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Title: Interview with Henry Oxendine (May 21, 1973)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007075/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Henry Oxendine (May 21, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: May 21, 1973
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
 Notes
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: UF00007075
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 88A

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Interview
        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
Full Text



COPYRIGHT NOTICE


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
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida









LUM 88A
SUBJECT: HENRY W'. OXENDINE
INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON
DATE: MAY 21, 1973
SIDE: ONE
PAGE: ONE










I: This is May 21, 1973. I'm Lew Barton, recording for the University of

Florida's History Department, and the Doris Duke Foundation's American

Indian Oral History Program. Today, I'm in Washington D.C., in the

office of United States Indian Claims Commissioner, the Honorable Mr.

Brantley Blue. We're here for a very simple purpose, but a very expressive

one. This is a historic date for the Lumbee Indians. We have tried to

capture the sense of this history in an article, yet to appear in The

Carolina Indian Voice. Commissioner, I don't like ttP impose on you,

uh, no matter how willing I know you are, but this is a special occasion.

And although you are a very busy person, I know you won't mind reading

this story which is to appear in this week's issue of The Carolina

Indian Voice. Would you do that for us please? One reason, commissioner,

that I'm asking you to do this...is that it involves the graduation of

five law students, all Lumbee Indians, from law school. Since you were

the very first Lumbee Indian to graduate from law school, I know you

have a unique interest in this singular event...in the history of our

people, the Lumbee Indians, of North Carolina, and elsewhere. Uh, this is

born out by the fact, that only yesterday, most of these five graduated

from law school, and only today, one day later, we find them right here

in your office, seeking consultation with you. I think this is pretty

wonderful, and uh, we want to interview one of these very shortly. All

this being true, I feel very confident that you won't object to reading










SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



I: ...a story about this singular event...for the record, which will appear

in next Thursday's issue of The Carolina Indian Voice.

B: Lew, I can honestly state, that this is absolutely one of the greatest

moments of my life. I know how important it is for a group of people to

have among them legal practitioners. Especially if they are a unique

group of persons...who ordinarily have been uh...considered as being

somewhat different, unusual, and perhaps discriminated against by the

legal system under which they live. They can gain nothing but confidence,

to have come from their midst, persons who...become experts in the

system by which they are controlled. Whether they have been rightfully

or wrongfully mistreated under the law in the past, it tends to give an

assurance that in the future they won't be dealing with the absolute

unknown. That there will be those among them who has a conception, a

working conception, a professional conception of the guidelines, the

limits, the extent of rules and regulations that effect their every day

lives. And it is a great day for me to know that this has just happened.

That we have had more Lumbees graduate from law school in the last week

or two, than we have had throughout our history in the past. And I'd be

very pleased to read the story that you have prepared regarding this very

important occasion, for an issue of The Carolina Indian Voice, that is to

appear three days hence. And I want to congratulate you, for looking

forward this far in advance, and being prepared for this great occasion.

I shall now read the story.






2











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



B: Five Lumbee law students graduating. The first Lumbee Indian to

graduate from law school was Brantly Blue, in 1949. He is now a

commissioner with the U.S. Indian Claims Commission in Washington D.C.

Afew years later, Tommy Dial of Pembroke, became the second Lumbee

Indian to graduate from law school. He has served in various capacities,

usually calling upon his legal talents in aiding varied Indian programs

throughout the country. Shortly thereafter, Jack Lowery became the third

Lumbee Indian to graduate from law school. He is now in the midst of a

very successful law practice, in Lebanon, Tennessee. Last year, Horace

Locklear graduated from law school, and became the first Indian to be

admitted to the North Carolina Bar. He is now busily engaged in the

practice of law at Lumberton, Robeson County, North Carolina. Throughout

thep years we have produced only four law school graduates. This year, in

one big sweep, we are graduating five law students from among our people.

We live, and since the year of our constitution, of 1789, have lived in

a legal society without any legal professional representation from among

our people, until very recent years. We may look backward for only a year

or so, and be reminded of the many legal questions that have confronted

our people as a group. It is not difficult to see how important it is for

us to have legal brain power and training among our people. And so it is

with pride that we bring to the attention of all interested persons, that

five members of our group, are this spring, graduating from law school.

