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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
MRS. MARGARET SAMPSON
INTERVIEWER: BRUCE BARTON, September 1, 1973
B: My name is Bruce Barton, interviewer for the Lumbee Indian Oral History
P project. Day is September 1, 1973 and I am interviewing Mrs. Margaret
Sampson in her daughter's home in the Deep Branch Community, approximately
five miles east of Pembroke going toward Lumberton. I appreciate your
S: Thank you.
condescending to this interview, Mrs. Sampson. A Now, to get it right
because they have to transcribe this. on tape the Margaret is spelled
M-a-r-ga-r-e-t. Is that right? and Sampson is S-a-m-p-s-o-n.
B: Margaret Sampson.
Op Were you raised here in this, in the area that you are living in now?
S: No, I was raised in what ;S Ac c SiWt Creek, f l9J
A^ -fh Afo" c ab k& %4
1r 0 t>( eUQ /; < V 14(. j jr cA w I
B: Now I understand that you were teaching school for quite awhile, is this
B: How long would that be?
S: Thirty-seven years.
B: Now, let's begin in the beginning where we should, I suppose. Could
you tell us something about your education where you were educated
S: Yes, I started school in first grade at Magnoli school r.V 4eLg
-h Co *Ak44 7h^ t^ MVa
&r.k 6rck 4r -4 I
I started at Pembroke Elementary. in the fifth grade, went from there to
the sixth, and then moved over to the Normal, what was then the Normal
j 4Wl.A& lVornAJ,
SchoolEnd went from the sixth through college.
B: You mean all the education was held in one building^called the Normal
School for Indians, is that right?
B: And that is what is now known as Pembroke State University?
S: That's right.
B: Now, what year did you first begin school there?
S: I believe it was 1928, I believe.
B: Now do you know when that building was first erected?
S: No, I don't know this, exactly.
B: Well, let's see. It's supposed to go on the National Register in
1973. That's this year in a few months so that must have been around
1920, I suppose. So you might have been.one of the first few students
to go there.
S: Well, there was not too many when I started, but I was one of the first .
B: Now, what I call the Normal School for Indians is now Pembroke State
University. Was this the only school you could attend in Rolbeei County
if you were an Indian?
Ys Yes), 7T C&t9L -* S >i 4ti
only school for Indians at that time.
B: And the Normal Schacl went from Sixth Grade to how far?
S: Well, when I started there, I believe they had a normal through high school.
When you finished high school,which was eleventh grade, you could teach,
but they added on first-year normal and second year normal and you had to
finish the year's normal work and my place was the last sixth grade that
they had at the normal. The next year, they moved it back to the
elementary school and we were the last seventh grade class- of the normal
8: and they moved %Aback to the elementary school, and I went on
through high school at normal and we finished high school. I don't
remember the year. They built the junior high school what is the
junior high school now, and took the high school out of Normal.
B: Now,do you know anything about the history of this building?
S: The Normal here?
S: No, we were not living around here when it was built.
I don't know just the year.
B: Is it the same building that's now what they call Old Main that was
recently burn ed?
Well, I J .
S: you know, before it was built, they had one of his -- iVM -
e- N$JSc Iicqa. C4 nu&-$ Aofl- --faw r fro $JomDl
"-A:4Urr r^ rui.
B: So does Old Main basically look the same as it did when it was a Normal
School for Indians.
S: Yes, except for s -y ifvf, *
B:.So you began teaching school with a sixth grade education, is that right?
s: No11A1A5' )
B: I thought that you said that you could teach school with a sixth grade
S: No, I said.l started in the sixth grade at.Normal, they were just) t&II)
you could finish high school there and start teaching there when you
finish high school.
B: So you had to have the high school education to teach that it?
4$!5 !JQn A~tfKLvt9&~ ~"'& ILAnybody V
SAnd that was when I was down in the sixth grade. .could finish high
school at the Normal and start teaching.
B: Well, so you began teaching at which school? in the beginning the
first teaching job that you had?
s: 4I4w Cti4te.Q Ar Aofar
B: Highspo Center near R.aO-. Is that practically an Indian school?
S: Yes. You can tell by the name.
B: Do you remember who the principal was at that school at that time?
s: Nor .*m& So^
B: Norman who?
B: He was an Indian?
B: What grades did you teach?
S: First grade.
B: Have you always taught elementary grades?
S: I taught first through V L O *
B: Now, have you ever had any feelings about our educational system as
compared to the White's education?
S: Well, I guess we're on the bottom.ha! --
B: When you first teaching school, did you notice there was a lack
of things to teach.with? on the school grounds and buildings?
S: Yes, we t have. We had f buildings. e had no materials)
lbvY+4 y Jii'1 didn't finish any,
ot to say the word, A in the county or the stateor well, just
little paper, maybe a few pencils. Not very much.
B: So did you ever think about what caused all this?
Do you ve any adi-White feelings because of the way the school system
was when you began teaching? It hasn't improved a whole lot since then.
I could see
S: Well, the biggest.thing when I started teaching, we didn't have a
CrA W istry
S: i -law. Most of the Indian families were tenant farmers.
Some were.share cropers, getting paid for their crops. Others just not
earning you know what.kind of living that was. And Indian children
stayed on.White man's plantation, you might say. And like I say, they
didn't have a compulsory education so when school first started, about
half our children wouldn't start. I had days, maybe, when I had
thirty children. Half of them would be there and half of them at home)
picking cottonI because.their family was not able to hire someone else
to pick &m. They had to pick the children up in order for them to pick
their cotton to make enough money to buy clothes and food for the winter.
B: So you think the lack of having compulsory education hurt Indian people
in general as far as education is concerned?
S: I sure do because our children were falling behind by staying out half
the time and eventually some of them would just quit 4es
and- Men and women today that just maybe got a first or
second grade education.
