Title: Interview with Purnell Swett (May 20, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007076/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Purnell Swett (May 20, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: May 20, 1973
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007076
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 89A

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DATE: MAY 20, 1973

I: May 20, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the Doris Duke American

History Program under the auspices of the Hwstory Department of the

University of Florida. This afternoon I am in the home of Commissioner

and Mrs. Brantley Blue and favoring us with an interview is Mr. Purnell

Swett. Uh, I won't tell you a whole lot about him because I want to ask

him, uh, to tell you about himself. But, uh what. would you spell

your name for us, please sir?

S: Purnell Swett. P-u-r-n-e, double 1. Swett, S-w-e-t-t.

I: Are you a Lumbee Indian?

S: Yes.

I: Would you tell us who your father and mother were please, sir?

S: My father is the Reverand Tommy M. Swett, a minister in the Lumbee

community for 51 years. My mother is the late Bertha Strickland Swett,

she passed away in 1967.

I: How old are you now, Mr. Swett?

S: I am 39 years of age.

I: Uh, huh. We would like to get as much biographical material from you

as possible. Because like other people we have interviewed, you've


been a very worthy public servant for quite some time and you are

certainly high in our esteem and in the esteem of others. Uh, would

you tell us about your wife, vo was it you married?

S: My wife is Annette Locklear. She's the daughter of Mr. Curtis and

Mrs. Locklear from Red Banks North Carolina.

I: Uh, you received your college education, I believe, at Pembroke State

University, is that correct?

S: I received in 1957 a Bachelor of Science degree from Pembroke State

University with my major in science and my minor in history.

I: Uh, where did you attend high school and elementary school?

S: All my undergraduate or rather my pre-college work was elementary

education at Pembroke grade school and high school at Pembroke High


I: Uh, you're over here in Washington, D.C. and are you employed over

here at this time?

S: Presently I am employed with the Department of H.E.W. in the U.S.

Office of Education. My responsibility is chief of operations in the

Division of Adult Education. This Division of Adult Education is a part

of the Bureau of Occupational and Adult Education. However, for the

last few weeks Ive been detailed to the new deputyship of Office of

Indian Education and I'm responsible there for the coordination of.

the discretionary programs for children and adults which is. .at the

present time, the fiscal year 1973, a five and a half million dollar


I: Well, that's great. I'm so proud you're over here. ANd I know you're

doing a good job. I've heard very complimentary comments about you since


you've been over here. And of course, you've had a good background in

education before you came here, didn't you?

S: Well, my background education started when I completed college in 1957.

I went to Pembroke High School as a teacher in science in the eighth grade

and then worked there for five and half years in the science department.

And then I. the State Department of Education wanted to set up a pilot

program in Safey and Driver Education so they asked me to be the coordinator

to set that program-up for high schools in the county. These four high

schools being Pembroke High School, Prospect High School, Fairgrove High

School, Magnolia High School--these are all Indian schools. And then in

1965 I became principal of Rexrender Elementary School. This is basically

an all-Indian school in the county system there in Robertson County. In.

however in 1965 I enrolled at. in the summer program at Western Carolina

University and started working towards a master's degree in school admin-

istration with a minor in social psychology. I received my master's degree

in 1967 and in that fall, I became the first Indian person in the county

system there to become assistant superintendent of public. of the school

system there in Robertson County.

I: You sort of made history there didn't you?

S: Well I guess they. .in the past they did have people in very supervisory

capacities but I was the first to become in a high administrative position

in the county system.

I: Right

S: That is significant in the fact that Robertson County, as you're probably

aware of has one of the highest student-Indian population in the state and,

uh, which is significant as I was able to move in that capacity. I served


there until January 17 of 1971 before coming to Washington here.

I: Let's do a flash back just temporarily. I wanted to establish something

in connection with your father who is so influential in our county in

religious work, Reverand Tommy Swett. There isn't an Indian in our area.

there's scarecely anybody in our county who doesn't know him. He is very

influential, loved by everybody. Could you tell us just a little something

about him? His service.

