and I
feel like if there was really a generation gap then we would be fighting
and arguing and we would never agree on anything.
B: Well I don't find it myself. I, as poet in residence, uh, here in Winston-
Salem several weeks ago I was very flattered because, uh, the young people
in the high school uh... there... asked me to read some of my love poems to
them... They were unpublished poems that I've never done this before but
they were, um, they were so warm, we did. We read some of them and I just
about trembled wondering what the response would be And they.. they were
just overwhelmed and I don't... I can't get over this... I don't know how
an older person like you understands the way we feel because some of the
poems were definitely on a teen-age level deliberately and, uh, this brought
me no end of pleasure. Because I do, I do believe in young people.
R: But some older people feel like they shouldn't agree with young people. They
sort of feel like they should be different and, um, not think on the same
level you might say. j4//L really young people I guess maybe they get this...
the idea that older people don't understand C 'cause some of the
older people give an impression that they're not supposed tb understand
the young people.
LUM 48A 7
B: Right, I, I believe the, the barrier or if there is a barrier or some kind of
generation gap or whatever... I believe it's bein' broken now. What do you
think about, uh, lowering the voting age?
R: Well I was glad to see that 'cause, um, you know I think eighteen is a good age.
I think when a person reaches eighteen they are mature enough to be able to
accept the responsibilities and I thirkrthey;...one of the responsibilities is
to vote and to decide to choose, uh, a person that they think will be able
to fill the position. I think at eighteen a person is mature enough to make
this decision. And you... I know you've heard people say that if a man
eighteen years old is old enough to go and fight for his country, he should
be able to vote.
R: ... and I agree with this 'cause if he is old enough to have to go over... overseas
and fight for his country then he should be able to have the right to come
over here and vote.
R: So I think that lowering it was a very good thing.
B: Well, our young people are changing the country and, uh, do you think this
is for the better?
R: Well I'm glad to see, um, young people becoming more involved in politics. Like
myself, I haven't been involved in politics too long, maybe about two years but
I'm really glad to see them becoming more involved and they're becoming more
they're able to understand the government more by becoming involved. I know
before I became involved and I would sit back and I really didn't know what
politics was all about and sometimes, uh, maybe, uh, a officials decision
or something I couldn't understand. But once I got involved with it I was more
understanding of their decisions and I think that it is good for young people
to become more involved because some day they will have to take on the responsibility
LUM 48A 8
that the older adults are having today and I think they should have a clear
understanding about it.
R: And involvement is the only way that... or the best way that they... this can
B: Uh, well you... as you know we have a republican governor elected for the
first time in this century. Uh, you were very pleased about...
R: I was thrilled to death.
B: And of course, Governor Jim- Hiahau er is a friend of yours...
B: He is a wonderful person. Uh, I'm glad to, to say that I know him and I've always
supported him and I don't usually give public support to anyone particularly.
But he is different somehow. Do you think he.. he is the younger person in
appearance and in so many ways... do you think he identifies with, uh, the
younger group better than most?
R: Definitely I think he does. Uh, he is... well he's in his late thirties and he
does have a real young looking appearance. But, um, like most of his staff is
young people. I think maybe the oldest is around forty or forty-five. He does
have... seem to get along real well with young people. He does seem to understand
them. And he is all for changing things and you know I think, uh, that's one
thing that goes along with young people is change and they....
R: ... and they think that progress involves change and without change you, uh, don't
have progress. And he is really, um, interested in bringing a lot of changes
to the state. I think this is one reason he gets along so well with young
people because he has such a young outlook on, uh, so many different things.
B: That's wonderful. Uh, I think now's a good time to start, uh, well... they've
LUM 48A 9
already started. But if our young people in this state can take a leading
role, uh, with a governor like this then we may be able to lead the nation...
R: Yes I... think so-
B: Uh, I know that, uh, young people always have, uh, pretty much the same kind
of problems. You know we older people have good forgettors. When we get
older we forget that the way we were when we were that age too. This I never
want to do. Uh, for one reason because it would be very unfair to be this way
and, uh, but do you think we... do you think your generation, for example, has
more problems or more complex problems than other generations in the past.
R: I don't think it's a matter of having more problems or the problems are more
complex. I think it's just that the problems are different. Like today, maybe
when you were a.youag boy the drug problem, I'm sure everyone's aware of the
drug problem, especially even around here since we have a university and, um,
it seems to be growing worse. But I think it's not a matter of more problems
it's just that the problems are different and I don't think they're really
B: Uh huh. I'm glad you mentioned, uh, the drug problem. Uh, I understand that,
uh, well I never heard of, uh, marijuana floating around, you know in this
county, particularly in the Lumbee River Valley. Uh, we just never heard of that.