SA: hey were not fortunate enough to go to school. Now, they say
sorry we didn't.
B: What prompted you to go in education? Cause I understand that during
that time, to get an education was a little exceptional. Most
people,as you said, were tenant farmers and what kind of family did you
come from with.an educational family? good educational background?
even though they could read and write.
S: No, my parents were not too well educated* T.lt lb l" lly :uoh.
We lived near that Normal. I guess that's \ why 7 LWt ii 0 *O
And I like school. And 4 people %he* I AL r e- ) 4
there were not very many jobs for them. I guess that I wanted to go in
order to get a job and work. To make a living.
B: Do you know much about what they call today the "Double Voting"?
S: I sure don't. Maybe you can explain it to me. I'd like to know
a little more about it. Would you explain it to me?
B: yes. Well,"double voting" is basically what we've come to call the practise
of having Whites cast two votes and Indians only one. ly that, I mean
that, a you know, there are six distinct city school systems in
Robinson County. Fiv1Aare city administrative units and,then, we have
the one county system where all the Indian children go.
S: ,I ask you a question
S: What do you think of that? Do you think that we SVl all under
one system or have all these expensives- What do you think of it?
here SC6 O I
B: Well, I'll have you interviewing me.in a minute, but I think all sweet
children# should have the same opportunity and go to the same school
same. It should be the same for everybody. I don't think that you
should make exceptions and I think all should have one school system
S Well, that is that if we have just one big system,
I was going to say: Don' t you thinkAall this "dou ble voting" and all
this other stuff would be eliminated.
B: Right, but you asked me about"double voting" and I would digress just
for a moment and say about Souble voting". As I said, there are six
school systems in Robinson County. Now, there's the County School
System and, then, there are five county school systems. Now, six
school systems seem' tobe just too many school systems for one little
county. What happens if you live within city)within the confines of a
city administrative unit in Robinson County, you can vote for the
B: School Board elections within your city unit and you can, also, vote
for county school board elections, but the people in he county can
vote only on te county school board elections. They can't vote on
city boards. So the people in the city vote twice and the people
in the county once. And we have as a result, people on the Robinson
County Board of Education who were put there by the people who live
in the city, who don't live within the county school system. Now,
I think that's criminal,
Aas why ;+- w A'4 P S cefL
S: 4 um Indian race)most of our children ..4 in the county
B: Right. So a lot of times what happens is, you know, being a teacher
that we don't get the people on the county board of education that we
want. We vote for them and they get the most votes, but when you add
to the votes they get# from the people who live in the city, then our
people finish on the bottom most of the time.
B: Have you paid much attention over the years to what goes on you know,
other than in the classroom?
B: Politics, for instance,
S: Well, not too much. t,*.* I'll tell you. We had a meeting in one
of these counties' school systems and we liked to burn up because
we attended the county system and do not have air conditioning.
Over in Lumberton, we have a big,fine high school and the city system
is air conditioned and has a gym, auditorium, lunchroomend this one
in the county1 tiey have to combine have the gym, auditorium, if we
have a meeting there or we go somewhere for a meeting so I think that
we have advantages over the county system.
B: Do you think that politics has anything to do with that?
S: Yes, I guess it does.
B: Well, I notice that & a lot of people like you. Incidentally,
you love to teach children, don't you?
8: Yes, I enjoy teaching 4IO fCA o1''
B: Do you feel like if you spoke out about things politically-
about 4tL for instance, or about Superintendent Allen, the
superintendent of the county school system, do you think that you might
get fired if they found out about it.
S: Do you mean if Superintendent Allen found out about it?
B: Right. kI1 f l 4 tt
S: Well, I guess would because L i
afnomefY43 around here.
B: Well, I guess just the love you have for teaching children hasn't
been able to keep your mind off this. Is this more or less true?
S:.I think when you're worried about anything when you keep it
on your mind, it's not too g ood. If you get down and work with the
children, they'll take your mind off other things. You don't have to
keep your mind on something else, and your work helps you forget about
B: Right. Now, let's talk a little bit about what you think could be done
in the county school systems as far as education goes. because we'll leave
politics to the politicians if you want to, but what do you see that
they could do as far as education goes to help Indian children?
S: Well, I really tn't know right now. tt1a the Federal Government
has been in the school s I teacs, '., considered
in the poverty area, and the Federal Government, as you know, gave some
things and we do have quite a bit of equipment to work ith. Things that
I never heard of before until we did get aide from the Federal Government.
S: And so we do have much more to work with now. And I -tink that when
I,first, started teaching school, if I had a record player, I bought it
myself. If I had anything else a& much to use, I had to buy it, We didn't.
AIl W4 suppers
Il1_i had maybe 'K V I at School-fund raising things like
I had a -- program or something like that and now we do have quite
a bit of help from the Federal Government. So it's much better than it has been.
here in the past.
B: Do you feel that teachers in Robinson County have any bargaining powers?
Do you foresee the day *
Su foresee the day when teachers might set up a union
for instance ?
S: Well, I don't know and I don't know much about iC-tCheaa mb. I believe
they have talked about it. One thing teachers have is the power, I think
UL ke have our organizations, teacher orga nizationa ( Cwc W V f Mr
National anizations and State. I think jA r& Stir pa-C oJC
B: L you think that teacher organizations statewide do they recognize that
things are a little bit behind the times in .Jkoing County? Do you ever
hear any talk from higher..upJ about it?
S: I don't know if Robinson County is behind the other counties or not?
B: I mean Indiqn Schools. I mean the buildings, the grounds, educational aides-
LUM 132 A
B: things to work with. We was talking about recently, they've been
getting tape recorders and things like that.
notw i 1r r*jS n q 44L4dJf4
S: Well, like I say t*il..lR-R .= Indian schools are as good as
anybody else's As far as the county is concerned
as far as that goes. "ut, no1 I bn't know
S about the state you know, how it compares with other
state schools, but I know the city system. We have ..They have better
schools than we do.