S: Well, a few moments ago indicated that he'd been in the ministry for 51

years, uh, my father I guess to describe him bestly or most accurately would

be to say that he is a country preacher. He didn't have the opportunity

to receive a formal education at a divinity school. But the good Lord has

blessed with good, common sense and the ability to read and to understand

and to have an understanding of people and people's needs. And he's been

able to, I think, be very helpful in that capacity. Over those years, he's

spent approximately 20 years as a Methodist preacher and approximately 31

years as a Baptist preacher. I might say that my father started out when

it wasn't much of a financial reward to become a minister because it was a

service and the good Lord blessed him by being able to have a farm and he

was able to support a family of six kids and send them through schools with

the help of my mother. I might say, since I'm talking about the family that I

am the fifth child of a family of eight. However, at the present time there

are only six living, five boys and one girl. The oldest brother of the

family was James Swett, he was one of the first of our people to go to the

armed forces and become an officer in the U.S. Army Air Force at that time.

Uh, he was killed as a pilot of a plane back in 1943 if I remember correctly.

My oldest sister passed away when she was nine months.with pneumonia. So

that leaves six of us--five boys and one girl. Our family is somewhat dispersed


over the country. My oldestbrother that if living is Therman Swett.

He lives out in California close to the San Fransisco area. At present,

he is national sales manager for Linkirk Electronics, which is a national

organization and it's a part of the general telephone conglomerate. I have

enough Bardell who is ministry, full-time ministry at Terryville, Connecticut.

He's been there for a couple of years. And he finished his Bachelor of Divinity

degree years ago at Eastern Theological Seminary in Philiadelphia. Uh, then

my next brother, next to the younger brother and I is Tommy Dee Swett. He is

assistant to the president at Pembroke State University. Then my kid brother--

he is self-employed in Pembroke. The sister of the family, she is a school

teacher and she is teaching out in one of the school systems in St. Louis

Missouri. So that gives you a little background of the family which I am a

part of.

I: Right. That's great. You certainly have a very prominent family. Uh, I

wanted you. I wanted to ask you a while ago. this is sort of a footnote

but maybe we'd better spell a couple of those first names, might give somebody

a little trouble. I don't think they would give much trouble but uh, we want

to get everything done accurately and getting names spelled accurately is very

important--it's a minor detail but if you ever misspell somebody's name. It

really becomes important. Uh, now, let's see, the first we spelled. We didn't

have any trouble with your father. But the first brother you mentioned. Spell

those first names for us please.

S: The oldest brother that is living is Furman. His name is spelled capital


I: Right.

S: The second oldest brother that is living is Bardell--B-a-r-d-e-1-l. And

then my sister Dorothy, my next brother is Tommy Dee and the younger brother


is James Bruce. Uh, however, as I indicated earlier, you'll note there are

two James in the family. There's a James Franklin. He's the one that got

killed and James Bruce was born in 1945--two years after James Franklin was


I: You have a very interesting career in that you--you were able to work in

the Lumbee Indian community and not only in the Lumbee Indian community

but in the county and then branch out in the work you're in now which sort

of moves you from the local scale to the national scale and, uh, this is

certainly commendable because, uh, without qualifications you don't--you

just don't make progress like hat. And I certainly congratulate you on your

long service. You're a young man but you still have been in service for a

long time, not only to our people but to the entire community. And you cer-

tinly are to be congratulated. Uh, is there anything else you would like to

add? Now that I know that in addition to all of this, you're also a member of

Pembroke State University to the Board of Trustees. Is this correct?

S: That's correct.

I: Uh, would you. .

S: This is rather interesting about the Board of Trustees. Uh, I'm in a second

term--if you may call it that. I finished college, as I indicated earlier,

in 1957, which is in June. In July I was appointed by the governor to serve

on the Board of Trustees. So just a young kid so to speak right out of college

is. and becoming a Board of Trustees member is kind of rarity back then.

