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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Barton interview w/
April 18, 1973 SLW--tvpist
B: This is April 18. 1973. I am Lew Barton recording for the Doris Duke
American Indian Oral History Program. Today I am in the office of Mr-
Dewey Locklear, is that right? Of LRDA. Mr- Locklear, what do those initials
L: Well. LRDA is the call letters for Tumbee Regional Development Association-
And 0 .my name is Dewev Locklear, my iob title here is Operations
Officer, and or really Deputy Director of the agency.
L: I've been with the agency two years approximately. I worked for a year as
director of the talent search component of LRDA, which is a program funded
by the Office of Education.
L: And we werk with the high school students in eelthtig aid for them to at-
tend college and to further their education. After my first year in the
agency in that capacity I was moved to this job which is .-. I mentioned
Operations Officer. I've been working here approximately a vear.
B: Well, Mr. Locklear, we know that LRDA is recognized among our people, the
Indians- of this area, especially as one of the most vital organizations
going and we got acquainted with your program; uh, with vour organization
through its work in sponsoring Lumbee Homecoming Day.
B: And these were whopping successes, and uh, I understand that LRDA works
through all the other organizations and sort of coordinates all Indian
organizations or all organizations in this area. Is that right?
L: Well, LRDA has alot of well, four or five different programs that we are
operating. And being involved in these we are .-. we touch alot of people.
We have affiliation with alot of people in the different various communities
and their activities.
B: And you're funded through the Office of Economic Opportunity?
L: We have been ..-our ... we have an economic development grant, and this is
... where our administrative monies have been coming from.
L: Uh, from the Office of Economic Opportunity. We do have, however, other
program sources of monies. This would be the Department of Labor forour
NYC program, and uh, the Department of Health, Education and WElfare for
our educational programs. This being the talent search component which I
mentioned and the Adult Basic Education program.
L: Now Lumbee Regional Development Association of which we are speaking is a
private, non-profit organization and the agency was chartered by the state
of North Carolina in 1968 and we have as our goal to develop the ability to
analyze and to develop solutions for the health and educational economic
and general welfare problems in the area among the Lumbee Indians- We feel
that the Indians have long since practiced the policy of self-determination.
However, in the midst of plenty, and in a time of progress. many of our
people have not been touched by this.
L: We feel that LRDA can serve as a vehicle that these people might learn what
programs are available and what services are available that they can participate
and maybe find a solution to their problem. We- we like to think that this
is our goal; as the overall eoal of the agency.
B: Yes, sir.
B: About how old is T.RDA?
L: Well, the apencv itself was chartered in 1968, but we, we really didn't get
into the -.. any funds until 1970- And that was a small grant from the
Ford Foundation. And uh, well, maybe that was in Z '68 we pot the grant
from the Fond Foundation, but 1970 and '71 is when we really began to pet
some monies from the Deaprtment of HEW, and Department of Labor and Of-
fice of Economic Opportunity. So that we've really grown from 1971 to our
present size and status.
B: I see. Well, let's talk a bit farther about you. This is all interesting and
I hate to cut in at this point but I would like to know a little bit more
about you, your family, uh, are you married?
L: Uh, Mr. Barton, yes, I am. I've been married five years. I grew up in the
county here about twenty miles from the site that we're located at now,
working here. I went to 1i high school at Fairgrove High School and grammar
school also. Fairgrove High School near Fairmont, North Carolina; it's about
three miles from Fairmont. Upon graduation I attended Pembroke State
University here in Pembroke and I graduated from Pembroke State University
in 1970 with a B.S. in mathematics.
B: Uh. huh- Who were your parents?
L: My parents are Vinny Locklear and Dolly Locklear of Fairmont, near Fairmont.
B: Are thev still living?
L: Mv father is deceased but my mother is still living.
B* I see. Who did you marry?
L: My wife is Mary Elizabeth Strickland before she changed her name and she is
from Roland. North Carolina which is about eight miles from my home.
B: That's interesting. Did you think when you were coming along in high school,
college, I mean, I know you appreciate the opportunity of working with your
own people. I happen to know this personally and in your own area, but
did you think you would have this opportunity when you were coming along?
L: I didn't have nay idea of this particular role at that time in I'd
say in high school and through college and going into college I had the
idea of becoming a teacher, but in my junior year I changed my mind and
decided that I would go into industry and work. And I tried that for a
few months in the industry, and the opportunity came with LRDA to work
with one of the programs here, and I thought that too challenging and, to
turn down. So here I am.
B: Great, I'm glad ... I'm glad for LRDA and for all of us that you're here.
I didn't ask you about how many children you have.
L: I've got one little boy, age three.