B: Are you limnpt"to see integration come about or would you rather there'd
still be Indian schools?
S: Well, I haven't had enough of them. I don't really know.
As far as I am concerned,,l believe, as a whole the children would enjoy
if they were
it better, in their own schools because they segregate themselves
when they get.to school but like I say, I've not had enough
of it in high school, I teach predominately Indiah I've
a few Whites and a few Blacks, but as a whole I have no Indians so I don't
know 'much about it. Somebody else 44'.t4 14- t cou(
-ted y" 44au+ -I-&k.
B: But isn't it true the cause of integration in the 1965 Civil Rights Voting
Legislation It's only since then that we have been able to get some of
the things that teachers need to teach.
S: Oh, yes, before they had it, T know for a fact : our Indian
teachers when schools would start in the fall, well, they wouldn't getA.,.s
if there was any supplies, if there were any supplies, they'd be left
by the White 4hen it got to us, we didn't have very much.
%OfI f % F4e4 & overn *Auet
Well like I saylit didn't make any difference. You got from them
no matter hat you were. -
B: Do you have any feelings about the recent Education Act? We got
S: Yeah, I'm glad you did because I may get a little of it here. -
with my daildren.
B: Do you till think that you will get some of it?
S: And we are getting the benefit of it because we have a teacher in our school
a special reading teacher and she $ IwS SOM r kso .
Well, I'm supposed to get some. for my classroom. I'm hoping that I get some,
B: Does most of the schools now have special teachers and special departments
for special education for working for disadvantaged children?
S: Well, that's not. You wouldn't say just "disadvantaged". children
that need special help. They are a little behind in their classwork.
S: and they need some special help. nd you take) I11 take ten
children and work with them. You can do more with ten children
than you can with twenty or thirty? And that is why we are having
thae special classes.
B: Do you feel that your *es wnntmb by being an Indian teacher?
S: That's a question, isn't it?
B: A very big question.
S: Well, I don't know, I guess I We're getting the same pay right now.
B: DID WE use to not get the same pay?
S: I don't know about that. I A.OL W heard that we 4*4. That's what I
mean. Why, it would be no disadvantage to be- an Indian teacher
because we get the same pay as the Whites didand in that respect, it's
afT disadvantage. Is tat what you mean?
S: -Wi, I am happy to an Indian teacher.
B: In spite of all the injustices that have you have seen in the county,
Robinson County Educational System would you do it over again if you had
the chance to go back and say I'm going to be a teacher or I'm not going
to be a teacher. Would you teach?
LUM 132A If,44 v1 4
S: I think I would. P e else benefits. We
see the disadvantage and I think education helps you get on top. Up from
the bottom, maybe, I should say.
B: From pur association with other teachers how do they react toward the
political things that have gone on lately? I mean here recently like
the Taosei arah Movement and the movement to break double voting and
the movement to save Old Main and this feeling that's in the air about
going back to the old Indian ways. How do teachers generally react to
these kinds of things?
S: Nao do you want me to answer one at a time or all of them in one big
B: All in one one big answer.
S:,I know most of them feel like we shouldia. resre 4 r -''
I'll take it one at a time. What was the other one now?
B: The TsesuR-eava th ing.
S: Well, I &n't know. What do you mean in respect of Tuscaroah?
B: I mean how generally I know this is a broad question, but maybe I d&ould just
say it's specifically: How do you feel about it, for instance? Are you
upset thatv--t would march on Raleigh, for instance? Does it
B: bother you are chained to that kind of activity or are you proud of it
or just how do you feel out it?
S: Well, I.hardly know how I feel about it.
S4 co ro / themrcped ?'
What did they march for? What was the-."ww-:ma 1Jwhen they marched?
B:I think basically they wanted some redress some of the grievances they
have. lor instance, they wanted North Carolina Indiqn Commission do
hear some grievances they had about general things .about poverty in
Robinson County the name thing They want to be known as .TJassa k
Indians. They wanted the North Carolina Indan Commission to hear them
and to give them some help. Now, basically, I think that just wanted
people to know that they were Indian. and that they would do whatever
was necessary to address some oahe grievances that they feel
:Wek f k ft 4olr wh a hashu) r. -, Aym
What do you think about Should theY have been *1-t1 I UL er
Cow-r #&, k At -S Y\ o 47 1I
B: Well, I'm 4.aaC4ce interviewer. I'll say this that I thought they
just ran into some Rednecks is what I think. You know, a lot of people
with skins a little darker than NtWhr te .QMW, they'll lock
you up and hit you in the head. There are a lot of Rednecks around, but
I think they overreactAis what I think. They should have let them
march through, They weren't SO 4A "A A They were just going through.
S: Well, that's the feeling that I have about. now. I feel like they just
showed their part if they Like you say, they were
not stopping anyone. They just wanted to pass through.
B: Well, do you feel that there is a chance for usas-i- future as far as
education goes? That is in .aeiana County.
S: Like I say: We have come a long ways. I think there's a chance for us.
Right now, we have about four lawyersr-l finished law school. We have
doctors. We have people from almost any walk of life.
Now, I think that that is helping us to get us over the poverty/feve,
B: Now, we've heard a lot of tlk about Old Main. About Save Old Main. You
know, this was the first Indian school. This was the whole total school
at one time. The only In .dian conferrings, normal schooling in existence
and in its time. And,you know, with a little background they decided
B: to tear down a building and to put up another building, and a lot of
people got excited about it-mnd started a movement to save Old Main.
Now, would you like to go on record as to how you feel about Old Main?
S: I would because I would like to see it ery because I told you before,
my class was the last sixth grade classthere in school. I went there
from sixth grade through four years of college. So you know somebody
that had went there from the sixth grqde through college at Old Main
would like to teach there.