One of them graduated Cum Laude, and another of them is already a member

of the North Carolina General Assembly. Without question, all Indians in

North Carolina should be proud of these five persons. Some of them may

return to practice law in Robeson County. 0 others may go to other places

3










SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



B: ...tcr do other things. Whatever they do, and where ever they go, we can

be confident that they will use their talents, and their abilities to

help their fellow man. The five Lumbee Indians graduating from law school

this spring are as follows: One, Henry Ward Oxendine; two, Betty Jo Hunt;

three, Arnold Locklear; four, Harlow Knox Chavis; five, Marvin Chavis.

I: Thank you so much commissioner, you are so kind to do this for us.

Another singular characteristic of this occasion is that one of these

five is a girl. Betty Jo Hunt, who becomes the first Lumbee Indian girl

in the history of our people...to become a lawyer, and we certainly salute

her, and all the legal talent uh, about which we have been talking for the

past few minutes. Of the law students graduating this year, presently

in the commissioner's office here in Washington D.C., ,the first one I

shall interview, will be Henry Ward Oxendine. Who, by the way, is the

first Indian ever to become a member of the General Assembly of North

Carolina. Mr. Oxendine, we certainly want to thank you for favoring us

with this interview, and...and we certainly give you our hearty congratulations,

and wish you Godspeed sir for the future. And uh, we also want to thank

you for appearing here today. Uh, I get a little bit choked up when I talk

to somebody like you. Uh, this is something toward which all of us have

looked for a long long time. Uh, would you help me, would you be kind

enough to help meVaquaint our readers, and our listeners, and others,

with some of the things about your biography, and some of the other things.

We'll talk in a relaxed manner as we go along, and uh, uh, I know you're

pretty good at talking. You have to be to be in the General Assembly of

North Carolina. So uh, mostly I'm just here to listen, and to remind you

to spell the words which are a little difficult for our readers, and our

4











SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



I: ...listeners, perhaps to spell. Because we'll have many writers and

students who will be using this interview you know, in the future

perhaps. Uh...would you tell us your name?

S: Well, I'm Henry Ward Oxendine, and...

I: And the last is spelled O-x-e-n-d-i-n-e...right?

S: Yes sir.

I: Uh huh.

S: And uh...my parents are Lockey...L-o-c-k-e-y...Oxendine, and my mother

is Nancy Oxendine, and presently they are both living. My father is

seventy-nine, and my mother is seventy-seven, and considering their age,

they are in relatively good health. Uh...

I: Great.

S: We grew up around Union Chapel. My parents owned their home place at Union

Chapel, and I grew up there.

I: Uh huh...this is near Pembroke?

S: Yes sir.

I: Uh huh.

S: Uh, I lived there until I finished high school, and I spent three years

in the United States Air Force. And uh, I think that it was in the Air

Force that I sort of got some direction for my life. It was at that point

I...that I decided that there had to be a little bit more than just

beating around and waiting for things to happen. I felt that I had to go

on to college, and so as soon as I got out of the Air Force...I got out

August the second, of 1960, and I rode at Pembroke September...about

September the first, of 1960. And I graduated from Pembroke four years


5












SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...later, in 1964.

I: Right. Well, that's great. And then where did you go from there?

S: Well, I taught school. I had decided when I went to college that I

would like to teach school. I felt it was an opportunity for me to uh,

do something. I felt rather strongly about the country, and that I...

felt that maybe the people should understand more about the government,

and how the country ran. And maybe that...particularly with our people, it

might help them be uh, a little more concerned about the government. And

so I taught school six years. I taught four years at Union Chapel Elementary

School, where I grew up. And then I taught two years...the last two years

I taught at Pembroke Junior High School.

I: Uh huh...now let's see...uh, did we talk about your wife yet?

S: Well...

I: And your immediate family if you have one.

S: Yes. I was married in 1965, August the twentieth. I married Sandra

Ransom...she was a Ransom, her maiden name was Ransom. Her father is

Early Ransom, of Route 1, Pembroke.

I: That's R-a-n-s-o-m.

S: Yes sir. And we have two children, one boy, seven, and one boy will soon

be six.

I: Now what are their names sir?

S: Hampton...H-a-m-p-t-o-n...is my oldest son, and my youngest one is Hughes,

H-u-g-h-e-s. I named them...I didn't want to name one of my children a

Junior, because I felt that if I had another son, it might create some


6











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...problems, but I guess I was egotistical to the point that I wanted them

both to have my initials, so I named them...they all have the initials

H.W.O. My oldest one is Hampton Wayne Oxendine, and my youngest son is

Hughes Wendell, so they do have my initials even though I didn't get a

Junior in the family.

I: Well, that's great...that's certainly one way of doing it...isn't it.