BI He's great, he's right here now. Uh, what's his name?
L: His name is Brian, and he's three years old. Quite a character.
B: Great little fella. he's been talking with me.
L: We have a Senior Citizens program going and his baby-sitter is a member of
the Senior Citizens Club and today I'm keeping him with me since they are
in a meeting. I have him here at the office with me.
B: That's good. He'll be learning the ropes at an early age, won't he?
Do you see any difficulties in being funded under the present administration?
This may sound like a loaded question. but it isn't meant to be. I'm
just wondering if any funds have been endangered by this, the President's ...
L: Well, Mr. Barton. as you probably know, the Office of Economic Opportunity
is in the phase or in the process of being dismantled. So as I mentioned
we do have a __ grant.
L: However, we do have grants from other funding sources as I mentioned, the
Department of Labor and Department of Health. Education and WElfare. and we
feel that we will be able to continue in thise areas.
B; You will be able to survive?
L: Right. We're very hopeful that we will be able to continue.
B: Well, I certainly hope so, too because this organization's been a great
blessing to this community and to its people. About how many programs do
you have going?
L: Well, we operate ... five different programs, from different funding sources.
We have the, as I mentioned the Economic Development Program, and maybe I could
go into these a little bit. Each one of them as I name them.
B: That would be fine.
L: And tell you just a little bit about them. The Economic Development Program
which I mentioned earlier is funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity.
In this program we've been addressing ourselves to the problems facing rural
communities, which ... in, you know, the situation in our county, is very
rural. And we've been trying to seek solutions to the problems facing
these rural communities and in developing the economy of the poor Indian
poeple. Many of them have been farmers and the farm situation is such that
farms are being consolidated and larger farms are evolving and many of the
people are being left out. We work in the areas of business development;_
we try to advise and conduct seminars to, for better management practices
for people who are in the small businesses; we try to assist them .in securigg
loans to expand their businesses; another component of the Economic De-
velopment is that we provide referrals to existing job situations and iob
sites for people who are interested-in seeking employment maybe in the
factory level or the business or whatever. We try to find positions avail-
able and refer them to these. We also try to refer people to ... the
needy to existing agencies in the county so that they can have their needs
met. Those are briefly some of the things we're doing in the Economic
Development program. We have another program which I mentioned earlier
the Adult Basic Education Program, which we're quite proud of the accom-
plishments of this program. We feel that it touches many of our people,
and this program is again funded from the Office of Education, and we
conduct six classes, in dif--, six different centers where we have classes
twice per week,and the Adult Basic Education project has as its participants
people from the ages of I think seventeen throu seventy-six. These people
who decide that they need to further their education, and they decide that
this is a good method of doing it. By attending night classes.
B: This is a broad range, isn't it?
L: It's very broad range. We don't have ... we don't specifically go to
the three R's: we have civics included, uh, consumer education included in
our classes, along with the mechanics of reading, writing and simple
arithmetic. We ...
B: Have you any idea about how prevelant, well, I don't like to say illiteracy,
but I guess that's about the only word available, people who are not able to
read and write, who were never ...
L: Well, Mr. Barton, the recent ... a recent survey that I read and right now
I don't remember the source, but it had given the figure as 25% of our
people are functionally illiterate.
B: Um, huh, that's tragic, isn't it?
L: That's very tragic situation and we feel that if, there should be programs
to deal with this situation. We hope that our ABE program is attempting
to delve into this somewhat. If I might just get off on just one tangent
1 for a minute ...
L: We have a I have a note here in front of me, or a series of notes that
are from talking to another staff member who has just visited a couple
of the ABE centers this week. And he states here that it is quite a thrill
for him to see people concerned about whether they can make a pretty
"s" or pretty "t". People it's quite astonishing that many of our people
have never had the opportunity to even go to the first grade and pick
up the mechanics of the first grade and he really goes into the thing
here of ... of how emotional he becomes by watching these people as
they strive to write their name or to, for the first time, you see.
B: Uh, huh.
L: And .... he has some good comments/and I wanted to mention that that we
have a note here that there was one person in the class who went from zero
to sixth grade level in six months. That's as far as reading is concerned.
B: That's great.
L: And uh, this person had never been able to read her Bible before. Being
very religious she considers this a beautiful thing now that she can read
B: It certainly is.
L: But the, the situation with the Adult Basic Education is such that we have
the teaching on an individual basis. We just don't lecture; we teach
the people on an individual basis and let each one progress at his own
speed and he studies the things that he's interested in. We're quite
proud of the program; we feel like it's being very effective; we're
working with approximately two hundred students in/six centers.
B: How many people do you have in your entire staff here?