B: So you do have very special feelings about Old Main?
S: I sure do.
B: OK. Good. Janie will be glad to hear that.
S: Let me tell you something else about Old Main: Before I moved to Pembroke,
when I went to Magnolia School, about two years before we moved from
Pembroke, we'd have county commencements and the other schools in the
county would come and march. We'd march through town' each school marched
and that was a great event for us to come to Old Main and march on the
county schools, county commencements,
B: Now, as far as education goes,.with the college the way it is, there is not
much rapport between college, the university, and the community.
B: Now, in the earlier days, the days you are talking about when you went
to school there, the community use Old Main quite a bit for town
meetings and that kind of thing. People getting together for
one thing and another?
S: Yes, I think they did. AWhen I went to Old Main, that was a great event
when commencement time came along, ad so many days and so many nights
and people came from far and near to Pembroke here for our program and
they enjoyed it.
B: So you went from the sixth grade through four years of college.fa"
Now, let me get my bearings. Is that right?
S: That's right.
B: You never ask a lady how old she is, but could you tell us what year you
finished your fourth year of college there?
S: If I tell you, you'll think that I am awful dumb, but what I did when I
finished two years normal work, I started teaching. That was.. I believe
that we just had two years normal We added on third and later fourth year.
Well, I taught awhile before I went bacto get my degree. I decided then
to go back and take well evening classes and went to aimmer school and 4 V4 J
.Ffinished four years college)
S: going to evening classes and summer school& So you can see why
it was such a long time before I started to teach even though I wasn't
the smartest one in school.
B: You were not the smartest one in school?
S: No, not quite.
B: Aw, your husband, what is his name?
S: Edward Sampson.
B: And what does he do for a living?
S: He's a farmer.
B: Now, he being a farmer and you decid ing to go back to school. Did he
ever object to your going back to school or did he always encourage you?
S: No, he didn't object. However, I was always ho'e at lunch time to fix
his meals or after school and afternoons, when I didn't have classes, I'd
work on the farm, too.
B: OK. Let's see where our tape is. Well, we've been talking about things
in general. What I'd like to do is begin when you went to school in
the first grade and we'll bring it all the way up through high school
through Normal School, through college, and then, we'll tie that ie- with
your experiences at the end. Now, AW you remember when you entered the
B: first grade?
S: Yes, I went to school in what is known as Magnolia School.
B: Now, just a minute. Magnolia That's M-a-g-n-o-l-i-a.
Could you tell us where that's at?
Lumbe 0.f5 kfx#E )
S: It's about.. It's north of jt 's aoout six miles from here.
B: Now, how many grades did they teach when you began at this school Magnolia?
S: Well, there was two teachers and I believe that they had around t MA
3b*& the seventh grade when I started there. I stated in the first
grade and this teacher I went to had first, second, end third.
B: So seven grades is as far as you could go at that time.
S: Right IIJ
B: Now, how many Indian schools did they have at that time? that would
teach through seventh grade? Do you know?
S: No, I don't. We had quite a few one teacher schools, but two teacher
there were quite a few over tie community
They were pretty close together because we didn't have any busses to ride
in and like if I went to school and it started to rain, my dad had to come
and pick me up in a wagon or buggey.
B: OK now, I'm not going to ask you how old you are, but I am going to ask
B: you what year this was that you began in the first grqde.
B: Was it in the thirties?
S: In the thirties? You mean ha!?
B: When you began in the first grade at school.
Bi What was it?
S: I was born in 1913. You want my age, don't you? ha! Well, there it is. ha!
B: ha! You were born in 1913. It would have been about 1919. OK. You went
to Magnolia through the seventh grade.
S: Yes. Do you want to know something our school what it was like?
B: Yes, maM. I'd like to know something about the conditions and ..
S: We had two rooms and the window panes were out in some of the rooms, and
we had an old wooden heater and we used logs weedW, The boys would
go out n the evening. They'd generally go out and get our wood2 to put
in the heater. So we got to school the next morning, they'll build a
fire. And it would be so cold in the wintertime that we'd just get around
S: this heater and sit. as close as we could, to keep warm.
B: Now, was all the teachers Indian? back then?
S: Yes, in the schools where I was.
B: And all the students wre Indian?
B: There was no mixing of the races. No Blacks and no Whites.
S: That's right.
B: And the teachers that taught at that time, they were people who had gone
through the seventh grade, is that right?
/ S: Yes. They could teach school if you 4 oW seventh grade and go to
Lumberton and take a .. I don't know what kind of test. to take a test,
but you could take a test and teach school, to the Indians. Test --
wasn't too hard -4t4 4 1l c 7 Ra s
B: I know you didn't know that at the time, but looking back now you probably
know, did the Whites were they the administrators? Were they the ones
who set policy paid the salaries, and decided how much money people got
and where the schools were going to be built and this kind of thing?
S: Yes, we were and one thing-when they consolidated our schools, I think that
was a bad mistake. To take say children six miles away from Lumberton -
S: First graders and carry them maybe farther tha-n that. carry them six miles
$L4i LtM s'4 4d instead of moving our school )E4 pe
14n rfeI) they were going right by schools, but one thing they shouldn't have done
to my opinion, they shouldn't have consolidated, schools like that -
I think we've
toomany first graders and haul them too far on buses, had busing
all along. People has been fussing about busing, but we've had busing
from way back.
B: What you're saying i that Ind ian kids were taken on buses to Indian
schools and go right by a White school.
S: That's zght. And what I'm saying, too, I.fell like we should have moved
some of our schools from one district to another and having to haul
children so far. when did finally eh Sihr kg.oh.
B: Right. So you went to Magnolia through the seventh grade and then you
can came. No, you didn't, through the fourth grade and then, your family
moved to Pembroke Now, were your parents farmers?