And then my term expired and I was off for a period of time then I was reap-

pointed again to serve the unexpired term of the late Reverand L. W. Jacobs,

my term expires in 1975. You're talking aboutthe first activities from an

educational standpoint. I think that, uh, the things that has enabled me:to


be where I can understand the problems any community faces, as well as

the problems of the human being in generally is that not only have I been

involved from the education standpoint but I think it's the other things

that I've been involved with in the community has given me a broad base to

work from, as you indicated, I have served on the. I am on the Board of

Trustees but when I was in college, I was also involved in various activities

on the college campus, particularly I was elected at the state Baptist student

convention to be third vice-president my junior year, which was I think very

significant in the fact that Pembroke at that time was a very small school

and the number of Baptist students we had there might have been large percen-

tage in enrollment but yet it was small in proportion to the other schools of

the state. From the professional standpoint, Ive had the opportunity to

serve in the various educational association--president of the local teacher

association, president of the local teacher association, president of the

local teacher association, served on, uh, some committees affiliated with the

state organization. But, uh, I've always for several years served a member

of the local draft board, of our area there-to some areas it's not a popular

to serve in and I found myself in a position there trying to be fair with our

own boys and give them the benefit of the law and try to help them there where

I could. Uh, additionally, I had a chance to serve on the general board of

the Baptist day convention for four years, which there again, enabled me to

indicate to people about Indian problems there not only from a religious stand

point but also education standpoint and establish contacts that I feel that

can some day might be helpful to s as people become more aware of our problems

and we try to seek solution to those problems. I think the broader base we

have of in the state, of people understanding the situation there, the better

off we are in terms to coming to some solution. So, this background, I think


uh, the educational standpoint, community involvement, and the church in-

volvement has given me a pretty good insight in some of the problems of the

Indian people as well as the human race in general.

I: Well, I'm sure that this is true. I seem to remember that when you were in

college--were you not some member of the student body, I mean'the student

government when you were in college? I know that you are one of the most

popular people on campus and you always seemed to have the knack of leadership.

And when the students had problems, they usually ended up at you or you with

them some where, working out problems.

S: You know it's rather interesting. of all the organizations, that was one

I never served on. I was never member of the student government and I think

one reason I wasn't because I was so involved in other things that, you know,

just didn't. .

I: Just didn't get around to it.

S: But I was involved in unofficial way with the problems there and the concerns

and working with them.

I: How about class president or class officer?

S: Yes, I was class vice-president for a couple of years. I might be interesting

to note that the president of our class, which is Mr. A. Alvin Bruce Jones,

he served our class president for four years. And I happened to be able to

serve with him a couple of years as vice-president. But as I aid I was

president of the Baptist Student Union, vice president of that and also pres-

ident of the one or two of the. I think it is the. I think it's the American

society and some other organizations I was involved in.

I: Uh, huh, and of course, Bruce was another individual who showed great promise

as a leader and has indeed proved himself in this connection. I believe Bruce


Jones could bring just about any two groups together.

I: He seems always to have been able to bring people together and make them

talk to each other and he was well-known on campus too. But I remember

you and Bruce, uh, as standing out from all the other students and working

in this way.

S: Well, it's rather interesting that class of '57--there was Bruce Jones, myself,

and Earl Hughes Oxindine. There was two or three other people that. that

was in the chss of that year. For some reason or another, uh, people have

been very successful that finished that year. Of course, this is no way of

saying that the other class hasn't been successful either, but, uh,. .

I: Sure, we know what you mean. Well, Earl Hughes Oxidine, of course, is

the brother of, uh, Tom Oxidine Junior who is head of the department of in-

formation of the Breau of Indian Affairs here in Washington, D.C. Right?

S: Right.

I: And he is also principal of Southoke. ?

S: Elementary School.

I: Southoke Elementary School. This is in the county adjoining us, isn't it,

Robertson County. Uh, tell us about some of the experiences .or anything you'd

like to tell--we'd like to encourage you to tell your story, uh, because if is

an interesting story. It's a very important story. it's a very important

part of the Lumbee tradition Lumbee history in general and you've made a

great contribution so we'd like to learn as much from you about those things

as possible, mainly because you're closer to them and this way we make less

error and so forth, you know.

S: I think that, uh, from where. .the position where I see it. I'm able to

have some contact with the Indian community at large, not only just the


Indian community in Pembroke but the Indian community of the United States.