Uh, isn't this...how do you fell right now? I can hardly ask you questions,

I'm so excited. Uh, how do you feel right now? Could you possibly

describe the way you feel?

S: Well, I'm very happy to be out of law school. We received our diplomas

yesterday, in Durham, at a...at a graduation at North Carolina Central,

and I'm very happy to be out of law school, and I think that my feeling

right now is that uh, because I was appointed to the General Assembly

about eight weeks ago, I'll have to admit that that was a high point in

my life. It was a very exciting period for me, and I was very happy to

receive that nomination. So I....

I: And we're all...we're all happy. It was good for all of us too.

S: Thank you. And I suppose that that takes some of the excitement out of

graduating from high...law school. But I was very happy to get out of

law school, and...and know that that is behind me now.

I: Well, you're in...you're certainly in good company, and uh, you knew of

course all the other students don't you?

S: Yes I do, and I...I would say that having Arnold and Knox at North Carolina

Central with me...they started the same year I did. We took almost all of

our classes together. And I'll have to say,having them there has meant


7











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...the whole world of difference to me. I might even say, that if they

hadn't been there, I don't know that uh...graduation might not have been

possible. Probably would have, but they really helped. I think the

competition between us helped me to...if it helped to motivate me. We

spent a lot of time together socializing. We would uh...we studied quite

a bit, very hard...all of us studied very hard, and uh, but we did spend

quite a bit of time together socializing, and that meant a world of

difference.

I: Yes, they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

S: Well, that's true. especially in law school...it involves a considerable

amount of reading.

I: Uh, let's be sure that we get all our biographical details in. Uh, are

you a church member?

S: Yes, I'm a member now of Calvary Methodist Church in Durham. We live in

Durham. We've been there almost three years. I moved to Durham in August

of 1970, to attend North Carolina Central Law School in Durham. And we've

been there uh, ever since then. And I joined uh, the church, by profession

of faith in October of...October the twenty-sixth, I believe to be exact,

1970. That's Calvary Methodist Church in Durham.

I: Uh huh. I don't believe we got in the date of your marriage...or do you

remember that?

S: My marriage?

I: You're wife if you didn't.

S: Well, we got married in 1965, I...I believe I mentioned that. I might not

have mentioned the date, it was the twentieth...the twentieth of August,

in 1965.
8











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



I: Thank you very much. Uh...now that you're out, and uh, you're making plans

for the future perhaps. Of course you're going to have to serve out your

term in the General Assembly. This is the first thing on the program,

right?

S: Yes, and maybe I need to mention how I received this appointment, and it

was an appointment.

I: Uh huh.

S: I serve, a three county district, the 21st District...House District.

It's three counties, Robeson County, Scotland'County, and Hobe County.

In 19...1972...busily in law school, and I didn't run for the House.

Uh, several people ran in our county...our district. And Mr. Frank White,

and Mr. J.J. Johnson, and Mr. Guss Spiro won the three seats in our

district. Our district has three seats.

I: I see.

S: On March the eleventh of this year, Mr. Frank White died, he had been

suffering uh, from uh, internal illness for several months.

I: Yes, that was very tragig wasn't it?

S: Yes it was, and Mr. White was a great individual. I didn't get to know

him for a very long period of time, but I did get to know him about one

year, and I was very impressed with his concern for people. And...and of

course we all mourned his death. But uh....

I: I knew him personally, and I certainly agree with you. He was a...he was

concerned about people, and people's problems.

S: Well I guess you might could say that he and I were sort of separated by

the generation gap, if there is such a thing. He was in his early sixties,

9











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...and I was around thirty, so I didn't get to know him for such a very

long period of time. But...on May the eleventh, when he passed away,

the statutes of North Carolina provides that uh...someone has to be

appointed to take his seat within a...uh...by the district. And uh, I

recieved the appointment. And I was sworn in on May the nineteenth, this

year, 1973. And I will serve the term, the remaining portion of his term.

I: Uh, Mr. Oxendine, now that you're in this great game of politics, and I

suspect you sort of received a push in that direction, uh, what do you

plan to do? Do you plan to stick with it, and uh...?

S: Well, I've been interested in politics since about, I would say 1966.

I saw that as the way to bring about changes. There are many ways of

bringing about changes, and I saw politics as the way to bring about the

changes. I became active, I would say, in about 1966. And uh, I saw that,

how Indians, their plans, and their purposes that they happen to feel

often frustrated, by others who control the political machinery, and the

government from day to day.

I: Right.