S: Yes. AftvLtw moved to my granddaddy's place, aid my dad took over the
farm andAe- wa. sharecropper a More. -Wa A4Frt
I guess that's why I got through school as much as I Cd.
B: Did your father encourage you to go to school?
B: Your mother, too.
S: Yes. Until we came to Pembroke, we were tenant farmers, when I went to
B: Now, did you have to stay out of school when crops were being gathered
the first few weeks of the season like a lot of Indian children have had
to do over the years? +
S: ell, I didn't have to i school -- but i when we went in
in the afternoon, I did work in the fields on the farms *
B: So fourth grade you came to Pembroke Elementary School, is that right?
rnd you went there through the seventh grade?
S: No, I went through the sixth grade there -' vAthe iSinhr Ae enA
grade was over at the Normal School.
Bi So the elementary Pembroke Elementary just went through the fifth grade?
S: Fifth grade, yeah. They were building on to the elementary school when I
started there. That's why my sixth grade class wanted over at Old Mainm
and they moved it back over to the elementary schod.
B: OK. We come up to .. What year would this be now? Let's say when
you began at what they call the Indian Normal School which is now Pembroke
S: In 192'7 Lnemty 28 ),O A J rA e 7
B: 27? or 28? And this was a ... You were feeling the pinch of the
depression at that time, weren't you?
a I Iir :Ls + Si v osAC .ln1aA
"S: Ifl)) 1 r
B: Now,Aou +,
-44- knrvw 40 FN
B: Who were in charge of Pembroke the schoa at Pembroke Normal School?
Which is then the Old Main Building at that time it was.
s: -.4D ,, l M 4 i\4 W> W ',/4at i a ,
B: Right. And you don't feel that they gave us things that we needed
to teach our children properly?
B: Now, the principal at the Wite" School was he a White man or an Indian?
S: White M4 ,
B: What's his name? At the time you were there. .-.
S: U/*$ -W t tz #aV WA* X a, of S0 ieeMf2
B: *mhrpiU L lpal
s: 4I blebS qitkA 4n e44t ^44o cor or
M iM J c.O 1A MJ4+er,
B: Some people during this time didn't really concern themselves too much
with politics and why people did things. They just went to school
and taught and..
S: The majority of people that's the way they were. There was a few
that mostly was concerned. That's one reason I think that we
have the Normal because we did have people concerned for oir school)
'J4LUAk A zt. 4 guc&t4jai1 -, 9Xtcr cJAks
B: Now, did Indian people build that school? The n Normal School?
I think they did. I'll put that down for the record. I think what
is now called Old Main which..
donated money Not ohly that school, but our first school we had like
Big Branch and Magnolia, Hopewell School, in the community different
schools. I've been told.
B: I've been told the same thing.
B: OK. Now, we're through? And the Normal School went through what grade?
S: As I said the first half reth-e k-- ea--a- r
hen, they added on, finally added on the school one year. Four year college.
B: So, would that have been sent through the seventh grade and then, two
additional years, is that the way it first began or allthe way through
the high school?
S: No, when they added on --- They moved the elementary school
back to the Pembroke Elementary and then, for a good while, they had the
high school at the Normal --- 0 OfV( An -n.
and then they finally built a high school and moved the high school out
so we had just --college there .*. four years college or
AoroL 4) A/&4aleur.%1
B: So it did finally evolve into a regular college. It was the only all
Indian college that I know of.
S: Right. We ere the first .A A- COl ****
B: So you began first grade in 1919. And taking time out to have babies.
You have two daughters, right?
B: And you had the babies and you taught for awhile. Then you went back
and kept upgrading your teacher's certificate and finally, in 1954, you
finish four years of college. Is that correct?
S: That's right.
B: And what year did you begin teaching? Your first year of teaching?
S: I believe it was ih 1934. Fall of 1934.
B: So in the Fall of 1934, you began teaching with 1Bt seventh grade
certificate, is that right?
S: No, two years Normal work.
B: Two years normal work.
"S: -- NO ^A seventh gradi
jut then I went on through high school and then finished Normal work.
B: OK. Now, we got it right. You went to regular high school and they
offered two years what they called Normal School.
B: OK. Did you have to take an examination to be certified as a teacher
when you finished the two years Normal Work?
S: olYu t kcat If AISc d;ck A^,
B: When you got a diploma, who would you go see about the job teaching?
Would you have to go apply to the Robinson County Board of Education?
S: No, we didn't even have to apply down there. We had what is known as
a committee from each school. And we talked with -4 f rinczjs & 4
committee and we didn't have to go to the Board of Education. The
principal and the.committee
B: Seemed to have been the school committee.
S: The principal and the school committee.
B: How would you know who to go see?
S: Well, you just have to know the committees (f Tf C fi j.a
SIDE TWO INTERVIEW WITH MARGARET SAMPSON- BRUCE BARTON INTERVIEWER
B: Now, we got^to the point where you were getting your first job teaching
school. Now what year was this and where was it at?
S: It was the year 1934 and it was at Ask Center near A the little town
B: This was an Indian school.
S: r right.
B: Do you remember about hew many students were there?
St Nte rihw off, d'
S: Not right off, I don't. Afourl teachers and maybe about twenty-five
or thirty students.
B: This was the school taught through the seventh grqde?
B: OK. Now, you taught at Ashpole Center for how many years?
S: Two years.
B: Two years. And you went from Ashpole Center where?
S: To Pembroke Elementary. Known as the graded school.
B: How many years did you teach there?
S: Six. I was ,the first grade at Ashton when- I taught at the Graded.
I taught third and fourth grades.
B: Why did you change schools?
S: Well, I imagine it was the -fall And, The first year I boarded
and had to walk about two miles to school every morning and evening
on rain y
so you can see how difficult it was for me especially A days
g4id coLs Aayx
B: Were you married at this time?