As I indicated earlier, I am in the Division of Adult Education and we do

have, uh, summer projects with Indian community. I think that, uh, coming

from an area that has experienced some problems of. racial isolation,

some problems of economic deprivation, some problems of prejudices that exist

in this country. And also in my past experience--I have experience the

problem of going to the soda fountain and being denied to buy a cone of

iceacream or coke from the soda fountain in one of our leading towns in the

county there.Lumberton particularly. I've also experienced going to the

theatre there and being denied the opportunity to watch a movie downstairs

but go upstairs in reserve section for any people. I've experienced this.

And I understand some of the problems that the people are confronted with in

the Southwest, the Northwest and other parts of the country. Uh, and by having

experienced this; I think it gives you, the person, a better understanding

of the problem that a person is confronted with. I also remember that when

I came along that when people left our area down there. They left and it

wasn't proud to be able to say that you're an Indian person. Uh, we didn't

say too much about that and I came out at a time when it,. the growing

urgency or growing surge was that Indian was something. it meant something

to a person. And I've been proud where I've gone, here aid everywhere else

to say I'm an Indian person. I think the people by not having a photograph

of me, they can't tell exactly how I look. or what.

I: You're very handsome.

S: But, I says what I'm leading to is that I probably omld move in an area just

like you gentlemen could here and really ----------for other Indian, you see.

I: Right, that's right.

S: But everywhere I've gone I've let it be known I'm an Indian person and proud


of it. But, uh as I said having the background I have in terms of under-

standing the problems. Let me say this. and I want this to be roeorded

because to me, i means something. The two most important years of my

life, I think my professional life, was the two years I spent at -----------

school. And the reason I say that because, because I grew up in the

Pembroke area, which has problems of poverty, but when you move out of Pembroke

you can really see the effects of poverty and the lack of education. And here

I was able to work in a community to where I could really understand and really

appreciate what suffering meant. And here was a group of people who really

appreciated someone really working for them and helping them And to me, those

two years there was, you know I've been, as I said assistant superintendent

here in Washington. But those two years, when I go back and reflect on my

entire life. Those two years stand out just like a neon sign you know to me.

It really got me down with my ear close to the ground at really understanding

what it is to be suffering from the fct that you haven't been exposed to a

good educational background or you haven't had the opportunity from an economic

standpoint. And..

I: Even though. even though. .let me interject this. even though Pembroke is

deprived. this community is even more deprived, even more unfortunate.S:And

I would suspect today that you will find that community RexRenard has probably

had a faster growth weight, excuse me, growth rate, educationally and economically

than any community in that county.

I: Right, great changes are taking place. And, uh, their very progressive, I've

noticed and this has just happened, I know this is true because I have some

relatives who live over there and just within recent years, they have become

more politically minded, more civic minded, more educationally minded, their

poverty development program over there. They went out, you know, and established


a daycare center, on their own almost.

S: It is on their own.

I: It is a very progressive today.

S: What he's referring to here is that the community literally went out and

raised money through box suppers, sales, you name it and built a 20, excuse

me, a 40 by 60 building there at the cost of anywhere from $12,000 and when

that building was complete, it was paid for and the community did that.

Somebody come in with a handout, they themselves with their sweat and blood,

built that building, paid for it so they could have a daycare center, could

have a place for people to come and gather to talk about their community

problems, to have a place to meet. And there's another thing that building

did. You see, whenRexRenard was established up there, it brought about four

different communities together. It fragment from one side of the county to

the other and there was. these people have never had the chance to work to-

gether, so what it did, by working together on this project and holding, it

brought them together as a school community. as a community. not just a

Shannon community, a Lumberbridge community, a Parner community, and a Renard

community hit it brought them together as a big RexRenard community.

I: Right.

S: And by. because you had to outstanding people there. that, who was con-

cerned who took the leadership like Kerder Maynor and some of those others

and they were able to really. uh, and Boris Locklear and his wife, Mary

Louise--they were. the Milton Hall, .some of these people, they were

able to really bring give leadership and bring that community together.