S: And I saw that Indians had very little input into this machinery. And uh,

I think that's what prompted me to law school in 1970. That I could try

to qualify myself, that I could seek a public office. I do plan to run

again, and uh, if I'm elected, uh, I'll serve another term, and of course

at that point I would have to evaluate any future political activities.

Uh, I think I will have to say, and uh, I say it in all modesty, that

personally, I have no uh, personal uh, gratification, or any of those

terms that you want to use. I could very well personally do without the

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SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...uh, glory, and the glamor that goes with this office. Uh...I've

accomplished what I had set out to accomplish in 1970, that is to

graduate from law school. And uh, so I have no personal expectations from

this office. And I...I only serve it as a means of trying to improve the

conditions, the living conditions, the political opportunities for

Indian people in our county.

I: Uh, well, that's certainly great. I know you are a modest person, and

perhaps too modest. Uh, but we're not quite that modest, so I guess

you're going to have to bear with some of your fans, uh, who believe in

you, and who feel this way about you. I know you're not seeking personal

glory, or naything like this, so we certainly are...are very happy that

you were appointed, and that you did graduate from law school. This is a

plus for our people, and uh, we're sort of claiming a part of that too.

We're very happy about it.

S: Well I...I wish that it was possible to take my diploma, and cut it up into

the various segments of people who have contributed. Because there have

been literally hundreds. There've been people who have been encouraging me

since the beginning of my law school plans, and even before. And uh, I think

that it's very good, now in this stage of our development that Indian

people are attempting to help other Indian people. It hasn't always been

that way.

I: Right.

S: Uh...there's been periods in our history when if one Indian person tried

to advance himself, maybe it was for personal gain, or for the cause of

the Indian people...other Indian persons would try everything they could

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SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...to spoil those attempts.

I: Right.

S: And I think that we've changed for the better in that respect, and many

many people have encouraged me, and uh, I appreciate it. And I wish that

it was possible to show them uh, how much I appreciate it. And I hope that

I can do this over the next few years. Because I do feel that I owe some

years of my life to the Indian people because they have helped me for one

thing, and because we are people that need much help from ourselves,

basically. It's going to have to come from us I believe. Our own elevation

is going to have to come from within. And I hope to spend some years of my

life...I won't say how many, I...as many as it takes, in serving our people.

I: Uh, that's...that's certainly great. Uh, and I'm sure you have...you can re

remember many people uh, in your life, and in your career who encouraged-

you one way or another. But is there one person who sticks out above all

others as uh, your inspiration, or your, sort of as your uh, star.

Somebody to look forward to, and somebody to sort of idolize...idealize,

or are there too many to have just one stick out from all the rest?

S: Well I...I don't know that I can point to any one individual. Uh

certainly when I think of the persons who have contributed greatly, I

would have to name my mother...

I: Right.

S: Because she has stuck by me...uh...well even as far back as I can remember

in high school. We were always poor, and she would give her last dollar, if

I asked for it, to get something. And it was the same way in college, and

in law school. I know in law school, uh, I...I was receiving G.I. Bill

12











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: Benefits, and my wife was working, and so I should of had plenty of

money, but I had to go to my mother many times and get money. And she

was always willing to give it, and she never complained. And she has

always been as h lpful to me as she could. She didn't have the benefit

of receiving e yet she saw the advantage of it for all her

children...

I: Right.

S: And she helped me tremendously. And my wife has helped me quite a bit

naturally. By giving me moral encouragement, and in the last four years,

financial assistance.

I: Well that's certainly wonderful.

S: And...and I might add uh...Mr. Barton, that I've been greatly influenced

by your courage and determination. I think that you have had to operate

over the las several years with consideral...handi...considerable

handicaps, and you have not let it slow you down, and then you've not let

it get you away from your goals. And uh, I will have to say that I've

been influen ced by your determination.

I: Well, you certainly are kind to say that. I certainly appreciate it. I...

I hope I can live up to that. Uh...I'm so excited about this yet...really.

Uh, I haven't been able to get over it, becuase this is a moment of great

joy in my own life, because I've... My own father recognized uh, long

ago. that uh, the thing that our people perhaps need most is legal talent.

Uh, I've heard him say this often, and I'm sure many of the older people

felt this way.