L: There's ... full and part-time, there's fifty people in all the pro-
grams. Going on from the Adult Basic Education program we have the
Neighborhood Youth Corps program where we have the director and two
counselors plus some NYC workers who help out in the office. But we have
an in-school program and an out-of-school program. And again I mention
that tiis-iscfunded from the Department of Labor and we give, we try to
give meaningful work experience to many of the people, young people who
have either dropped out of school or who need some kind of assistance
to continue school. And uh, the Lumbee Outreach Talent Search Project
as I mentioned earlier has a ... its objective is to identify young
people at the secondary level who aspire to go to/post-secondary insti-
tution either a trade school or at the college level. We seek to locate
financial resources and to provide guidance to them in their endeavors.
The other program would be we have a VISTA component which we're quite
proud of also. We have, I think, I'm not sure now, but I believe it's
the only all-Indian locally recruited VISTA volunteer project in the
country. And I'm, I'm not definitely positive on that but I believe so.
Anyhow here in the east. So that ... these people have volunteered to
work in their own communities to try to help alleviate some of the
situations that exist there. At present-we're, working with the senior
citizens. WE have among the Indian people approximately twelve to
fourteen hundred people who are senior citizens. And we haven't invol-
ved them in any kinds of programs as of yet so that we feel that the
VISTA component is a good way for us to do this. And we have developed
at this time eight local senior citizens clubs in the different tar-
get communities, and these people are very enthusiastic and very active
and interested in becoming a part of helping in their community. So
those would be the programs right now that we have in existence./ I hope
that's given you just a little bit of more insight to, into the ...
B: Well, it certainly has, and it sounds like a great lineup to me. I talked
to some of those people who are taking adult education classes by the
way and made a report ot the paper for the paper and they were very enthu-
siastic, and they said that they could help; they were ...
L: I guess it's a new world, you know
B: Right. A new world had opened up for some of them.
L: I really ... I talked to several of them and there was one man in
particular that comes to mind this time and he mentioned to me that
he had driven to Lumberton from Fayetteville which is a distance of forty
miles and he was looking for a particular building. And so he thought,
"weli, I'll stop at a service station and ask somebody where this building's
at." Then he thought to himself, "Well, I can read now, I won't have to
do that; I'll just look at the sign on the building."
L: So that I, I imagine that must be a tremendous feeling for a person who
has not been able to read or who has not been able to write his name
to acquire that knowledge. I think that must be a wonderful feeling.
B: And the building you now occupy, that you are occupying is the
building which was once the Carolina Inn?
L: Right. This was once the/Carolina Inn Hotel/in Pembroke, and we have
offices downstairs and upstairs.
B: Uh, huh. You have plenty of space?
L: Well, we're .... we occupy just about all of the rooms, but, you know,
we always could use more conference space or meeting space or whatever, but
we do very well.
B: That's good. I know building space is very scarce now.
L: Very scarce and very expensive, too.
B: Right. You're certainly fortunate there. Do you have ... do you envision
any new programs or any expansion?
L: Well, uh, we hope to expand the VISTA project right now, Mr. Barton, and
we are not right now ... in the coming months I think August is the month
we're talking about. We hope to increase taht maybe by seven to ten more
VISTA volunteers. We've found this is an, a very effective way of reaching
our people because these people being locally recruited they know about
their communities and they have, they know about some of the prob-
lems existing, and we have several proposals in mind and I think that
we have developed one at the present time to work with the local educational
agency, the Robeson County Board of Education, in co-sponsoring a
project to tutor the children at home who need to improve their proficiency.
And we would like to get involved in that aspect of it.
B: I would like to ask you a question which if you don't won't to answer it
I would feel certain to understand. But we have had some unrest among the
Indians recently and the American Indian movement people coming in; the
movement growing in the county itself. Uh, you haven't had any discontent
with them, LRDA hasn't I mean, overt ... as yet, has it?
L: Uh, Mr. Barton, nowe haven't. We've ... in all of our programs we seek
to work with all the groups ; all the Indian groups; the East Carolina
Indian organization; the Tuscaroora Indians; the Lumbee Indians; we seek to
work with all of them; we hope to involve all of them in our programs; we try
to 'touch, all of the&community, uh, communities where people live and we've
been very fortunate in being able to f/ many of these people.
B: That's great.
L: And we feel very good about that. We're very enthusiastic about the future.
B: I noticed when I was over here doing an interview for the newspaper I
was taken over to the, what do you call it, where you view the stars in
h: The planetarium.
B: Planetarium. My memory's on vacation. Uh, some of the people were over
there and just to be$n that program and to see some of those, some of
the programs that they have to offer over there, uh, must have been a thrilling
experience for some of the poeple who were there.