Uh, we heard of, uh, bootleg whiskey and that sort of thing and we don't claim
to be better than anybody else but within the past few years, uh, we are
hearing more and more about drugs and I think this is not just a local
problem but a, a national problem. Do you, uh, are you ever called on to
to discuss drugs and the drug problem?
R: Well, in our... in our Sunday School class one day, one Sunday, which I'm
LUM 48A 10
an assistant teacher with the juniors. And one Sunday I was teaching and this
problem came up and that's really the only time I've really had the chance
to discuss drugs on a group basis. Of course I've talked to other young people
on an individual basis. But I like to put in a word every time I get a chance
because I feel like... well if a person wants to do his own thing then I say
well it's his... it's his own thing. But I... I was always the type person
that I always thought that a person had so many things to be happy over
and so many things to be thankful of that they really didn't need anything
extra to, to make them more happy. And I think that, uh, young people think
that this is their solution to all their problems but really I think it's
just adding more to them. And so I... I'm not for drugs and I think there
should be, um, some way to cut down on them. I know that you can't just
eliminate the problem overnight but I think there should be something done
to sort of curb it because it really seems to be getting worse.
B: Uh huh. Well some young people are coming out with, uh, lengthy explanations
and, uh, special studies are being made, uh, you know... attempts are being
made it seems to prove that, uh, pot as it's called is, uh, not really as
harmful as alcohol, for example. I don't know what the scientific facts are
on this but, uh, ....
R: I think it's been proven that marijuana does... does have about the same
effects as alcohol and, um, it's not as dangerous to your health. But the
thing I'm really concerned about is not the ones that use the drugs it's the
ones that sell it. I think this is really the problem 'cause even in our
elementary schools they have... they have access to these drugs and I just
can't see a eighteen or nineteen year old guy goin' up to a first or second
grander and trying' to sell him something which would maybe destroy him later
on in life.
LUM 48A 11
B: That is... that is something to think about. Uh, I talked to one young
person not long ago and uh, the statement that he made to me about marijuana
was... was startling it was so clear cut. Uh, he said although these, uh,
studies have been made and whatever the plus things, if they can be called
that for marijuana, still he says it's too hot and too high.
R: That's a good way to lookat it.
B: In other words it's uh, the law is strictly against it. The penalty is high
the cost of it, uh, maintaining a habit like this. This is a verr costly
R: Well I think it's... you have so much to lose just for a few hours of pleasure
or whatever. 'Cause really you're, uh, you're involving your whole life
in it when you take on the responsibility of drugs.
B: Could we talk about some of the problems closer at home. Uh, for example, well
there are many problems that we have at home. Do you see any changes taking
place within your very short lifetime?
R: I've... yes I say I can see some changes. Uh, living in Robison County, there
are three races, white, black and indian and when I was a young child I was
always told that when you go to a nearby town which is twelve miles away there
was always a restroom for the whites, a restroom for indians and a restroom
for blacks. It was always like just three different people it wasn't like just
one group of people. And I gradually saw this change. People became more
open minded and became more willing to accept the the thing that even though
you are a different color or maybe a little lighter or a little darker you
are a human being. It seems like poeple have become more accepting of
this, And I can see that. I think that's one of the biggest changes and now
since we've had integrated schools and everything.
B:. Well that's wonderful. I... I'm proud to see some changes being made. Um, do
LUM 48A 12
you think, uh, there's something we could do in this county to promote better
human understanding among the three ethnic groups.
R: I think one of the biggest needs is people becoming united in their own race. I'm
sure you're aware as well as I am that even in the Indian race there is some
conflict between the group within themselves and until you become united then
there's really no way how you... that you could solve these problems. I feel
like if each group will come more united within themselves then they will
better be able to unite as one group as a whole, Black, Indian and White.
B: Um, one interviewee said recently that, uh, uh, that he felt that the church
should take a more active part in social problems among our people, do you think
this might be a good solution or a beginning.., of a solution?
R: Right. Right now we have this Robfson County Church and Community Center
which I think is a very good thing. I thin k if the church would become
more involved that it would, um, help solve the problem more.I think that a
person, if they see that people in the church are interested and they are
wanting to improve things then they will really have a more positive attitude
toward helping themselves. And I think that this would be one good way
is really get all fte ministers and all the church people involved.
B: Uh, there's certain social attitudes, uh, perhaps sometimes we might add to
our own lot, you know?... by our own attitudes, uh, we... it's been said that
the Lumbee Indian has a negative attitude toward himself, that his self image
is not, uh, all that it should be and that, uh, he just sometimes doesn't
hope for better things and... do you find this to be true or do you think
we've accepted defeat maybe or....
R: Well I think maybe years back people felt, the Indian people felt doomed.