S: Well Mr. Barton, while I'm very encouraged abbutt:it, but I think that


13













SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...this is just a beginning for us. I expect to see the day, and it won't

be very long, that in Robeson County, we will have Indians in any and

all the professions. We will have Indian dentists, we will have many

Indian doctors...presently we only have one...we will have many. We

will have Indian doctors into the specialties. We will have Indian

engineers. We will have Indian architects. And uh, I expect to see,

before too long...Indians in every profession or occupation that you

can mention. And I'm very optimistic about our future, and I'm very

excited about it.

I: That...that's certainly great. I...this it what it tkaes I think, not only

hard work, but faith. Faith in ourselves, and in God, and in the future,

and you seem to have all those things. And uh, I certainly want to wish

you god speed. I kmow that you're going to be used...uh...by the creator.

Uh, I believe ttr...I believe in providence, myself. I believe you will

be used greatly, by providence, or by God...uh...to help bring about

whatever changes need to be made, or whatever needs to be done, we...I

certainly feel that you're equal to the task. You've certainly been in

the past. And uh...uh...what is very encouraging to me, is that you are

still a very young man. How old did you say you were?

S: I'm thirty-two.

I: You're still a very young man.

S:' Well, I hope that I can serve the people in various capacities, uh, for

the next thirty years. And I'll add this in closing, that I was in the

Jay Cees for several years, and in the Jay Cees, we have a creed. And one

part of that creed says that service to humanity is the best work in life.


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SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: I certainly hope that I will be able to provide my family with some of

the conveniences in life...

I: Right.

S: But uh I don't place becoming a millionaire or getting rich, high on

my priority list. I think that when I do retire from public life, that

I can look back on it, and say that I have contributed something to

making it better for the people.

I: Well, I'm sure you can. I'm quite sure you can. I think you've done that

already. And you're...you're setting your course. And do you plan to

spend the rest of your life uh...uh...especially in your law practice

among your people, or....?

S: Well I plan to...I'm looking forward to moving abck to Pembroke now. I

hope I can find me a small track of land uh, near Pembroke, and I plan

to stay there the rest of my life. I've had the opportunityeto serve in

the military. I traveled over a good part of the United States, and I've

served in Canada, and I've seen other parts of the country, and I think

that the area in and around Pembroke is as great for an individual to live

and raise a family as there is in the whole United States. And I'm looking

forward to going back to Pembroke, and I plan to stay there the rest of

my life.

I: Well that's certainly encouraging because we're certainly looking forward

to having you do just that. Uh, because uh, we don't have enough young

men like yourself among our people unfortunately. Uh, but maybe more and

more will be encouraged by your example, by the words of encouragement

that you're off....able to offer others. I wanted...I want to ask you a


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SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



I: ...question if I may, before we close out, uh, that I ask a good many

people. It may require you to think a little bit because there might be

many answers to it. If you could rub Aladin's magic lamp, and have any

wish you chose, to change anything about anything in Robeson County,

what would you change first?

S: Well, if I could have it exactly as I want it, I would want equality of

opportunity for everyone, but on the other hand, I'm not .sure that I

would want to do that because then you and I wouldn't have anything to

fight for at this particular point in our history. And I enjoy the battle,

to tell you the truth. Uh, but I think the pressing problems inmRobeson

County, for us in May of 1973 are....educational problems. Uh, making

sure our children receive equal education, and making sure that our

Indian people, and minorities everywhere in the county get equal

employment opportunities. Education and employment are the two main

problems that we have in Robeson County right today I would think. I

don't know whether that's what you had in mind or not, but those are the

problems, and those are the things that need to be changed immediately,

and those are the kinds of problems that I hope I can work on when I get

there. We have many problems, but I think if we can get equal educational

opportunities for all of our children, that a lot of the other problems

will work themselves out, and I think if we can get jobs for our Indian

people so that they can make decent salaries as other people in the

county do...they will solve a lot of their own personal problems too.

I: Right. Well, I'm certainly glad to hear you say that, I think that what

we call the Gospel of Education uh, which used to preached among our


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SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



I: ...people, perhaps more fervently than uh, within recent years even.

Uh, but I believe it's being preached more fervently today than ever .

before, and if it isn't uh, perhaps you and I need to do a little more

about continuing to preach it, or preaching it a little bit louder, so

that our people will recognize that this is their number one need, for

without an education you don't...uh, you're not able to compete with

anybody, not even within your own group, much less people in other ethnic

groups.

S: Well, I certainly agree...agree with that, and I think it is highly

significant for us as Indians to try to instill in our young people

the importance of education in general, but even how much more important

it is for them to get education, becuase when you're second or even

third, you do have to try a little bit harder. And I think that right

now in Robeson County, being as good as anyone else is not quite going

to solve our problems maybe. It may mean that we're going to have to do

a little bit better than the other groups. And uh, it's very important

now, I think, that we teach the importance of education to our young

Lumbee Indians.