L: I!m sure it was. We ...
B: It was for me even with my limited vision; a plantiarium certainly makes
alot of things clearer?-
L: Um, huh. Well, I think that in the Adult Basic Education program that
the director has sponsored tours over to the planetarium and to other local
points of interest for the students in the class.. We're ... we attempt to
keep them as busy as possible; as interested as possible itdoing the things
that they want to do. Right now I'm very happy about that.
B: That's good. You haven't met any opposition from established, so-called
L: Well, I guess that any new and innovative program would probably conflict
with some of their ideas, but I think that A6 in working with Robeson
Technical Institute we've been very fortunate. Mr. Craig Allen has been
most cooperative in working with us, and Mr. Gene Mercer, who is director
of the educational, adult educational part of it, excuse me, has been very
... we've worked very well with them, and uh, and uh, it's really I think
indicative of the spirit in adult education throughout the county that we've
been able to involve them in quite a number of ideas that we've had.
L: And we don't know how long it's gonna take for them to change, but they look
with favor on our program, I think.
B: That's great because with their cooperation you should have noA difficulties.
L: We've worked very well with them I'm glad to say.
B: That's good.
L: And Robeson Tech, you know, is the institution in the county that sponsors
adult education through out ... in the local high schools and whatever ...
I'm not sure how many centers they have operating, but we've had some of
the people there on our educational advisory board giving us adce on
the people there on our educational advisory board giving us adyvce on
maybe techniques they use and better methods, whatever, and I, I feel
very good about that.
B: That's great. Have you found that our drop-out, the drop-out rate among
our students are high?
L: Mr. Barton, again, ...
B: Or is high. I'm mixing up my plurals and singulars there.
L: Again, I don't have the most recent figures, but the last survey that I looked
at had the Indian drop-out rate from first through twelfth grade at 65%
which is a tragic thing.
B: It certainly is.
L: And this has been one of our major problems. It affects our county, I
think, economically as well as educationally. We, you know, our people drop
out and they take immediate employment from high school or whatever, and
we feel it's a very ..tragic situation. And we're hoping that this is
improving. I haven't ... as I say, saw the most recent figures, I think
these figures are about three years old.
B: Uhm, huh.
L: But at that time it was about 65%.
B: There was a time when our people preached what they called "the gospel
of education" and this was widely done. Do you think we might be getting
away from that or ...?
L: Well, I think the trend in education nationally now as well as in the state
and country here is for more specialized training;to learn a particular
skill, a trade. We have alot of people across the nation who have college
degrees or whatever who are unemployed; but very seldom do you find a
person with a particular skill who is unemployed. There's always a need
for that. And on a national level I think that this might be the trend.
Things are ... from the information that I have and I think that getting
away from the point of sending all of our children that do go to post-
secondary school to a four- year college is a good iea. I would like
to think that we would continue to send those who wanted to go there, but
we ouwln't force those who wanted to take up a trade to go to a four-
year college; that we would provide an opportunity for him to attend a
technical school ard to learn a specific skill.
B: In other words this sort of helps to keep square pegs out of round
L: Right, I think so. I think so.
B: If there're no ... if they have no alternative but to go to one ... to
study in one particular field ...
L: It's easy to drop out then, you see.
L: I think this has been a problem here for even ... at the high school level.
That just in the past few years we've started opening up more of the
trade side of education in our high schools which I think is a thing that's
very much needed, which is a personal opinion of course, but I think that
we've had carpentry introduced, some of the ag. skills .. have been
you know, expanded, we're introducing more I think the business de-
partments in our high schools are beginning to be more inclined to producing
students who will be interested in the business field. Of goin' on to
two-year college in business. I think this is very good.
B: I certainly hope that it continues to, to serve its purpose.
Could you tell us some of the names of the people who are, you kw, on
L: OK. We have, of course, the executive director who is ... is Mr. Tom Blanks,
and again my name is Dewey Locklear and the planning co-ordinator, who
helps us in writing our proposals and planning various things that we
should be involved in, is Miss Ruth Bettis; the director of the Economic
Development program here is Pearl Baxley Locklear ...
B: Uh, huh.
L: And the director of the NYC program, Neighborhood Youth Corps, is Mr, Ken
Maynor; the director of the Educational Talent Search program would be
James Monroe Chavis; the director of the ... well, our business manager
is Miss Annie Chavis, Mrs. Annie Chavis, and a quite capable person, we're
lucky to have her, I think, and let me see, I left out a program I think.