They were born poor and they felt like they would die poor and they really
didn't feel like there was any need to fight 'cause once they would fight
they would just be defeated again. But now it seems like they're... this
LUM 48A 13
idea is, um, gradually fading away and they're really seeing some hope and they're
really trying... they're really seeing... being encouraged and it seems like now
they're really trying to make something and to really make themselves better.
Such as-.. well like even education among the Lumbee Indians have really taken
a, a turn 'cause I think maybe before education really wasn't stressed as much because
people felt like, well why get an education there's really not any jobs available
or, or anything like this. And I think now that education is being stressed
a lot more and people are really seeing the need of advancement.
B: Uh, you, uh, chose to go to Pembroke State University, uh, and I'm sure you
had good reasons. You could have gone just about anywhere you wanted to. Um,
is this a choice for which you're.... are you glad you made this choice?
R: I'm glad I made this choice and maybe I should tell you some of the reasons
why I chose it. I did.... ell 3 could have gone to other schools. But here
I had lived in Pembroke all my life and here I saw this college grow and at
first it was just ariormal school I think they used to call it. Then it became
"a college where people could get certified and then all of a sudden here it is
"a university. And like I had...
B: Almost unbelievable, isn't it?
R: I know and like I had been around and I had seen it growing and I felt like well...
you know... there's just no telling how... how far it will be able to go 'cause
I... I've just in my short life I've seen it improve so much. And I felt like
that the college did belong to the Indian people. This was their contribution
to, you might say society. And I felt like that I had the chance to go and
to become involved and really maybe contribute something to the college. And
I felt like that it was just as good a college as anywhere else. You know,
I feel like if a person going to college, they... no matter where they go if
they really want to get a good education they're gonna get it no matter how
LUM 48A 14
small or how large the college.
R: It mostly depends on what you put into it yourself. So I made up my mind that
I would go to college in my own home town. And anyway I didn't think that I
could stand to stay away from home... for about three or four years. So I
decided to go and I made up in my mind that I would become involved and let
pe... other people into the college know that ;the Indian people were going
to their own college and really getting involved and wanting to become a part
of it. And I feel like this would be a good way is to go to the college
and take up advantage of all the things that was there.
SB: Well that's certainly, um, an admirable attitude. I've heard the complaint
made that maybe the rapport between the university and... and the community
surrounding... the community wasn't as good as it could be. Um, I'm not asking
you if this is true or... is... whose fault it is or we're not pointing any
fingers or anything like that but, uh, we'd like to approach it on a constructive
basis. If you would like to comment, do you see anything we could do if, if there
is, uh, some lack of rapport to improve, uh, relations on both sides?
R: Well I think at one time the community felt like the people were coming in here
and invading maybe... maybe their privacy or something. I think they felt like
that people were coming in here trying to take over something that they...
that belonged to the people in the community. And I think this'is gradually...
this attitude is gradually changing as the communtiy is becoming more involved
in the university and visa versa... the university becoming involved in the
community. I know right now I'm a member, um, well I'm working on this project
under Social Services which, um, we have community activities but they are
carried on by the people in the university. And like on Saturdays we have
recreation for the young people. Every Saturday they could come down a jII ,
which has a swimming pool and also they're able to play volleyball and
LUM 48A 15
basketball and other sports. And also now we're, um, in the process of
having a senior citizens day in which the older people in the community can
come and see what the young people at the university are doing. Then the
university, um, students can contribute whatever they feel they need to to
the senior citizens to sort of give them a responsibility of being involved
and being a part of, um, the growth of the university. And I think this
is good. I think that, um, the main key to the relationship is more
involvement of both sides, the university and the community. And this
seems to be coming along pretty good.
B: Well that's fine. That's very encouraging. Uh, do you think maybe there
is, uh, a reluctance on the part of, uh, the Indian community to come, uh,
you know, this defeatist attitude, if it does exist, you know, out of
fear of rejection and this sort of thing or, uh, a cold shoulder maybe...
R: I think maybe they at first they have a fear they're the outsiders and, um,
they're coming' into someone else's territory. But really it's not this
way and once you get them there and they see that it isn't this way then...
then there's no turning back. They're really, uh, they're really excited
that they are being accepted in everything. The problem is getting them
there and getting them involved and getting them to see this, that really
you know, they're not the outsiders.
B: Uh huh. Well, uh, this certainly seems to be a... a constructive approach
to,uh, you know, to help people to understand it. Now listen, we're not here
to shur you out. We want you. Uh, and I think something is being done
in this direction and, uh, and I'm very pleased about this. Uh, uh, for
example, recruiting Indians, uh, sometimes it's, well this is nothing
unusual. I mean I know we... I don't know just what the story is... all
the details but I know that P.S.U. does a certain amount of this and, of
course, this is not unlike other institutions and, uh, I'm very pleased
LUM 48A 16
uh, that we are moving in this direction. But don't you think many
of... many of the problems, uh, are just plain growing pains, you know?