I just happened to be there at that time as a part of it and I'm proud of it.

I: Well, I'm proud of you and I'm glad you were there. You probably have a lot


more to do with it than you're saying. This is one instance, don't you

think where consolidation really paid off, didn't it?

S: Yes, it uh, well, you know, as I said, uh, in the past from educational

stand point, the Indian students, uh, had to be either transported to

Magnolia School, which is 24 miles away or to Union Chapel School, which

is another distance away. Some, uh, stayed with grandparents and cousins

and maybe go to Pembroke, but basically they felt by not having their schools

there that really no one cared for them. When the county came in there and

built that school and then they started really supporting it, it really in-

dicated that somebody was interested in them by. myself, having an op-

portunity to work with them, it was a challenge and it was a rewarding challenge.

And they really accepted it and took the challenge and went with it.

I: Right. Mr. Swett in interviewing some of the people, uh, you know and getting

various points of view, one thing I've heard mentioned is the rapport be-

tween Pembroke State University and the Indian community wasn't all that

either side desired. Uh, do you see it this way and do would you mind

commenting. don't comment on anything you don't want to, but is there some-

thing constructive that we could do on both sides if this lack of rapport does

exist? How could we close the gap and make each a better part of this or

perhaps you know of some things that have already been done in this direction.

I'm sure some things have been done already. Would you care to comment on

this sir, at all?

S: Well, I'm sure there's some concern on both sides about the image that Pemboke

State University in the Pembroke and the greater Pembroke and county area down

there because historically the school was established as Indian school and is

looked upon as their school by the Lumbee Indian people. Uh, I think that

probably there's been some misrepresentation on both parts. I think the

university has been involved in some things there. that by them not pub-


lisizing it, the community really wasn't aware of it, uh, and being

criticized for it. I think maybe they've been some things that maybe

they should have done that, because of a school growing and trying to

administer the program, maybe some things have been left at the wayside.

But I think the administration is making an effort to really get the

community involved. ibr example, the program that was initiated there

about four summers ago that really, no-one was able to talk about because

it was kind of put together in a way that, uh, we didn't want much publicity.

That is, the neighborhood youth program came in there in conjunction with

the County Board of Education. As I said, not too many people aware that

the County Board of Education in there but I happen to be a pat of that,

where students ame on campus and we were able to work with them through a

program and where kids will work a part-day, go to school part'-time.

What this did--this enabled the students to really get a feel of what college

life is all about, and, uh, every instance we were able to upgrade the entry

college score by at least 100 points, in some cases 250 points. And here

were kids that probably wouldn't have gone to school, got turned on and

when they went lack to their high schools, then they were on fire and were

looking forward to coming to Pembroke State University. Uh, there are, uh,

other instances which the university is involved in with the agent program. .

that's. they initiated a few months ago. They've been involved with L.R.D.A.

recently in terms of letthg L.R.D.A. have some of their seminars on campus

there. As I said, uh, probably we have been justly criticized for some

points, but I feel now the administration is making a concerted effort to

bridge that gap, hot only in just the local community but also in the region

which a part of it.

I: Well, that's great, and of course, this is why what you said so important

because you've worked in all these areas. You've worked with the PS.U. ad-


ministration of which you're still a part, you've been a part of the

county system and you're working on a national scale. This makes you

very important to us to hear what you have to say and this gives you

a vantage point that we don't have. I would like to ask you about one

thing, uh, and I'm sure somefling's been done here too. Uh, how much

or how little I'm not sure Wt we know that there has always been a gap,

an educational gap between traditional Indian schools and traditional

white schools. And I'm sure all of us have been interested in the past

in eliminating this gap. In other words, in stepping up the educational

standards of our public schools in order that our students may be better

able, better qualified to enter college. Uh, could you tell us something

from your experience with the Robertson County Board of Education that has

hen done or something that should be done or could be done or any dream you

have those directions--just anything you'd like to say?