The Adult Basic Education director is Mr. Herl Deeds. So ... and the VISTA
supervisor is myself. I supervise the VISTA volunteers. So that if you
feel that I've been quite prejudiced toward the VISTA volunteers, that's the
B: Well, I was privileged to interview two of the workers several months ago
and it was very encouraging.
L: They're one of the most enthusiastic groups of people that I've seen lately,
Mr. Barton; there's seven of them and they'revery enthusiastic bunch of
girls and they're doing I think a good job---a very good job.
B: Do you have a .. do you have somebody to direct the program,. : this
program from,-say from the outside. I don't like to say from the outside 'cause
that sounds a little prejudiced.
L: No, we have what we ...
B: It's entirely composed of local people.
L: Right, so that we have as I mentioned the sevel locally recruited volunteers,
and of course I'm their supervisor as I mentioned. The next person of
course outside the agency who would have any contact would be the field
representative from ACTION, the VISTA office, and his office the area
office is in Charldttle. So he is the program director for the state of
South Carolina ,: and North Carolina. But the people are supervised from
the agency ; there's no outside supervision.
B: Well, it sounds like you have a very able staff. 'Cause I know many of
these people personally.
L: Um, huh.
B: I certainly have respect for for you and Mr.. ,Blanks. I
certainly congratulate you on the progress that you've made 'cause I can
remember just a few years ago and LRDA had just a little corner in the ...
B: ... City HAll.
L: It's grown tremendously since that time. Mr. Barton, I think that we hope,
my hope is that our effect has been has grown in proportion to the size of
our programs and, and I'd like to think even more so.We have so many more
people working now from;the, from the one person Mrs. Vera Lowrery to now
almost fifty employees. So that if we are doing fifty times as much work
as she was I think we'll be getting on down the road.
B: By the way is she still around or is she working ...?
L: She's, she's ... Miss Vera comes in occasionally in an advisory capacity
to help us.
B: Uh, huh.
L: She's not actively employed anymore and, but she's still involved with us and
quite a great resource person.
B: Yes. Well, she's certainly a great organizer ...
L: Yes, she is.
B: Great, great worker among her people I think. And I think that people are
going to become more and more aware of LRDA and what it what LRDA is doing.
L: Well, I think that the one thing that we, we're beginning to embark on now is
we really want to get out; I think we've been doing some great things, but
just all of the people haven't heard about 'em, or don't know about 'em.
And we want to make sure that every person knows exactly what we're doing and
we're trying to do this through publications, newsletters, community meetings,
which we're ddi/ conducting. Uh, just any news media, the Carolina Indian
Voice, which is a great asset to our community. Uh, we've had articles in
The Robesonian, on the radio, TV; we had a spec-ial on on the second Sunday
in April--I don't remember the, the exact date, but we had a thirty minute
special on channel 13--at WBTW in Florence, South Carolina. Uh, we have a
five minute daily radio program which we're ... we try to disseminate in-
formation --- the things we're doing, programs available, services available,
and we just hope that we can get the word out to more people about what we're
B: Right. Your, your organization is unique, or almost so. There are ... I
don't know another organization exactly like LRDA.
L: Well, I think that we are similar to one more in the country; I believe it's
located in Minnesota, I believe, I'm not sure. I think Minneapolis, there's
a ... we're an LPA, which is Limited Purpose Agency; we're different from
a CAA or Community Action Agency and to some degree we work with a limited
purpose. That is, we work primarily with the Indian people and our limited
target area is in the county of Robeson County. So that we are called an
B: Do people who tend to misunderstand, 'scuse me, I'm phrasing that quite badly,
excuse me ; ... are there people who tend to misinterpret the program or mis-
L: Well, I, I think that many times the problem that I find, Mr. Barton, is "
that uh, people normally who are referred to us don't know exactly the scope
of the services we have to offer. And many of the things that I've mentioned
to '; you that they really don't -understand what they're all about. Could
you hold it just a minute?
L: Mr. Locklear, we know that with any organization of this size or even smaller,
there are inevitable problems, growing pains and what have ; you--- could you
tell us something about some of the problems that you've have encountered
here at LRDA?
L: Well, Mr. Barton, the ... our problems have been to say the least, numerous.
And I think that we've had problems as you mentioned in our growing pains,
in getting ourselves established, getting our contacts made in the county, get-
ting an amount of credibility--these kind of general problems. But more
specifically I think that well, if we were to pick out, say, one program, in
which I was ... worked with for a while, as I mentioned, the, the Lumbee
Outreach Talent Search Program--we found that, we found that there was a
tremendous amount of interest among the people in the community as far as
post-secondary education and we realized the need for specific training, but
that the, the parents had no knowledge of a guidance system or the recommenda-
tions to their children.
B: Um, huh.
