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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Mrs. A. R. Godfrey (G)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Interviewer: Lew Barton (I)
August 2, 1973
Typed by: P. F. Williams
I: This is August 2, 1973. I'm Lew Barton recording for
the University of Florida's History Department and for
the Doris Duke Foundation on their American Indian
Oral History Program. Today I am in Charlotte, North
Carolina, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Godfrey,
and Mrs. Godfrey has kindly consented to give me an
interview. Mrs. Godfrey, would you tell us a little
something about yourself and your family?
G: My name is 6SA y Godfrey. I was formerly O _4.
Barton. I have three children: a daughter twenty-
nine years old, a son twenty-five years old, and a
I: Would you give us their names?
G: The twenty-nine year-old daughter is Barbara. She's
married and she's now Mrs. Barbara Nixon. And the son
is still single. The younger daughter is Angela,
nineteen, she was married in June and her married name
LUM 135A 2
I: Where were you born?
G: I was born and reared in Robeson County.
I: Who did you marry?
G: I married Allen Godfrey of Charlotte, and we've been
living in Charlotte for the last thirty years.
I: Gosh, that's a long time.
I: Do you see any differences in the lifestyle of
people in Robeson and people, say, in Charlotte?
Have you lived in Charlotte proper all this time,
or in different areas of Charlotte?
G: We lived in the county part of the time and about half
of the time in the city. As for the first question,
I don't really see a lot of differences, you know,
in the rural communities. The lifestyles people
are pretty much the same.
I: Uh-huh. You own your own home?
I: What does your husband do?
G: My husband's a salesman. He sells automotive supplies.
I: I bet he's a good one, too.
LUM 135A 3
G: He manages to make a living.
I: He certainly has a nice personality.
G: Thank you.
I: People say that with modern conveniences housewives
don't have very much to do these days. Do you
G: Well, housekeeping's certainly a lot easier, but I
don't see that...if you have children you still
stay pretty busy, ,ut since mine are all grown I
do have a little leisure time to do things I
especially enjoy doing.
I: I want to ask you about women's lib,Awomen's liberation
movement. Is it very active in Charlotte?
G: Yes, I would say so, although I'm not a part of it
so I really don't know too much about it. I go
along with some of their views and some I don't.
For instance, the word "Ms.," I hate.41t I'm proud
to be Mrs. A. R. Godfrey and I don't want to be
called Ms. But I believe in equal pay for equal
work, and quite a few of their objectives. But
LUM 135A 4
the bra-burning, for instance, I don't go along with
stuff like that and trying to be a man in every way.
I like to be feminine and I like my man to be masculine.
I want the difference.
I: Oh, that's good. Guys are gonna love you for that.
G: I hope so.
I: I don't know about the women's libbers. I run into
some of them once in a while and we always argue
just a little bit. The eternal battle of the sexes,
just in fun. But, uh, what do you do for hobbies?
Do you have any hobbies?
G: Yes. I like to fool around with the guitar a little
bit just for fun.
I: The guitar.
G: Uh-huh. And...
I: Would you like to play some for us?
G: Not especially. I'm not very good. I do that in
private just for my own pleasure. My husband plays
some and he plays the harmonica, and we kind of have
fun with it.
I: That sounds like fun.
LUM 135A 5
G: Do just...try to do just a little bit of composing.
I: What do you compose, poetry or music, or...?
G: Iltry to compose music right now. I've just done
two songs so far. I'm doing the music, too. I had
just fooled around with the poetry before that, but
I'm trying to compose music now.
I: You had a very beautiful song that you were kind
enough to do for me before we started this interview.
I wonder if you'd give us the words or...would you
like to give the lyrics or would you like to sing it
or what? I'd like for them to hear that. I think
this was really good. You know, it starts off,
"You came down from Heaven/A mother to seek." Is
this song you wrote about some child you know or
G: Yes, it's a song I wrote, a lullaby for my youngest
daughter. When she was born I was so thrilled and
everything, I just felt that I had to express my
feelings and this is what I wrote.
I: What was her name? Which one is this?
G: This is Angela. Her name is Angela, which means
LUM 135A 6
"angel" and that's what the lullaby is about.
I: How does Angie feel about this?