S: You're talking about a dream--my dream is I don't see a. more large, com-

prehensive high schools down there that my son is a part of up here in Fairfax

County because, uh, as long as you have small high schools, you can't provide

the curriculum to challenge the potential ability of each student and uh, if

you've got a good comprehensive program then I think Pembroke Senior High

School has come as close to probably having a comprehensive program as any

high school in the county there but the rest of it only come about in recent

years. Uh, and yet Pembroke is not large enough to provide the comprehensive

program that, uh, I still envision. Of course, I realize there's still a lot

of debate, you know, the pros and cons on that. But I think in Robertson

County as long as you nve, uh, one county system and five city districts

and the local financial support for education as it is. I .I will continue

to see problems and I will continue to see problems in any community. I think


consolidation is going to be the answer--you'll be able to eliminate the

duplication of a lot of service. I realize politically this is a hot issue

but I have taken a public stand when I was there in support of consolidation

and I still reinterate my position here. that a county with approximately

25,000 or thereabouts of students inthe student population canit afford

six separate administrative units. It's not fair to any student regardless

of his tace. and particularly it's not fair to Indian students.

I: I wanted to ask you a little something here in connection with your work

here. Uh, in your work here, in the Office of Education in Washington

primarily Indian oriented and if so, what are some of. some of these

programs. I'm sure a good many people would like to know something about

those if you don't mind telling us.

S: Well, my official responsibility is hot Indian oriented. I am responsible

forfhe operation and seehg that our office functions in monitor programs all

over the country, regardless of whether it's Indian or not Indian. However,

I do have a particular interest in the Indian community because since I have

been in that office, the offices awareness and sensitivity and effort toward

any program has increased, I would say, twofold. Uh, and of course, naturally,

it would be logical or assume that I would be directly responsible for the

six or seven Indian communities we have in the country. But as I said, I

do have a staff person that has that particular responsibility that works very

closely with me. Uh, I don't have the time just to devote to that. I have to

see that we have good monitoring and that we do have a good system in accounya-

bility for the entire $10 million that our program administers.

I: Right. And this has helped you, hasn't it, to understand some of the Indian

problems in other parts of the country, although this is not the primary duty

that you have.


S: Well, what it's done--it's really given me a deep appreciation of the

problem of the Indian community in general. You're talking about the projects

we have, we do have a project with the Lumbee people, the Lumbee Region

Development Corporation. And I might say here, officially that a professor

from Columbia University was down a few weeks ago to visit Mr. Harold Dees--

the project ---------------staff and he. I happened to read a letter of, uh,

tremendous accommodations as a part of that project, indicating that. a great

outstanding job that Harold Dees and his staff members doing. Besides that

project we are able to put together a project with the Mississippi Chowtaw

Indians in Philidelphia Mississippe whereby we bring together the Bureau of

Indian Affairs, uh, Office of Education, uh, the Department of Labor. And

we come in and provide a man-power type program, adult education basic program,

and GED type program and it's turned out to be very successful. We've gotten

another project that's very successful with the Crow Indian reservation in

Crowagency, Montana where we:are developing curriculum material in the native

Crow language and also developing where it's relevant to their needs in the

understanding of the morays of life. In other words, it's something that

they can relate to and we have a tremendous interest in that because the

Bureau of Indian Affairs now is interested in picking :up on that material.

as well as the State Department of Education. We have another project--we've

just concluded one project with the Navojo reservation. We've been there four

years--it's been very successful, where we worked with the Navojo adults in

his own language because he may be able to speak his language but he can't

read it. And then when he gets up to about the third--what we call third

grade functional level, we're able to transfer it into English. Uh, we were

able to set up an adult education system of the Minnesota Department of Education

and they picked it up now. It was able to quarter of a million dollar project.


We have another project with the five Civilite tribes in Oklahoma. We

will be starting in July a project with the Pa pago reservation where the

Department of Labor and the Department of Interior plus our office will

cme in and train the Papago and also provide basic education in how to

operate machinery and be able to get into copper mining. You see on

Papaog reservation there's several big copper mines and they've leased

now with the understanding that, uh, the Indian people. they'll be given

top priority for employment--but at the present time they're not able to

meet the employment criteria so we're coming in to educate them--train them

where they can move right into a job and go from a average income per family

of less than $400 to maybe a $7,000 yearly income, which is a tremendous

help there. And then, of course the other things that w've been involved

in but my latest effort, as I said earlier, that I am been put on detail

to help administer this here new -------------Indian Education which was

passed by Congress last year and to supervise the ministering of $5 1/2

million by June 30.