L: And the counselors in the program often times would call into the homes to
really discuss with the parents the possibilities available to the children
and many times the people would ask the counselors what to do or what sug-
gestions they had. Which is kind of ... it's not really a great position to
be in because you don't want to influence anybody the wrong way. So we've,
we've had some problems in that respect. I think that the counselors in our
high schools now are becoming more aware of, of the situation that has existed;
they are becoming more in line with the counselling techniques used by other
high schools. At one time we didn't have J counselors in our high, in our
high schools. This was a very few years ago.
L: As a matter of fact in the middle 60's and late 60's we still had schools
that didn't have counsellors. And the young people didn't know exactly.who
to turn to for adivce or counselling; most often it was one of their favorite
teachers or wahtever. This was a problem I felt that ... in the beginning of
the Talent Search Program, that we, we began to involve the parents more in
our operation. We, we try to discuss their possibilities for the aprents, we
try to visit the homes, let them know what we're doing. We, we're involved
in the, in-the -homes quite a bit in that program.
B: Do you have someone who contacts the different prospects in the community?
Say people who might be interested in, in taking adult education, but they
might not even know about the existence of the program. 'Cause it's a large
county and coverage ... the tragedy of being illiterate is that many things
go on that you don't know about.
L: Right, that's very true, and I think that most of the people who- are in our
adult basic education centers were referred to us by word of mouth or either
recruited by the people we call our "recruiter-coaches," who work full-
time in the program. The referrals we feel that, we feel that i mouth-to-
mouth, uh, word-of-mouth referrals are one good way of doing it, and we, we,
as I mentioned earlier, we talk about our program on, on our radio program, and
in our community meetings, and we hope that the people can understand what we're
trying to do through this media.
B: This is certainly one way of reaching illiterate :'people is through radio and
television because if they can't read you wouldn't be able to reach them
through the newspapers.
B: Do you find that the / stations, I know we don't have a television station
in this county, I believe we have about, six radio stations, five or six, I
think it's six. Do you find the stations to be very cooperative?
L: Well, the WAGR, especially has been cooperative, and all of the other stations
that we've had announcements on, have put our announcements on quite well. But
WAGR in Lumberton has been most cooperative in that they've given us a five-
minute public service times each day in which we can make comments about
our programs or whatever.
B: That's great.
....................END SIDE 1.
B: ... about the problem of reaching people whctere illiterate when they were
not able to get news of LRDA through newspapers and media of this sort. And
you were saying something about WAGR and the way they cooperated with you, I
L: Right, Mr. Barton. We've had very good cooperation from radio station WAGR in
Lumberton. We have as I mentioned the five-minute program I at 11:30
each morning and this way we feel that we can pass along news items, and in-
formation to the Indian people of programs that we have operating here,
special events coming up, that we can be a part of and help sponsor and we've
just been, we're very ,, grateful to them for this time each day.
B: Right. Is LRDA sponsoring the Lumbee homecoming at this time or was this
program given over to the Jaycees?
L: Right. Well, the '/' year the local Jaycees chapters in the county, the
Indian chapters, have sponsored tLumbee-'homecoming festivities and conducted
them. This year I think that LRDA is again going to have some part in the
homecoming activies. At this point I'm not exactly sure which part we'll
be working with and which part the Jaycees will work with. But I think that
we will be working and more or less the co-sponsors for the July 4th home-
B: This has become& an annual event?
L: Right. July 4th weekend is I think the set date for each year.
B: Right. LRDA seems to me has been very successful in coordinating many of the
organizations. We don't have one overall organization among the Indian
people of this area. I refer it as the Lumbee River Valley. Since it is
actually a valley. But LRDA seems to me has been very successful in coordinating
other organizations and getting them together. Do you have a special tech-
nique? Because I know this is not too easy. Because for example just to
pull one out of the air the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association has a member of
some forty-odd churches. When you bring people like this together this is
quite an accomplishment.
L: Right. I think that that can be attributed really, Mr. Barton, to the people
that we have working here---Outreach workers and many of them are from the
various communities. Many of them are affiliated with these churches that you
mentioned and many more. It's seems that whatever they need to do in their
community they can always find a resource person to help thenaccomplish their
end. We've been very successful, I think, with the churches that we have
approached. I, I won't say always successful, but in most cases we have
been successful and ,' with the ministers, the rclhu- people, and in use of the
church facilities. At present the Senior Citizens Club meetings most all of
them take place at church fellowship halls and uh, we feel that this is
indicative of the spirit of the people.In this day and time I think it's evi-
dent of a new day of self-determination for Indian people,of people determined
to decide their own destiny and the church I feel is beginning to be involved
in this and I'm very happy to see that. The, another resource that we have
tied into quite heavily is the local Pembroke State University. And we've
had numerous seminars that we've conducted at the university. They've al-
ways extended us a cordial invitation to use their facilities. The university
I understand now has a Human Resource Center, which is involving the com-
munity on the ... on campus.. I think each Saturday they have/three or four
hundred kids there using the gym facilities. The Human Resource Center is
also interested in programs for the aged, senior citizens programs, these
kinds of things. We feel very good about this and we hope that we have been
in some way been instrumental in motivating our resources in the county to
become active in change.