R: Well I think that really there wouldn't be any good chance of progress if
you didn't have any problems. I mean that's just um...
R: ...that just goes along with it because if you were trying to, to accomplish
something and you didn't have any problems well there'd be something
definitely lacking. I think like you say the problems are a good sign.
B: I'm certainly very pleased, uh, to see other people come into te
community. Have you, uh, have you noticed an attitude, though,
uh, among some of the students that perhaps they're not welcome in town,
in, or... you know that perhaps we resent them or something. There should
be something on... you know every story has two sides. And, uh, do you think
have you come into contact with, uh, this kind of attitude among the
students and maybe even some professors who come in from other places and
don't know, you know, uh. They're sort of uncertain.
R: Well I think a,,.. a lot of this comes from the thing of hear-say. Before,
naturally before students come to a college they want to know a little
bit about the town and the people around. And I think a lot of 'em have
heard that... that it's just not safe to mingle with the people in the
community because the community people sort of have a resentment
toward the... the students. I know I've had.... I've been talking' to
some students and they'd want to go to a restuarant or someplace and they'll
say, well, will you go with us 'cause maybe they lqJ1/don't feel like they're
welcome. And they're really so uh, thrilled and appreciative when they
do go and the people in the community re... receive them so well. And they
say, well, youknow, they are really are nice and they really don't seem
to resent us being here.
LUM 48A 17
B: Do you think they're actually surprised?
R:- I think definitely they're surprised because they've... they've heard that
they wouldn't be accepted this way and I think that, uh, they're definitely
B: As you and I know, uh, our people are very hospitable people, uh, they're very
friendly, easy going, in spite of, uh, you know, some things, uh, you know
singular things which may point in some other direction. But, uh, I'm just
wondering if, uh, if we had some kind of organization, you know, maybe a
student organization that would focus on... on this sort of thing, you know
acquainting both sides you know, acquainting the community, uh,
of course you have your public information department, um, but sometime,
as you, uh, may be a personal touch in addition to that wouldn't hurt
and maybe, uh, working from both directions, uh,...
R: Well I think one thing that will really make a difference like over on the
campus we're getting this new auditorium which is just fabulous, it's
really beautiful. And after we get this auditorium we will be able to
have things there that both... both the young people on campus and the
community people will be able to enjoy. And I think this will, uh, be
a good chance for both sides to get together and sort of mingle and get to
know each other better because like they'll be functions at both
sides will be able to go to at the same time. And I think this will be one
of the turning points.
B: That's great, uh, this is a fabulous auditorium, isn't it?
B: Uh, and I'm very proud,um, do you think that the programs will perhaps
then be geared, you know, to appeal to both, you know, ordinary community
people like myself?
R: Well I think this is one of the main objectives. It's not gonna be... it's
LUM 48A 18
gonna be something that just the average, every day run of the mill person
will enjoy. And also I think a lot of them will be free because maybe some
people who would not go because maybe they didn't have the money to come
I think a lot of the things will be free which will be another good aspect
of it so...
B: Uh, Vicky, I, uh, I personally have, uh, initiated a few campaigns and a
few causes and things I consider to be constructive. I try to be constructive
in my approach and so on. I don't know how well I've done in this direction.
But there's uh, uh, one man, uh, who is the father of Pembroke State
University, Hamilton McMillian who is white, who was white and who, uh,
did Lumbee Indian history investigation over a period of about fifty
years and who was a friend of the Lumbee Indinans at a time when they
had few friends. Uh, do you think there would be, now this is my personal
desire. Do you think that there is any possibility that we could initiate
some form of interest that might lead to some type of memorial to him on
campus. I mean among students as well as faculty. I, you know....
R: Well Mr. Barton, I'm glad you mentioned that 'cause a lot of people have
asked me well who really is the founder of Pembroke State University. And
I would say half the student body is not even aware of Mr. McMillfan's fine
work that he did and the founding of Pembroke State University. And I think
maybe if, um, the students were made aware of this that they would be more
than anxious to set up a memorial. I think the only problem would be just
letting them know about this great man who did all these things for the
university. I think that would be most of the... the main problem.
B: I would.... I would personally like to push this cause. I've... I've never
done so, I've always dreamed of doing so and hoped that somebody else would
uh, would go ahead withvit but may I enlist your support in....
LUM 48A 19
R: Yes, I'd be the first one to sign up.
B: Oh, that's great. I appreciate that so much because he was really such a
great human beling as well as a leader and, uh, our people have never had
a greater friend. And, uh, I'm very pleased that, uh, so many people have
had certain honors and I believe that none of then were... was misplaced.