B: How many years did you teach before you married?
S: Five years.
B: Five years.
B: So you came to Pembroke after elementary and you taught there six years,
S: Right. And got married while I was teaching there.
B: Now, was there much difference in the schools? at Ashpole Center and
Pembroke Elementary? Were they about the same or was one more advanced
than the other?
S: Well, I didn't see too much difference. I believe they'd like to see
a larger school. More teachers.
B: Now* all these schools. Is most of the principals
now in the elementary school was there any Indians?
S: What do you mean? When I started tere?
B: So you have always worked under Indian principals?
S: Yes, I have.
B: So you taught at Pembroke Elementary what is loown as the graded school
for six years and, then, you went where?
S: Then, I came to -
B: You taught there how many years?
S: About fifteen.
B: Now, why did you decide to leave Pembroke tgofrd and go to -
S: Well, I didn't decide it. I think another lady was teaching at Deep
and she wanted to move to the elementary Pembroke Elementary.
And she asked me would I come to Deep Branch. You see, I lived in this
community and she lived closer to Pembroke, but I came to Deep Branch and
let her exchange schools and just these reasons.
B: So what year was this? that you came to Deep Branch Elementary?
elementary and then came to Deep Branch.
B: Would this be in the forties?
I -S -two
S: Well, I subtract from .*,, I started in '34.
B: Thirty-four so you
B: So that would be 1942. Now, 8 this time was the principals the schools
committee still the ones who hired and fired teachers? and decided who
S: Yes 'tiey were. And when I came to Deep Branch School, we had a school
that looked more like a house than anything else. That's the best
a big room with
way to describe it )because the room I had -,just two windows in it.
on r(Af Aar'
A very darkened room You could hardly see0 on cloudy days.
B: Didn't have brick building at that time?
S: Yeah, but before I left that school, they built a new building a nice
B: How long did you stay there?
S: About fifteen years, I think.
B: Fifteen years? That's quite a lengthy time to stay at one place. Do you
remember what year the RoiabWf County Board of Education began .tihsia
S: for schools?
S: No, I really don't.
B: OK. You stayed at Deep Branch Elementary and where you live now as we
said earlier, about five mile east of Pembroke. Now, you left Deep Branch
Elementary and you went where from there.
S: To the school where was teaching when I married Union Elementary.
B: Union Elementary. Where's Union Elementary?
S: It's about eight miles north of Roland, I gess. --
B: Now, why what prompted you to leave Deep Branch and go to Union Elementary?
Do you remember?
S: Well, I guess it Apends on a man y the z committeesaid
that he had an opening there, ai would I like to go to that schai. He
S4 L4A/ Sampson anxhe said., he principal had talked with me and
said he would be glad to have me if I took the job.
B: Now, do you remember when the Robinson County Board of Education and the
Superintendent and Associate Superintendent and do you remember when they
B: began assigning teachers? Do you have any..
S: No, e J
S: I don't think there's been sy too long. And too, I believe, they
let the principal have a little say so on hiring the teachers, but as far
as committees and it's been several years, I think, that they've had ver
much to do with it. They all have their A or board now, but
still I don't think they advise it. They don't have too much to do with
B: So you've been at Union Elementary up to now.
B: And most of your time has been agent teaching kids from the first through the
fourth grade? And some special education classes?
S: That's zight.
B: Now, what do you think about educators in general? I mean,
the Indian principals and theeople who are in charge of the School Committee?
Do you think that they did a good job considering the circumstances?
S: Well, in what way do you mean? Did a good job in what?
B: Selecting the teachers, running the school, educating the children,
S: What do you mean? t ow' f-mt S e c
B: Yeah, that and, too, they were kind of left to themselves as to how they
B: set up the curriculum and then, how they educated tie children then,
weren't they? And how they scheduled classes and what they taught and
that kind of thing?
S: Well, as far as committees, sometimes maybe you'd have one that didn't
have too much education and maybe they didn't know too much about (s/ J *j
teach and hat have you.. Of course, I believe the principal had a
could have been handling that,too, if they didn't-heae teacherA
on the other hand, sometimes maybe, *J as e r l poICtA
B: Right, and did you ever see any cases of family hiring family?
S: Yes, I think that's worked, too.
B: ha! ha! You can put that under the heading of politics. Now, about
the children. We have kind of covered where you went and how you got
this far in the classroom. How have you found Indian children to be as
far as Do you think that they can be educated as well as the White
for instance? and the Black?
S: As far as I The way I see it) Yes. I think they're just as capable as
any other race. I think they have some that's outstanding and we have
some, that like so many other races, we have some that are slower I
won't call them dumb.but slow learners.Just because of your rqce, I don't
S: think that you can consider that as far as learning because we have
some restrictions in all races.
B: Now, because of our being Indian, do you think that we ought to have
a special curriculum different from the Indiqns and the Blacks?
B: Right. I meant the White and the Black.
S: No, I think we should have all the same because we all need to learn
about the government, the world, history, and all that.
B: You don't see any special need for us to go back and see how the old-
time tradition^Indians use to live?
S: It would be fine to do that, but on the other hand I believe the
Whites and the Blacks would enjoy learning about it,too.
B: So you don't think that we ought to make exceptions as far as what we
teach and how we teach it?
S: Well. the way I feel about it, I don't think we should, because if we
are going to be integrated and going to teach them all "KC SaeL t 4 i1'
B: Do you believe in integration?
S: In some ways I do.
B: What are some of the ways that you do believe in integration?
B: School? Would that be one of the areas?
S: Well, oe thing about it- if we integrate then we know everybody's-
what one school's getting and the other school's getting far as the
-e&a r is concerned.
B: That would be one advantage.