in a short time
B: That's great. Uh, it seems the university has come a long way/in that direc-
tion. Is this a fair statement, do you think? I mean they are taking more
interest i than they did in the past. their growing stage.
L: Right. The university has, as you mentioned, has grown very rapidly. And in
the past year I, we've been quite fortunate to be involved with the university
and I've seen quite a tremendous amount of change involving the community. I,
I think of this as a great indication of the, the spirit of the administration
of the university now. I think Dr. Jones is very interested in working
with us. He has indicated as much in the past and I've met with Dr. Jones
on occasion and he seems to be very interested in our programs and their con-
B: That's I'm glad to hear that 'cause there
have been complaints in the past. 'Course you always have some complaints.
L: Right, right.
B: ... how valid they are, I'm not the one to say.
L: I Right. I think that the university we value is one of our most important
resources. We've also worked with the Robeson County Church and Community
Center in meeting j family needs, whether a family needs food or clothing
after some tragedy or uh, some incident has occurred that they don't have a
place to live or appliances or whatever, we work in referring people to them
We've been quite ... I think that Reverend Mangram who is director of the
program there has been a ... he's been a great resource to us. We ... we've
had as I mentioned earlier alot of growing pains in this agency and alot of
contacts to make and alot of resources to motivate and he has given us
quite a bit of input and he's been on our advisory, educational advisory
committee in the past. We feel very good about that. Uh, the ... we... we've
experienced some problems with the busiiness people in the aea and I wanted
to tie this in to the university while we're on that point. The people
in business, small business have had a lack of knowledge of bookkeeping
procedures and things of this nature. And we've been very fortunate to be
able to sponsor seminars on better bookkeeping, advertising, marketing, through
the university. And uh, the, the university staff in the Business Depart-
ment t has been quite helpful in helping our Business Management specialists
develop seminars for these people. We've been lucky in that respect and also
that we've had East Carolina University the : Regional Development Commission
there involved with us, helping us to develop plans for this area. So
we've ... in view of alot of problems we've been able to locate alot of resources
and it's always a ... we feel it's not an immediate process in identifying
all the resources. It takes time and we feel that we' ve been able to do
quite abit in the amount of time that we've been in existence.
B: Um, huh. Well, I'm glad that somebody's doing something about the lack of
rapport that existed at one time between the university and the community. Be-
cause I've heard complaints that ... complaints that this was indeed a fact.
I'm, I'm very happy that something is being done about this. I think it's
L:? We feel again Mr. Barton that the university can be one of the most ... can be
one of the most -viable-resources that, in the community.
B;. Right. No doubt of that.
L: And we feel that we'd like to involve them in as many of our activities as
possible. That we can rely on them for resource materials and technical
assistance. And uh, the university I think is at the present time very in-
volved and very interested in our program. And we're quite grateful for that
fact. We need alot of help and ...
B: You know the transition from a college to a university is a big jump. Also
becoming slowly integrated is another big jump. And these are all changing
things; there are problems involved.
L: The university has grown at a tremendous rate as far as facilities, buildings
and students. It's grown a tremendous rate, and uh, I think probably, well,
since it's in the regional university- system of North Carolina I think that
it's very good that they are becoming involved in the community here.
B: That's great. Maybe we're getting our feet on the ground. I know there are
many, many problems of adjustment involved and whatever extent lack of
rapport or whatever exists I think all of us who are thinking people would
like to eliminate it as much as possible and bring about the happiest
working spirit for the community and the university as possible. And per-
haps your organization has served and is serving sort of as a link in this.
I noticed that ... I didn't make any thorough examination, but just coming
into contact with your staff members in general it seams that you have people
from just about every spot in the county you know./ the county is well
represented. Every community is very well represented it seems.
L: One of our objectives, Mr. Barton, is to ... we hope to involve as many
communities as possible and ... in recruiting people to /. here we try to
touch all the communities, or Indian communities represented in the county.
And I think that we have done quite well. We have somebody I think representa-
tive of every community all the way from Hughville over to Smyrna.
B: That's great.
L: And so we ...
B: I've really encouraged that.