I.believe all these honors were worthy and deserved and I've been happy
about them all but one more, uh, if we could, uh, figure out someway,
some kind of memorial. I don't even know what to suggest. But, uh, I
certainly would appreciate your support in this direction... talking
with students,4 / We don't want to show a lack of gratitude toward
the founder... toward the father of P.S.U., do we?
R: No, that... I think that would really be a good cause, a worthwhile cause
and a much deserved one too. And, uh, I think you wouldn't have much
trouble getting this memorium set up.
B: Well I certainly hope so. I'm wondering if, um, I don't think we'd
have any opposition, do you?
R: No, I don't think so.
B: He UOS most certainly I think everybody recognizes him as a friend
and one ironic thing about his, that he died and left no relatives AJ.
Well, his... all his relatives are dead in his family... passed away, completely
and, uh, I think it would be maybe very worthy, uh, if we could preserve
his memory in some special way, I don't know what. Maybe you young people
can come up with some idea. Um... do you have any pets... uh, do you have
any pet projects which you like t work at? Do you have any, uh, pet public
things you'd like to push?
R: Well, the biggest thing I like to push is I guess, you know, I guess so
many older people hear this but I'd like to see the young people really
become involved in community things. I think this is one of my main
LUM 48A 20
objectives is to see more young people become involved and not just sit
back. I know... I know that everyone isn't a leader but to have a leader
you have to have followers. And I think that more people...young people
should, uh, get involved in community things because they have so many
great ideas and if they would just let these ideas out it would be
B: Well I... I certainly hope to see more of this too. Uh, is there a way
you could, uh, encourage young people to express themselves more often
publically, say in letters to the editor, whatever their ideas. I know
they do, uh, express themselves and yet not as much as I would like to
see, es... especially in the student newspaper, you know, your letters to
the editor, of course you have some whoppers, don't you? And you have
uh, you have a great variety of ideas which is very healthy and, uh, um
I sort of have a leaning in that direction. Um, could you encourage
expression more. We do... we older people we really need fresh new
ideas and we need, uh, what the youngsters will have.to offer. Maybe
some of us won't admit this but I certainly admit it.
R: Well I know Mr. Barton, when I was younger I always... people would
express their ideas and I would always have my ideas and I would sit
back and they would be... uL.l it'd be different ideas but I'd say
well I can't Q[0 with any of my ideas 'cause I'm younger and what
difference does it make, you know? But then I began to realize
that really I should force my opinion just as well as anyone else.
I should be heard because even though the other person may not agree with
it, it is my opinion and this is... I think this identity thing, you
know, people are always saying that they want to find their identity and
I think this is really one good way is to express themselves publicly.
And I think now, especially in the more young people are seeing
LUM 48A 21
that more other young people are becoming involved and this is giving
them a little aspirational inspiration to, uh, speak oui'and I think this
is really one good thing 'cause they say they see one young person doing
this and they say well, you know, if he can do it then I can do it... why
can't I do it.
R: Then there's this movement, you know, this do your own thing movement which
is... seems to be taking over and I think this is really good because
young people are beginning to see that they have something to contribute too.
B: Right. There was a time... as you know when young people were to be seen
and not heard, sort of. Now all that's changed now and, uh, do you think
our young people on campus are in the full swing of things as other young
people are throughout the country?
R: Oh, in yeas past we've seemed to have a lot of apathy on the campus .....
B: This is de two of the interview whMiss Vicky Ransom. Uh, Vicky, we
were cut off because we ran out of tape and had to turn the tape over. I'm
sorry for the interruption but could you continue, uh, what you were saying
about, uh, apathy on campus?
R: Well like I was saying, Mr. Barton, the apathy isn't as bad as it was
in years past. It seems like the people were are becoming... are seeing
a need for more involvement. And they're doin' more things now since
we have our Student Government Association. This gives a chance for more
students to become involved and not only a select group to... to do just the
things that are done on campus. But it seems like that they're really getting
more involved and it's really good to see all this participation among the
B: That's very encouraging. Uh, do you think the administration encourages, uh,
LUM 48A 22
more participation by the students?
R: Definitely. Because they're... more and more they're giving the students
the chance to make some of the decisions that are made on campus. And they're
always encouraging the students to speak out more. And it's really
admirable of some of the things that have been done as far as, um,students
being able to have some say E% on campus. Like some of the students
have been invited to attend faculty meetings which in the past was unheard
of I guess. And they've also had the chance to go in and speak to
the Chancellor or to the members of the... other deans of the college and
to, uP, give them ideas on what they think should be done.
R: ... to get more involvement.
B: Well as the college... as the university gets larger and larger, of course, um,
it gets more and more involved and, um, of course, um, uh, I imagine this
presents certain problems too, and problems of growth as we mentioned before.