G: She likes it very much. She took it with her to
school to show her teacher from first grade through
I: Well, that's a great compliment because children
usually don't say much about their parents around
other children, you know. This is really a great
compliment to you that she was proud to talk about
it in school, and it's about her and, of course,
I can understand why because it really is something
G: We had hoped to have it put on a music box for her
to keep as permanent keepsake, but so far we
haven't been able to find a way to do that. But
I still hope that I can sometime, which she wants
I: Would you mind reading the lyrics, and then we'll
play it. We'll get you to play it because this'll
give the melody for it. If I don't foul up here
with this tape recorder.
LUM 135A 7
G: You came down from Heaven
A mother to seek
With the kiss of an angel
Still warm on your cheek.
You nestle so closely, and darling, I swear
That heaven's own fragrance
Still clung to your hair.
You're so nearly an angel yourself, I declare
A halo and wings are the things you should wear.
Above the sweet sound of your first lusty cry
I heard a soft rustle, like wings, then a sigh.
Could it be that an angel was:hovering nigh,
Reluctant, my darling, to bid you good-by?
You're so nearly an angel yourself, I declare
A halo and wings are the things you should wear.
I: Hey, that is great. That is good. That's beautiful!
Do you mind playing it, or just;playing some of it
so that we can get the melody for it. We won't be
able to transcribe it on paper, but those who listen
to the tape, will be able to appreciate it. Well,
we could transcribe it by writing the lead sheet
or something. I want to know what the melody is.
I: Hey, that is beautiful. Did you write both the lyrics
and the melody for this?
G: Yes, I did.
I: How do you feel about being a Lumbee Indian, or do
LUM 135A 8
you ever even think about it?
G: Well, yes, I think about it. Not as much as when I
lived around other Indians because I seldom see any
anymore except my family. But I've always been proud
of being a Lumbee Indian and I still am.
I: Does it cause any kind of problems at all?
G: Oh, not at all.
I: That's great.
G: My husband thinks it's something special being part
Indian, and almost everybody I talk to says, "Oh, I
have some Indian blood in my family, too."
I: Well, Indians are more popular today. I think we're
living in the most benevolent period for the American
Indian ever. People are really opening up their
hearts to the original American and to his descendants.
Do you have any other hobbies besides writing poems
G: Yes. Another hobby is raising African violets.
I: What are they like? I don't even know. I'm a guy,
I guess that's why.
G: Well, it's one of our favorite house plants because
LUM 135A 9
it will bloom continuously in the housed people
like it very much and it takes a little different
conditions than the average things you grow in a
greenhouse, so you more or less need to grow just
African violets, specialize, which is what I did.
An I grew them and sold them wholesale for about
three years and then I decided to switch to another
hobby, and I grow quite a few just for pleasure now
but not any more commercially.
I: Seems like some of the Bartons--I hate to say this,
being a Barton myself--they seem to be musically
inclined. Isn't there a sister who teaches piano
and organ who also lives in Charlotte?
G: Yes, that's Mrs. Alta Warriax. She is a good pianist
and has been teaching music...I imagine she's taught
music for about fifteen years.
I: Well, maybe I'll get to interview her also. I hope
so, anyway. I seem to remember that you used to have
a hobby entering contests, entering every contest in
the country. What kind of luck did you have at this?
G: Well, nothing spectacular, but I did win some pretty
LUM 135A 10
good prizes along in the days when you saw a lot of
contests that called for telling why you liked the
product in twenty-five words or less, and naming
things. I did pretty well, nothing spectacular,
but I won a diamond pendant one time.
I: A diamond pendant.
G: And a fifty-dollar bond and that sort of thing.
Nothing spectacular. I even won a pair of cowboy
boots one time and another time a yo-yo.
I: A yo-yo. Mep .didn't you win a pair of skates one
time or something?
G: I won a pair of skates and I won a wristwatch one
time and a few cash prizes, not over,twenty dollar
cash prize. And something like a twenty-five
dollar bond, fifty dollar bond.
I: Well, that's a lot of fun and it does challenge you,
the nature of contests today. And these were...some
of these were national contests, weren't they?
G: Yes, they mostly all were national contests. There
were a few locals that I entered and won. And it
was easy to win in the locals than in the nationals.
| | | m md
LUM 135A 11
I: Well, these statement contests are based on skill,
skill with words, aren't they?
G: Yes. There's no luck involved except that one judge
might like your style a little bit better than another,
but it's not at all like the sweepstakes contests you
have where they draw numbers and it's all pure luck.
I: Uh-huh, no chance involved here at all.