I: Uh, I would like to ask you one more question in connection with young

people. Uh I'm sort of a fan of young people myself. Uh, do you feel as

some people seem to feel that our young people are going to the dogs, or

that they are worse than other generations, or that...all this sort of

thing...uh do you have any comments along those lines?

S: Well, I think that in 1973 there's probably more opportunity for young

people to express themselves in their late teens and early twenties than

17











SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...there was...there was, say thirty years ago. But...because of auto-

mobiles available, and maybe more money than they had back in the

'30s, but if you're talking about morality and ethics, I don't think

it's any less now than it was thirty years ago, or fifty years ago, or

a hundred years ago. And I...I'm extremely confident that the young

people uh, will turn out to be fine adults. Uh, I suppose every person,

no matter what time in history when they were in their uh, early twenties

they probably spent some years when they didn't fell that they...there

was any particular need for having values. That's...I suppose that's been

all throughout history, and I don't think that this generation is any

different in that respect. A lot of them do spend a lot of time we

consider, those of us who are older, wasting their time, but I think

that that...even those years they spend just bumming around you might

say...are fruitfull in that it helps them to create some values. So

uh, I'm not critical of the youth today, as compared to twenty years

ago, or fifty years ago.

I: One, I'm certainly glad you feel this way, because uh, this is almost

exactly the way I feel too. I...I think we've got the best informed

young generation perhaps that we've ever had. And uh, I think our

future is pretty secure uh, in their hands. I haven't given up on them

at all...have you?

S: No, I haven't. Uh, and I think that in a lot of ways this country will

be better for it. I'm glad to see freshmen in college questioning the

political system. I think for too long we've had people who didn't

question it, and accepted what the elders said. And I'm glad to see

18











SUBJECT: HENRY WARD OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...them questioning whether or not the political processes that we

have and so forth are the best. I think this is the only way that you're

going to have improvement in government, and life in general, is when

people start questioning...uh, well, I would say almost everything,

because then I think they'll be able to sift out the real from the

unreal. And they will preserve the real, and they'll reject that'that's

artificial.

I: Uh huh. Well, I take it from all this that you...you believe strongly

in participatory government, and you feel that ere young people are a

vital part of that.

S: I certainly do. Uh, I think that if every person in America, who is

eighteen years or older voted in our government, that our government,

the course of our government would change dramatically over the next few

years. And I expect to see more participation from the young, and uh, I

think that their participation is more...in some ways is more sensible,

because I think that they are in positions to approach problems object-

ively, and that's something you lose with age.

I: And perhaps we uh, lose some of our idealism too...do you think, as- -

we grow ?a-ittlebt?

S: I think so. I definitely think so. I think that the...the younger

persons are,,in some ways, they have more hope for the country, and plans

for it than some of us who are older.

I: Do you have any advice you would like to give the young people?

S: I...well, there's lots of things I could say, but I think that the

advice I would give my son, when he gets old enough to go off to college,

19











SUBJECT: HENRY W. OXENDINE

INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON



S: ...if that's what he wants, uh, I would advise him to question anything

that's presented to him, anything that he has to make a decision on,

anything that anyone asks him to do or to accept, I would advise him to

question that in his mind, and seek out the wisdom of all those around

him whom he trusts, and other persons that he feels can help him to

make an intelligent decision. I always urge inquiries into everything.

I: Well, that's certainly great. Uh, I certainlyluh,have enjoyed this

interview, and uh, I don't want to hold you longer than you feel that y

you have the time to give. Uh, in as much as I think we're having some

refreshments around here pretty shortly perhaps, and all that...but uh,

is there anything that you would like to add before we close...at all?

S: Well, I suppose that by being sort of a politician, I don't consider

myself a politician yet you know, we're supposed to I guess feel that

we're uh, experts on any and all subjects, and uh, maybe that this would

be a very good time just to stop.

I: Uh huh. Well, on behalf of the Doris Duke Foundation, and the University

of Florida's History Department, and for myself personally...I want to

thank you very much for giving us this very enlightening, and very

enjoyable, and very inspiring interview. And again sir, my congratulations,

and I do with all my heart wish you God speed for the future. Thankyou

so very much.

S: Well, I appreciate it, thankyou.

I: Hopefully this is the first in a series of five interviews. This is

tape one, interview one.

END


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