S: Yes. because.then they couldn't say well, we're going to give all this
to the Blacks and we're going to give all this to the Indians. That won't
be I don't suppose anyway. Nor we'll give all of it to the Whites.
Everybody's getting the same thing.
B: But don't you think we've talked a bit about that we didn't have the
proper equipment to teach and didn't have proper buildings and a lot of
other things. Don't you think maybe the reason we didn't have some of
these things was because we were segregated and Indian taught Indian
and we didn't have any relationships with other races.
S: Well, that is it because natural the Whites were the ones that give
out this advice and natural they were going to give out if there was any
"-if there were any advice been give to their people. Maybe the Indians
would have been it Then we'd had got first choice.
S: So -
B: Do you think since approximately sixty percent and at one time itwas almost
a hundred percent of the students in the county school system were Indian?
Would you like to see before you a,.teaching, an Indian superintendent of
the county school system?
S: fr..h coumntf?
B;gh*. I ?
S: Well, it depends.
S: Well, it might help. I don't know.
S: I don't know too much about that. I don't know.
B: What do you think personally of Superintendent Allen?
Have you ever had..? Have you ever had an opportunity to talk to him at
length about anything in particular?
Like you said,
S: No, I mean, I haven't talked with him. I spoke to him and had a few words
with him when he'd come ^the classroom. And I think that he has had
a hard way to go since all tese problems have come about.
B: Do you think that he has done a good job under the circumstances?
give it to him
S: I think he has. I'll have to there. I think he has.
.4Mml&l4 up well under all tese problems
S: we've had to face.
B: but going back to, I'd say: Do you have any idea what.percentage of
Indian children are that's in the county school system? Would you say
right now that it's about sixty-five? Anywhere from sixty to ii'
ninety percent considering which school you're in? Would that be right?
S: You mean wer Indian schools?
S: Yes, in the one I'm in now. it's up in the ninety percent.
B: Well, doesn't it seem kinda of out of place with that kind of
representation in the school-anywhere from sixty- five to ninety
percent of the Indians'students making up the membership in the
Indians' and the county's schools? Doesn't it seem kind of ironic
that we would have a White school superintendent? Did you ever think
about how he got in that position and why he's there and is it right?
S: Well, I think, I know why because up until the last few years the
Whites runned the business and everything. We didn't have anybody
down at the Board of Education or anything. Not a even a secretary.
So they run it and that's why hets head of it. I guess it pays more
than these other jobs.
B: I would think so. Well, some of the principals that you have taught
under and some of the educators that you've met- Do you frankly think
at this time that they would be capable of being a superintendent of
the county school system?
S: Well, I guess they would because we have an assistant superintendent
down there an Indian man. If one could be assistant, he might could
move up to .***
B: For instance, the principal that the school where you teach is an
Indian man. Right?
B: His name is Martin Brooks?
8: No, he was my principal last year. have a new one this time.
Mr. Grady Oxedine.
B: Now, you think either of these men would be capable of being honest?
Do you think that either of them.could do the job that the White.,s,
t.. Superintendent Alien is doing?
S: I guess they could if they could stand the pressure that's been
put on right now.
B: Do you think there's a lot of pressure on the job? Do you think that
B: this might hamper an Indian?
S: Not anymore than it would any other race, I don't think.
B: You just have to know what you are doing if you are going to be
Superintendent offA16Eon County. Education County system.
S: And as you know, the principal I have now was founder of the
Board of Education and I think that they asked him to take this job as
Principal of the *.** His job was terminated, I think, That's why
they have him.
B: Now, getting into the thing about attitudes. Do you think Indian
students feel inferior as a rule to White students?
S: Well, I guess that I need to be in a sfool where there was a lot of Whites.
There are a few Whites in ours, but they don't feel inferior to Whites,
but they're all where I work. Maybe I'd have to be in a school in a
B: You just haven't had that much experience with races other than Indian.
S: Oh, well, like I say. We have a few Whites in our school and a few
Blacks, but the ones there it don't seem like the children felt any
t e t
different towards them. There's just morBof them.
B: So do you think that you would have any problem for instance, teaching
in a White school, being an Indian?
S: According to where it is located, I do.
B: How do you feel about White people in general?
C: Well, a good deal of parents I had this summer in summer school.
up at the university. We had three races and then, there was
among the three races
twenty-four in class and I believe it was equally divcbdand to me
k or Black
I felt no different iA tbIea to White ,than I did to Indian. They all
seem like one big family so when you get together to me, a color I'm
color blind in some situations. -- k K Y I f lt I *a a
B: So considering so even though you agree that we have been neglected as
far as education goes in the past and we ^given our fair share
Still when you you don't hold that against any particular White that
you might meet. Whether you are going to summer school or teaching)
or going down to the Board of Education to a workshop or anything you
don't let that bother your relationship with kind of people.
S: No, I don't ever. I feel like we should like somebody else h-tter than
the paper a write-up in the paper.
S: We can't help what somebody else did, and we do have. I know we have
to talk to people and-" names places. When
4 names places. When
you run across people like that, the best thing to do is ignore them
and go on. Not let them give you a heart attack worry you.
B: It will give you a heart attack, ha! ha!
S: Good for you.
B: OK. Let's talk about the Indian children. You said, We'll talk
about them some more. We had already begun earlier. You said that
basically you don't feel that they are inferior to other races and that
they can do just as well. Now would you like to digress on that a
bit about Indians' students in general. How you found them. Are they
teachable? How do their parents feel about the schools? Do parents
S: vl I tell you a little.about the group I taught when I first
went to Union.
B: Right. Yeah. I'd you to do that.
S: T had the first graders three first graHd teachers and I think
I got the group of the lower income families.We had a lunch room.