G: You have to be original because usually the first
thing that pops into your head is the first thing.
that pops into somebody else's head, so you have
to go deeper than that and really try to be original
or you don't stand a chance of winning anything.
I: I wonder how these contests are judged. I mean...
G: Well there are agencies that just do that sort of
thing. That's their business, and the companies
that give the contests hire an agency to judge them.
And then, of course, when the agency picks the
winner the company awards the prizes to whomever...
I: VWThe people, then, whooconduct the contests have nothing
at all to do with the selection of the winners, do they?
LUM 135A 12
G: So I understand.
I: All right. Isn't the Reuben H. Donnelly Corporation,
is this in New York City, do you remember?
G: I can't remember now if it's in Chicago or New York,
but that is one of them. It's been quite a while
since I've done this because you don't see so many
of these contests anymore. It's all sweepstakes.
I: Uh-huh. This is a corporation set up Just for the
purpose of judgiAg contests, isn't it?
G: Yes, it is.
I: Well, I think it's a great shame that we're getting
away from that trend because luck, I guess it gives
more people a chance to win, but it isn't challenging.
It doesn't help you to develop in language skills
and that sort of thing. Don't you think so?
G: Yes,tat's true. I don't have any interest in the
sweepstakes at all. I feel the chance of winning
is too slim.
I; Did you feel a definite challenge when you were
entering these contests?
G: Oh, I did and I really enjoyed it and I was as proud
LUM 135A 13
to win a yo-yo as I was to win the diamond pendant.
It was just the thrill of winning, that they chose
mine o4'e a lot of the others, you know.
I: Right. Throughout the nation, that's something.
That must give you a great sense of personal pride.
I: What did you do in your, I hate to say younger years,
but we all were younger at a certain time than we are
at this moment. Even today we're a little older than
we were yesterday. But what did you do when you were
in your...were you in your teens when you...I seem
to remember that you joined the military service.
Which branch of the military service was this?
G: The WAC. I was one of the first to join the WACs,
the first group when it was formed during World War
Two. And at that time it was Woman's Auxliary Army,
WAAC, and later it was made a part of the Army and
G: And I served about a year in the WACs and it was
a great experience. I wouldn't take anything for it.
I: Where did you serve?
LUM 135A 14
G: I had my basic training in Des Moines, Iowa, and I
-served in Orlando, Florida, at the air base there
and at Camp Polk, Louisiana, and at Charleston,
I: Well, you were in on the very ground floor of this.
You know, this was a new idea at that time and it
was a controversial idea, even. People said, "Well,
you can't imagine women being in the Army or the Navy
or the other armed forces." But it worked out all
right, didn't it?
G: It must have since they went ahead and formed branches
of all the armed services, and I think it must have
worked out to suit everybody.
I: What they did at first was form auxiliary groups and
then later they made them regular parts of the armed
forces, didn't they?
G: That's right.
I: Well, you must have some pleasant memories about some
of these places. Some people don't take easily to
discipline. Did that bother you particularly?
G: Well, it bothered me some at first but I soon adjusted
LUM 135A 15
to it. It's kind of a different life altogether, and
you kind of expect it to be different in all respects
such as discipline and all the rest.
I: Did you have a sense of pride in your country and that
sort of thing where you weolee?
G: Yes. I know patriotism is not very popular today, but
I was. That was my main reason for going into the
service, as I felt that I wanted to do my part for
our country just the same as the boys and men were
doing, and I thought it was a wonderful opportunity
to serve my country and that's why I did it.
I: Well, women's libbers ought to hear that! Would you
give us your address, where you livechere in Charlotte?
I forgot to put it on the tape earlier.
G: Our address is 3214 June Drive.
I: J-u-n-e, as the month June?
G: That's right.
I: This is a little bit personal, but your husband or
you last night said something that sounded great to
LUM 135A 16
me. Oh, it was your husband, Allen. He said that in
the years that you've been married....how long has it
G: About thirty years.
I: Thirty years, and in all that time you hadn't spent
a night away from each other.
G: That's right.
I: Hey, that's quite a record. How about your church
affiliation? What denomination do you belong to?
G: We are Baptists, and....
I: Missionary Baptists?
G: Missionary Baptists, and we're members of Sharon Forest
Missionary Baptist Church. And as a matter of fact,
we help found it. We were there from the beginning.
I: Well, that's great. Do you help them sing or do any-
thing like this in church?