Um, do you think students, uh, will identify themselves more and more
with P.S.U. in spite of, uh, the cummuting situation and....
R: Well I think more and more students are r.ealed to Pembroke State not only
as a place to go and get an education but also a...a place to go and be able
to grow more socially. Like there's such a great chance to meet more people
and different kinds of people from all over the country. And more people are
realizing that there is this opportunity there and they're taking advantage of
it. And before the students only thought of it as a place where you go and
go to classes and that's all, you never took any, uh, you never participated
in any of the activities. More and more people are seeing it differently now.
B: Uh huh. It didn't have the home atmosphere that some universities have, is that
R: Yes that... It sort of had a cold atmosphere. The... some of the students
LUM 48A 23
weren't, um, too friendly and they really didn't know that many people on campus.
But a lot of 'em only knew the people who they rode with if they commuted or
maybe just their roomates. But now more and more people are beginning to
to get to know the other students
B: Right. Is... and as it grows larger and larger, more and more people will
be living on campus and this will make a difference too, won't it?
R: Yes, that definitely will.
B: Well, I'm certainly hopeful that, um, people will... from all over will come
to love the university and identify with it as part of themselves as we
have in the past and, uh, and I hope our own people, here at home, will
also be able to identify with it more and realize that we haven't really lost-
the university at all we're only sharing it and, uh, and... um, if our thing
is better off, uh, because of this arrangement. Uh, I don't know that everybody
would agree with that, do you?
R: I agree with you definitely. I think it's really like you say, it's really
just a sharing process. It's not like somebody coming in and just taking
it over. We're just sort of sharing our university with other people.
B: Right. That's a good t4 }l)I think. Uh, do you have, uh, do you hear
a lot of complaints from students on campus about anything at all?
R: Ths only thing that they really complain about is they're not that many
social activities. Like there's not... we have a dance maybe like once
every two months and they... there's a lot of complaints about there should
be a place on campus where students can go after school or at night and meet
other students ona different level 'cause when you talk to students during
the day it's more... the atmosphere is not the same as if you would meet
them maybe at night or someplace... yeah... someplace to go to meet the
students not only onan academic like level. And I think that's one of the
LUM 48A 24
biggest complaints is um, not enough extra-curricular activities that involve
the whole student body.
B: Th huh. Vicky, we had... have so many things to talk about. I sort of passed
over, uh, a few things... how many brothers and sisters do you have?
R: I have one sister who is fourteen. Her name is Lisa.
B: Uh huh. Just two of you.
R: Just two.
B: Well that's good. You... you weren't uh, the only child and I think this
is always good when, uh, youlknow, there are more than one child.
R: I have someone to share the housework with.
B: Uh, do you get along well together?
R: It's really funny to be such completely different people. We really do
considering. She is tot... totally different. Like I was more the type
to, uh, I was never the athletic type and she is just all athletic. She
loves sports and things like this. And, um, we get along good considering
we're sisters. We have a few fights sometimes but we always seem to /L4CC'tL
B: Well, that's normal. Uh, who was your mother before her marriage?
R: She was, uh, Florence Rebe+s. Her father's name was uh, Lonnie Rebee,
which is, uh, I'd guess you'd say a prominent in the community an-nObN
R: And, uh, she had... well she came from larger family. She had five sis...
four sisters and one brother. Andi she was the oldest so she sort of had
to look after all the other ones.
B: Uh, how about your... your grandfather on your father's side? and your
R: Mr. and Mrs. Ransomv.. they were... well my father was raised, uh,
I think near __ _'_i_ I'm not sure where. And he ca... he also came from
LUM 48A 25
a large family. I think there was about seven or eight of them... I'm not
sure. And they also lived on a arm. And, um, we live about five miles from
them. I really don't get to see them as much as I'd like to.
B: TUh huh. Uh, the trend incidentally is towards smaller and smaller families.
_there many good economic reasons for this \ /o among
other reasons. Uh, do you think that, uh, this should be encouraged... smaller
and smaller families?
R: Well, no. I think... the way I look at it now they're having all these, um,
theories about that the world is overpopulated. And I think back... well
look at the people who had fourteen children. They seemed to get along very
well and they seem to be so happy. I really feel like if, um, two people
feel like they can afford, uh, children and if they can offer them what they
need, the essentials, and can look out for their education, I think they
should be allowed to have 'em an' I don't think that there should be a
set number like every family can't have over two children. I, myself, I've
always thought... I guess it's mostly because I came from a small family that
I would like to have a large family. I'd like to start off with maybe
about six children, you know? But, uh, it seems like more people are getting
this idea that, um, well it seems like just large families have gone out of
style. You don't see that anymore.