8: which is true and we were not receiving our federal aide then, and to me,
I think, that I had a pitiful situation because my pay for my children
didn't not include the lunch room. They didn't have money. There's
nothing provided for them. They just couldn't get even a nickel.
to get lunch. Some of them came without any lunch at all. Others-
t an a summer lunch.
ght an -------<
They later brou a biscuit, egg They stayed in the room-
the ones that brought lunch and ate while the others went to the
lunch room to eat. We did try to feed them and brought them something else.
Some children did come out &IA spent all day without lunch, but
that doesn't happen now because we see that all the children eat breakfast
Like I said, we did try to feed them. We got a cup of mrak nothing else
when they didn't have the money. That was fine, but we had to buy it for them.
or get it some ways because the lunch paid.the federal government -
was not furnished. They wfurnishing anything, but it wasn't a lunch.
for all these children. Now, it's4ot that bad a situation now
selected as a MOS
since we were, A poverty area 'he of the children were ..,
and we have more factories now. The are working more. We could
feed ourselves and if they can't pay for a full meal, maybe they can P4&
half or what they can.
S: and most of our children are eating. I don't 1ink that they are hungry.
I think the whole schal is eating in the lunchroom now, but it wasn't
like that when I first started teaching.
B: So that, so you see that things are getting better and the only
thing that we can do is look at the past and you don't feel like we
ought to spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves and saying
"poor me and we got cheated". We ought to go from where wOaO now.
S: All right and like you say, the It is better, but no just because
the government is helping. We have more plants to keep them working
taxes, and places, and the people are they're getting jobs and
they're providing more things for their family.
B: Now, what role do you see Pembroke State University playing? Is
this where most of our teachers come from? Pembroke State University?
S: Right. Most of them are from there. We have a few that we let come
in from other places. 4ke one teacher, br instance, in the school
where I work, her husband works at a store berton and she
came from another state with him" he applied for a job. ko ot
only her a few more f on 0 A8
S: AP like that. I guess I'm not r-
B: Now, I hear a lot of talk about some Indian teachers are afraid to
speak out about things, politics, if they have a grievance against the
Robinson County Board of Education. They're kind of reluctant to say
anything about it, and, of course, being in the newspaper business I
sometimes the only thing I hear is the bad side and the people who are
anti-everything, but do you think that there is grounds for this kind
of feeling. I know it's prevelant among young people who are involved
in politics that they are the teachers are afraid of their jobs and
they won't speak out on things. Have you found this to be true?
S: Well, I don't know ^ much about that. We have a grievance committee
and an organization, our teachers' organization. And the last meeting
we had, the Grievance Committee got up and vote on some things they
were displeased with and they had quite an argument over it. In fact,
I had to leave the meeting before it was over with. This argument lasted
so long so I think that they are beginning to speak up for things
they want. I e Cneda
B: So you think tZme ..o a srlim even in education.
S: Yes, I
B: Now, do you think that the Robinson County Board of Education has
always done the best they could under the circumstances?
S: Well, from my thinking, I don't think they have.
B: Do you take very much interest in elections, for instance, when
people are elected to the Robinson County Board of Education? Do you
kind of notice who's running and teacher's politic very much about
getting people elected?
S: Well, I don't think the policy too much about it, but most teachers
do vote on it. Maybe, they discuss it a little bit, but they
do vote, most of the teachers.
B: I could ask you a question that might raise some -A but have you
ever seen- I know that this is private that you don't have to divulge
this if you don't want to, but at election time when we have most of the
times Indian people running, do you generally vote for straight Indian
ticket or do you kind of or have you seen occas ions where you'd
vote for a White who was running for a Board of Eduation?
S: Best I can remember I believe I voted for mostly Indians. Of course,
we have a few Indians that I ..L .. L.u fi .u a...., I think, so
S: and like everybody else, our people.have some just like other
that I wouldn't go along with.
B: Do you think that we might have an Uncle Tom or two? Ci + Af )
B: Now, we've covered a lot of ground, but one area I think would be helpful
if you'd talk a little bit about things that you think we could do to
improve school system.
B: First of all, integration is here to stay, don't you think?
S: Well, I guess it is.
B: So we might as well forget about all-Indian schools, going back to the
ways of our forefathers Now, in teaching did you ever hear of the
theory of *t4k-rf the Lost Colony taught in our school system?
S: No, not espedally so. f -9 ME '# 1 t "
B: Do you think that we ought to teach our children something about their
history and where they came from? Because historically there's a
theory that we are descendants of John White's Lost Colony,that we
intermarried, intermingled with Indians, and that we are the by-product
Do you hold to this theory?
S: Yes, I think*... Now, we do have that in history, dbn't we? `11A just c 2'
S(Cpeople right here, but they r say that they think that we are descendants
of t4" **.
B: Do you think that there ought to be a special supplement to
teach our children about their heritage and where they came from?
S: You mean, just to teach it to the Indian children or everybody?
B: Well, not that we're integrated, but teach it to everybody? Still we
are the predominate ace in the county school system.
S: Yes, I think that it would be right if we startedteaching itgiM c eTs rvw -
B: So you think that this would be one way that you think we should improve
the educational system in Robinson County? School system.
B: Now, other than the supplement, teach our childrenabout being an Indian
and where they came from? &iztat other areas do you think we mculd
work on to improve education? in Robinson County for Indian children?
S: Well, I think it would be nice for us to have kindergarten in" all
we don't have it iL
our schools. 'ven though, we're startingall the schools. It would
be nice to have it. for all the children. They have music special
teachers for music, ad- special readig- teacher, special edj aik
S: pe-C teachers forte different classes.
B: Yeah, I think that if we could do that, education would improve
considerably, and I appreciate your taking time to give me this interview.
We've been interviewing Mrs. Margaret Sampson, a teacher with thirty-seven
years experience in the Robinson County School System. Thirty-seven years
of teaching that has given some of us an opportunity to get out and find
out about ourselves and again, "thank you very much, Mrs. Sampson."