G: My husband and I both sing in the choir, and he teaches
an adult Sunday school class and I was Sunday school
secretary for a while. Unfortunately we're not as
regular in our attendance at church as we once were,
but we hope to get back into it more full-time than
at the present.
LUM 135A 17
I: Well, that's great. How about your cooking? Do
you do anything special with cooking? Do you like
G: I'm not the world's best cook, and...
I: You're being modest.
G: I like to cook desserts more than anything else and
do more experimenting with them. I like to take
recipes and change them around and try to come up
with something different or originate a new one.
I: Well, maybe someday you'll discover something like
Colonel Sanders did.
G: I doubt it.
I: And get rich and famous.
G: That would be nice.
I: Say, this is quite a home you have here. This is
a brick home, isn't it?
G: Yes, it is.
I: How large is it?
G: We have three bedrooms, living room, dining room,
bath and den. That's seven, I believe.
I: I was talking to your husband about his work, and I
said it must be a challenge being a salesman on your
LUM 135A 18
own. And how long has he been a salesman for this
auto parts company?
G: About twenty years.
I: Well, you just have...this is one field where you
definitely have to prove yourself, you know, and
you're dependent upon yourself, your own skill and
everything. He gets along so well with peopleend
I'm not surprised that he's a very successful sales-
man. He wouldn't think of himself too successfully,
but he's that modest. But he is quite a guy. I know
you're proud of him.
G: Yes, I really am,
I: By the way, do you have any relatives who live in
G: Yes. I have three sisters who live in Charlotte. I have
a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, who lives in Charlotte.
And Mrs. Alta Warriax lives in Charlotte. And also
Mrs. Thelma McCracken. Of course, all my husband's
relatives live in Charlotte or in South Carolina.
He was originally...he grew up at Waxaw and then
they moved to Charlotte and they...as children,
they all live in Charlotte, so he has a large number
LUM 135A 19
of relatives that are all around.
I: By the way, I ought to inject the spelling of these
words here, but I've been so fascinated with the
interview I forgot it. This name you mentioned is
w-a-x-a-w, right? Waxaw?
G: That's right.
I: And you mentioned Mrs. Warriax, this is w-a-r-r-i-a-x,
is that correct?
G: That's correct.
I: Thank you. You know, when you move from one area
into another, language is something that's affected
for we're all affectedby language. You know, every-
body speaks differently no matter...even from town
to town almost. So we sort of pick up the language
of the people we're around, so do you think our
people generally pick up sort of a second language
when they move out, or...I think everybody tries
to conform to some extent and I think we should.
But what was this you were saying about retaining
LUM 135A 20
G: I think we should keep up with what's going on and
learn new things and new ways, but I think we should
-retain some of the original expressions and ways of
doing things as part of our history. I don't think
they should be forgottenand I think it's important
to learn to live in the world we're living in and
communicate, but I do think we should hold on to
some of the old ways of doing things as part of ou.
I: Uh-huh. Sort of as a keepsake, right?
G: Yes. You know in different communities even in the
same state you find different accents and different
colloquialisms, and I think this just makes the world
a lot more interesting. I'd hate to think that we
all spoke just alike and didn't have any peculiar
expression of our very own from our section of the
I: We sure do have some different ones back home.
G: Yes, I can listen to a person talk a' just a few
words, and I know whether they're from where I grew
up around in Robeson County. I can tell by the
LUM 135A 21
accent. And of course, a lot of the colloquialisms
are the same, but I find a few that are strictly
Mecklenburg County and I know some of Union County
and some of Robeson County.
G: Of course, they have a lot of colloquialisms in
I: I got on the bus in Lumberton yesterday, and- two
ladies got on in Pembroke, as we rode through-Pembroke.
And they both knew the bus driver by some coincidence,
and they started talking and, you know, you could
notice the difference right away. And somebody was
talking about Pembroke, you know, they didn't know
I was from Pembroke. Said, "Why, I called over at
Pembroke and tried to get some information, but they
don't know anything,-over there." And right away, I
said, "They know as darned much in Pembroke as they
do in Lumberton and maybe a lot more."
G: Did you get a reply to that?
I: No, nobody said a word. Everybody just froze up.
So they knew right away then that I was from Pembroke,
I guess. But I sort of wear it on my sleeve, I guess,
LUM 135A 22
or on my shoulder. I don't know.