B: Uh, do you think the farming situation has changed some of that, or helped
to change it?
R: Well I've seen it change 'cause I've lived on a farm and like when I was
growing up there was not much machinery. The only machines a man... a farmer
had was mostly a tractor or, or a lot of times they just had a... an old
mule, you might call it. But now the machinery has taken over and really it
doesn't take all that much... all that many people to run a farm.
LUM 48A 26
B: Uh huh.
R: I think that's one of the biggest things that it's... it's become so mechanical.
And, um, it really doesn't take all that many outside people to carry on
the things on a farm.
B: Right. That certainly is a factor. Uh, we've... we've had the complaint
from time to time that many of our people or some of our people at least were
leaving the county going elsewhere. Um, for better economic opportunities...
jobs... better jobs and so forth. Uh, does this bother you?
R: In a certain way it bothers me but then I sat down and I thought about it.
What if I were in their shoes and... and I had just graduated from college
and I had an opportunity to go maybe to another city like maybe Raleigh
and... and get a good job for fifteen thousand dollars a year or I could
stay in Robison county and teach school and make about six or seven thousand
dollars a year. And I think that this is one of the main factors when
people for people leaving that the, um, financial status or... particularly
in Robison County, there's really not that many jobs that pay that well.
And I think this is... is one attraction to people who graduate who have
lived here all their lives. They get this... the opportunity to really
go off and... and make a lot of money. Of course, myself, I've always
thought about once I got my masters and everything and all... I'd like to
come back here and contribute something to my people. I feel like that
that's the least I could do. And so I hope that... that my attitude don't
change about this. You know, I don't think it will but it seems like, uh,
more and more people are coming back. I know a lot of 'em do leave and get
good jobs but it seems like more and more of them are coming back for some
reaosn. I don't know whether it's they're getting homesick or or maybe
people think, you know, grass always looks greener on the other side, but
LUM 48A n 27
once you get in the situation it's not what you thought it would be.
B: Uh, I hate to ask you about your love life.
R: It's normal...
B: But how are you in the romance department?
R: It's normal. I'm not attatehed to anyone right now. I mean I'm not... I
don't have any, uh, near marraige plans or anything like that. I'd like to
get married in about four more years I think I'd be ready in about four more
B: Uh, would you encourage other young people to remain single until they get
their education and get really prepared?
R: Well I think this is one very important thing. Of courseyou know as well as
I do that around here -carraige at an early age was the in thing or is the in
thing. I know like all my girlfriends are married, most of them got married
at eighteen. I don't know whether it's... they get married because really
there's not much else to do 'cause there's so little social activity around
here that if you aren't married or aren't going steady or something like
this that there's really not that much to do. But I feel like that I'd have
a lot more to put into a marraige if I had my education completed and didn't
have to worry about that and had a good job to start off with. I think that
um, two people should have a little, um, collateral, you might say, tor start
off with. I think they should sort of have their education over with and be
ready to just take on the responsibility of raising a family and the other things
that go along with a marraige.
B: Yeah. Excuse me. Uh, I seem to have a cold. Uh, I think that..... Vicky,
I was talking to my neice not long ago who was married and she is a registered
nurse and, uh, she she shared your feelings and uh, how do you think we can
get this message across to young people?
LUM 48A 28
R: Well I think one thing that maybe influenced me was uh, if there's more
activities which will involve groups instead of maybe just like on an in-
dividual basis. I think maybe if we had a place like in Pembroke where just,
um, groups of young people could get together then there would... this
tendency would sort of fade away and, um, two people would become less, I
really don't know how to put it. Um, they would be able to share their ideas
with... with other people and they would get to meet other people and this
ten... then they wouldn't become so attached to just one person.
B: Have you observed, uh, anything in connection with interracial dating on
campus or anything like this? This is sort of a ticklish question but don't
comment if you don't like to.
R: Well it was really funny, when I was a freshman, uh, people would say,
well I know this guy that wants to date you but he's afraid to date you
'cause he's an Indian.... 'cause you're an Indian. You know he... I think
a lot of the guys when... when they see an Indian girl on campus they're
sort of, uh, dubious to ask her 'cause they're afraid they might, uh, that
she hasn't n ^ l You know, I guess everybody
heard that Indians are supposed to be violent. They're supposed to be
mean and they'll scalp you if you do something wrong. But, um, it's really
not that bad 'cause there is a lot of interracial dating going on on campus
and, um, I don't think it's... it's not as bad as it used to be 'cause I remember
like when my aunt was, uh, going to college she told me about a lot of the
Indian girls wouldn't... their parents wouldn't even allow someone... a white
student to even come to their house to even take them out but that's...
B: You think they're....
R: ...definitely changed.
