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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON
INTERVIEWEE: PURNELL SWETT
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?
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.
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
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
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?
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
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.
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.