G: I'll tell you, I've learned that...I'm not responsible
for anybody else and I've learned to, you know, if I
hear somebody make a derogatory remark sometime, why,
I think it doesn't do any good and maybe creates.some
hard feelings if you kind of take up for a section of
the country or a group of people. So I've learned to
just let it pass because I know people have all kinds
of feelings. I don't always agree but, you know, it's
hard to know sometimes whether you should speak up,
/nless they ask. If they ask my opinion, of course,
I'll tell them, but if they don't I find that you
usually can't change anyone's mind anyway, so I just
don't say anything most of the time.
I: Right. That's a good philosophy, but I'm just a little
bit different and I have to root a little bit for the
home team, I guess.
G: I can understand that.
I: But if I lived away as you do...I haveilived.away for
a while on occasion, but usually I go back. I always
LUM 135A 23
G: I'll tell you, I never... living in Charlotte, I never
come in any contact with any anti-Indian sentiment
at all. Everybody seems to think they're something
special and you're treated just like everybody else,
so I don't run into any discrimination whatsoever.
And so I really never even think about being any
different from anybody else that I'm living around.
I know that I am, and as I said before, I'm proud
of my heritage but I just feel like I'm an American
and that's that.
1L: Uh-huh. Well, it's good to feel that way because
you do have to adjust. You do have to live in a
world with other people, so that's a good philosophy.
G: I find that most of my friends would be surprised if
I spoke up about discrimination because they don't
discriminate, or at least I haven't run into anybody
that does, And they don't understand it. Even my
husband wil4-accuse me of having a chip on my shoulder
if I said anything about it because he doesn't realize
that...you know and I do, too, that where the population
is mostly Indian that they are discriminated against
a certain extent. But I've been from around that,
LUM 135A 24
you know, so long that it really doesn't...I just
don't run into the problem.
I: We find that discrimination, this sort of thing,
begins after you cross the Robeson County line.
I hate to say anything like this about my native
county which I love very much, but this happens to
be true. And as you say, this is certainly true.
Where there's one kind--I hate to say kind" of people
but it's the best word I know--and where there is
a little difference, people do have a tendency to
discriminate particularly when the numbers are large.
For example, when I was in the Navy our home base was
in Norfolk, Virginia. People there felt terrible
towards sailors but they took soldiers and marines
to their hearts. But they looked on us as though
we were dogs or something, Jt seemed to me at that
G: I-heard...you know, my husband was a sailor also and
he said some of the restaurants or what-have-you would
have "No Dogs or Sailors Allowed" written on the door.
I: That's true. And there's a joke they always told, and
LUM 135A 25
this is a little risque, I hope you'll excuse it if
you think it is. But this sailor said he went to a
home to see this girl and he was standing out in the
yard talking to this girl, and her father came to the
door and said, "Daughter, you come in this house, and
bring the cow with you." They don't trust sailors
and they don't trust anybody where the numbers are
great, I guess.
G: I think it's because they feel threatened about losing
their identity, maybe when, you know, so many sailors,
they feel the sailors are going to take over. Or so
many Indians they're afraid the Indians will take over.
Or so many blacks they're afraid the blacks will take
over. Don't you think that has something to do with
I: Yes, I'm sure it has something to do with it. We have
a peculiar situation in Robeson County, as you know.
Mrs. Godfrey, I have a book here which was given to
me, or lent to me, by the Health Department and it's
called Health and Related Statistics, Robeson County,
North Carolina. Would you like to look at some of the
LUM 135A 26
actual figures of the population? We have many
charts and graphs in this book, and I think it's
very helpful. It was prepared by the Robeson
County Health Department and the statistics were
furnished by that department and also by the
North Carolina Board of Health. For example,
we have something on the population by race.
Would you look at that chart there and give us
the figures for 1960 and 1970? If you would,
give us the 1960 figures first and then the 1970.
I think you'll even be interested in this.
G: Let's see here.
I: In 1960, there were 36,552 white people, 26, 256
black people, 26, 294 Indian people, making a total
of 89, 102. In 1960, the white people formed 41%
of the county's total population. In 1960, the
black people formed 29.5% of the county's total
population) nd Indian people formed 29.5% of
the county's total population. Now, in 1960,
there were 0.8% less; or fewer, white people than
ten years previously. And these-figures are based
LUM 135A 27
on official U. S. Census reports. Now let me repeat
that in case I made an error. There were 0.8% fewer
white people in 1960, say, than 1950. And there
were 16.3% fewer black people than in 1950. And
there were 1.6% more Indian people than in 1950.