B: Uh huh. Um, well, um, do you... can you think of any other problems that, uh,
young people might have in this area which maybe is not common to the other
LUM 48A 29
areas? Do you think we have some special problems? Our young people
uh, because of the fact that, uh, of location and background and that sort of
R: I think maybe a problem'that people... young people around here would have
I don't know whether you would call it a problem is they have this... this
hang-up or... excuse me... whatever that they... other people will not accept
them. And this tends to cause them to be shy and not as outgoing as they
could be. I think this is one of the main uh, problems of the young people
today. They so... if they would realize that they're humans and... and they
have the same right as everyone else then they, uh, I think this would gradually
fade away. They just seem to shy away and they're not as aggressive as maybe
other... some other young people are.
B: Uh, then you think, uh, shyness perhaps is a characteristic of our people... of
our... of our girls....
R: Yes I... they seem to have this tendency to just sit back and take things
as they are and they really don't stand up and, uh, speak out for what they
believe in. I don't think you would find many Women's Liberation around
Pembroke right now.
R: Among the Lumbee Indian girls?
B: Uh, perhaps something like this would enlighten things and maybe would, uh,
provoke us to think more. Uh, something like this. Some of the things
they advocate I... I go along with. A good many of them as a matter of
fact. Some... I... I... do you share any of the things, uh, I don't mean
you know, most movements are, uh, well they're, uh, not covered as
as they ought to be and as truthfully as they ought to be and, uh, do you think
there is... how do you feel about Women's Lib?
LUM 48A 30
R: Well I think Women's Lib is... I think one of the main reasons they have
Women's Lib is to make women more aware of themselves and their responsibility
to society. I don't agree with all their things just like, you know, other
movements. Most people don't agree with everything. But I think... well the
main thing that I agree with is equal pay, equal job opportunities. I feel
like that if a woman and a man are interviewed for a job and the woman is
just as qualified for the job as the man then the woman then the woman ha...
should have an equal chance at the job. Not because she... not because she's
just a woman because... well because she has gone through the educational
process just like the man and I think she should have the equal opportunity
and also be paid for the same job that another man is doing.
B: Do you think it's about time that we had a woman president?
R: I don't know whether I could sleep good at night if I knew. Uh... I sort of
disagree with the, uh, a woman as president because everyone knows that a
man, of couse I know Women's Lib definitely doesn't agree with this but,
a man is a lot stronger... has a lot stronger points than a woman does and I
think especially under pressure a man is more able to stand up to the pressures
that he would have to stand up to than a woman could. Well just think what
would a woman president do if she became pregnant or something. Who would take
B: Well, uh, I, uh, certainly have enjoyed this interview and, uh, I'm just
wondering if... if you have a message you would like to leave with us and we
could pass it on to others.
R: Well I justS e_ I keep speaking of involvement and I think
that more young people should become involved and should become more understanding
of what is going on. This brings to mind a little saying I always heard-- It
is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot. And I think
this has alot of meaning that if young people will become more understanding
Lum 48A 31
of the older generation and of the things around them that the world would be
better as a whole. And I'd just like to see more young people become involved.
B: Well I certainly agree with you there. Um, as an/iJrT I'm... I... whether
I agree or don't agree doesn't necessarily matter but, uh, I do want you to
know how very much we appreciate this interview and, uh, we want to thankthe
Doris Duke Foundation. And, uh, we want to encourage you to go on and continue
to do all the good things you've been doing. We're very proud of you and I'm
sure I speak for many, many people when I say that because so many of our
people are proud of you and I think, uh, we're going in the right direction uh,
when we do put our best food forward and, and, uh, before we close I would like
to ask you, uh, in your travels, uh, do you find that our people are better
known perhaps now than they were a few years ago?
R: Yes definitely because, uh, a few years ago no one had ever heard of... you'd say
I'm a Lumbee they wouldn't know what you were talking about. You would
always have to add, I'm a Lumbee Indian. And I think definitely in the past
few years they have really become known not only state wide but nationally.
Because like, uh, once when I had the privilege of meeting President Nixon
I, uh, told him where I was from and everything and he's says, uh,he asked
me, uh, are you a Lumbee .Indian? And I was really surprised that he had even
heard of the Lumbee Indian. ( e
B: Uh, well he did appoint one, you know, um, Commissioner _Blue is
a presidential appointment. But, uh, uh, I'm like you, I, uh, I would have
been a little surprised that he didn't know about the Lumbee Indians but of
course the president is very unusual. A very unusual man with a very unusual
capacity for understanding and knowing about different groups and he is, uh,
certainly inclined toward Indian people, don't you think?
LUM 48A 32
B: And, uh, it certainly has been a delightful interview and I want to thank you
very much for it.
R: Thank you and I enjoyed it also.
B: Thank you.