L: So that we think that this is a good approach in involving ourselves in the
community and being more effective in the community and we, we're quite
proud of that fact. We feel like we have very- capable people from these areas
and uh, we've been able to relate in those areas much better than we would
have I think if all of the people had been say, from Pembroke or from Magnolia,
B: You would have heard more complaints. Do you, does it seem to you that some of
our Indian communities have a tendency to compete with each other or maybe
be a little bit jealous of each other at times? I guess this is human if they
Well, I, I think that this '' has been a, a thing that's existed in the past,
Mr. Barton. From the time that I was in high school all the functions were to
compete with the local schools at the school. I guess this is only natural
anywhere but the, the thing carried through out into the community. The
community residents, the parents and whatnot. But I feel that in our areas
we try to involve as many of the community in joint functions as we .pos-
sible can. Now just for today for instance we had a county-wide senior
citizens' meeting where we had eight senior citizens' clubs represented there
from all over the county and these people were together laughing, talking, making
plans and working together. I feel that if we can get the senior citizens to
do this that this is a good indication that the other parts of the community,
segments of the community are ready. And this is one of our goals at'LRDA--
we can't accomplish anything as long as the communities are separated. There
has to be a joint and unified effort and uh, I feel like by virtue of us
having different staff members from the various communities that we're trying
to tie the whole in together. To do a job. And our goal is to increase our
level of input into county affairs, educationally, economically and the
genreal welfare of the people. PI feel this is one way we can do that.
B: 4 Right. Do you think the Robeson County church Com-- ...uh, Church Center
has done some work in this direction also?
L: Well, they've been very cooperative with us. Now I imagine that the, the
Robeson County Church and Community Center has different goals and different
objectives from ours, but we're really using just about the same Indian
trails to get there.
L: So ...
B: It all adds up to unity in the end, doesn't it?
L: Right. It certainly does.
B: This is the most gratifying thing that I've come across in a long time.
L: In the beginning when LRDA was young and a struggling organization to get started
and become a viable part of the community I guess at times we were really
frustrated because of lack of contact. But I think now we're beginning to
establish contact and it seems that our efforts are being substantially aided
by other existing agencies in the county. And we've got a long way to go
yet, no doubt about that. But I think we've come ong way.
B: Yes. You can see the results in terms of, of a better community spirit and
many other things. People are more, seem to be growing increasingly more
community-minded and I'm sure these efforts play a valuable part in this
role. Are there other subjects you'd like to touch upon? I've, I've
kept you ... you've been very kind to stay after work i hours and all.
L: t I was very happy to do it, Mr. Barton. I think that any time that I have an
opportunity to tell the story of what we're trying to do in relation to
the total community development I'm very proud to do so and I jump at the
B: That's great.
L: Often times I guess that I get a little ... over--, you know, carried away
or a little overzealous, but that's the way I feel about these kinds of pro-
jects. I feel that our program is very worthwhile, a very challenging ex-
perience for me and I feel that I personally have been influenced quite a
bit by my work here and that Ihave a different outlook on the plight of
people throughout the rest of my life.
B: Well, I certainly share your enthusiasm. I'm sure that LRDA is in good hands
and uh, making itself felt throughout the county and I'm very happy about
this and I'm sure everybody who knows about the efforts ...
L: Well, I would say that also that we've appreciated your efforts in helping us
in the past. Being a great resource person to us and giving us advice and
technical assistance on occasion. Speaking engagements and whatever. I'd like
to at this time to : express my appreciation for that and we hope to ...
you'll be available to us in the future also.
B: Well, certainly that's the case always. I, my heart is always open to LRDA
and to you, and Mr. Blanks, others on the staff. I think you've done a
magnificent job And I'm really thrilled about it---what you've accomplished.
And I'll certainly wish you Godspeed to your organization because it would
be tragic to see it come to an end just as it's going as it is.
L: We feel that it ... we feel at this point that we've had ... begun to do some
very worthwhile things. We want to continue. I feel very confident that we
will be able to continue because hopefully there will be on the national
level Federal funds, implementing Indian programs and I hope th&se are con-
tinued. I feel that they're very much needed and we're .. we can especially
put them to use here in:.our county.
B: Right. Well, uh, if you don't want to add anything I want to think you for
the Doris Duke Foundation and the History department of the University of
Florida. We'll send you the tape along with your prayer in mind
that it will accomplish something in bringing / people to realize the
value of our community and its various efforts
L: Well, thank you sir, and I certainly appreciate this opportunity that I
had here to explain our program to you and if I canbbe of any more as-
sistance, Mr. Barton, you know you can always call on me, don't you?
B: Thank you so very much