I: That's great. I can tell that you aren't letting any grass grow under your

feet. There's one other question I would like to ask you if you would care to

comment on it at all. And this is in relation to a pet, uh, well, a pet

dream of mine. And I believe you'll be with me on this, uh, if you care to

comment on theneed of some memorial to Mr. Hamilton Moore, the father of

P.S.U. and the father of Lumbee Indian education. Do you agree to that

assessment? And is there something we should do toward memorializing him at

P.S.U. or maybe also in the county somewhere?

S: You know it's very interesting in coming along in elementary school. I was

never really made aware of the importantance of Mr. McMillanuntil I got to


reading some of your articles in your writing in your book, Mr. Barton, and

then that's when I realize that this man here from Red Springs, uh, the Manila

family really had a broad heart and understanding and I guess say a need that

here was a group of people that needed someone to give leadership to and he

Aepped forward. I agree with you that I tink that this will be an opportunity

to, uh, Pembroke State would been opportunity, probably in place to show such,

cause Pembroke State, as I have used this expression before, is the institution

that gave the Lumbees the chance to grab the boot straps and pull themselves

out of the morrey mud. And, uh, well, I made that statement once before ---

it once-----------------------a few years ago and I still refer to it occasionally.

I think that, uh, if we can get funds at Pembroke State University to pick up

on the .. in the museum and dings of that nature that Dr. Jones has talked

about. I think that would be an appropriate place to have some-------------

you know, every what the appropriate recognition should be would certainly

let it be right there with it along with the efforts of B.F. Lowry and you

know, the Moore family who was part of the Pembroke State University and

the Locklear family as well as others who have really helped pioneer the

Indian people and give them direction and enable us to be where we are today.

You know, without Pembroke State University, there are many people today that

would have still been either on the farm or somewhere else that. but it gave

them an opportunity to get educated and show to the world they could compete

with anybody, anywhere on any grounds, any term, you name it--they could com-


I: Unfortunately, Mr. McMillian is not as well known as perhaps, that he should

be. I take responsibility for that like other people who write in the area, be-

cause some of these thing--of course, he didn't live in our day. Uh, but he

began working with the Lumbee Indians in 1864 and it took him until 1885 to

get lEgislation passed establishing school for our people and then in 1887,


just two years later, he was able to establish a law or to have a law passed

which e refer to as being the legal basis for the establishment for the basis

of Pembroke State University. And this is what I mean when I call him the

father of both these and, uh, if you have plans for an Indian museum, this

would certainly be most appropriate, ad anything you can do along those

lines I'm sure would be appreciated by many Indian people as well, maybe

m ore Indian people than anybody else because here is a man who became a

friend of the Indians at a time when it was extremely unpopular to be a

friend to the Indians and, well, I'm sure everybody would appreciate any-

thing, though, along these lines.

S1 Yes, and I think the McMillan family today would be willing. And I don't

speak this from any contact with anyone. But I think the McMillan today would

also be willing to have an opportunity or be delighted to have an opprotunity

to have a part of that recognition.. Let me say, Mr. Barton, I appreciate

this opportunity you've given me to share with you some of my background

and some of my concerns and good luck with your effort in this project.

I: Thank you so very much. Uh, I don't know hnDwyour time's running or how

our tapesrunning. But you did remind me that you had an engagement.

S: That's right. I've got to. .

I: And we want you to know how much we appreciate this opportunity of talking

with you and sharing these things with you and on behalf of the University

of Florida's History Department and the Doris Duke American Indian Oral History

Program. I want to think you so very much for your time. You've been very

kind to take out from your busy schedule and talk with us. And, I want to

wibh you Godspeed in what you're doing because you're'one person I believe

in. I've always believed in you and I certainly wish you Godspeed.

S: Thank you.

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