So the "vanishing American" really isn't vanishing,
G: It doesn't sound that way.
I: Not in Robeson County anyway. Well, let's go over
the figures for 1970. Now, we're given the figures
and the percentages for 1960. Let's look at the
differences today. In 1970, there 36,262 white
citizens, forming 42.7% of the totals, the county's
total population. Now, in the same year there were
21,876 black people, forming 25.8% of the county's
total population. There were 26,704 Indian people
forming 31.5% of the county's total population.
Now all three of these races together in 1970 gave
a total of 84,842. So you can see that we've lost
somn of our people. Remember we said a while ago
that in 1960 there were 89,102 and in 1970 there
were just 84,842. Now, don't you think these are
LUM 135A 28
G: Yes, I find them very interesting. But let me ask you,
how did you lose that amount of the population? Did
they move away, as I did, or what?
I: Yes, generally that's true. Now, more black people
than anyone else leaves Robeson County. This is
called by the Health Department the "out-migration.."
More black people leave than anyone else, and more
Indians leave than white people. Fewer white people
leave. The white people in Robeson County have a
tendency to stay put. So you can see, though, that
these very important statistics are changing and
the population picture is changing. And when the
population picture changes, the political situation
changes and other things change. But the birtlate
is pretty high for Indians and black people and it's
decreasing for white people. But there are other
factors which offset this, the out-migration and
things of this nature. In 1960, we lost 290 white
people and that is a loss of 0.8%. We lost 4,380
black people, which is a loss of 16.3%. But we
gained 410 Indian people, which is a gain of 1.6%.
LUM 135A 29
And of course, if you want to think about the total
number of changes, it adds up to a loss of 4,260
people for the entire county. And that's 4.8%
change. Now, I can remember when Robeson County
had a hundred thousand people. But they are
changing dramatically and the Indians are dramatically
on the increase, and our black people are slowly
being reduced in number. I just thought I'd men-
tion these statistics because I know you are
interested in your home county.
G: Yes, I find it very interesting.
I: Well, these are very interesting statistics and on
another tape I will give all these statistics because
they are official and I think they are important.
In other words, you don't base everything on dtatis-
tics, but statistics can lie, people say, but they
are very important. And so to give a complete pic-
ture of Robeson County, I'll give all these statistics
later on on another tape.
G: Let me ask you something, Lew. Speaking of the
census, do you think that the count of the different
races was accurate?
LUM 135A 30
I: Well, I think it was accurate for whites and blacks,
but the U. S. Census reports on Indians in the county
have always been notoriously inaccurate. The Indians
always claim that there are many more Indians than
are enumerated as Indians. We had, perhaps, a very
accurate census enumeration in 1950 because in that
year the census taker didn't just look at you and
put you down according to the way you appeared to
be. He came out and asked you. Everybody was asked
to list their own race, and so, although that wasn't
absolutely accurate it was certainly more accurate
than in other years because this was sort of a do-
it-yourself census. But many Indians have always
been enumerated as whites, and this is very dis-
concerting when you're trying to deal with official
figures like this because you never know exactly
how many Indians you have. Sometimes our people
are listed as whites for one purpose by people in
public office, and sometimes they have been listed
as Indians for other purposes,-and maybe even blacks
on occasion, or non-whites or something like that,
depending on the particular thing the people want
LUM 135A 31
to prove at the moment or want to show at the moment.
So this makes for great uncertainty in enumerating
the Indians of Robeson County. I sort of resent
this because I don't think you should use people
in this particular way. I think if you don't know,
if you're in doubt, you don't have to depend on
appearance, you can ask them what they are. I know
sometimes it's very difficult to identify Indians
as Indians. For example, I went past a lady's home
who lived in the community with this family, and
we stopped at this house some time ago and I asked
her, I said, "Are these Indians or are these:white
people?" She said, "They're white people." But
the lady and her children came out to the car and
they started talking to us......... .........
Side Two of the interview with Mrs. A. R. Godfrey of
Charlotte, North Carolina. We were interrupted at
the end of the tape. I was telling about the time
another Indian and I went past this lady's home and
she and her children came to the door and we didn't
LUM 135A 32
know what race they belonged to, and I asked her, "Are
these Indians or are thesewhite people?" And she
said, "They're white people." But they came out to
the car and after they started talking, we knew right
away that they were Indians. We knew by their accent,
by their language. We also knew because they told
us some of their relatives, and they were related
to people whom we knew very well. So this is always
a problem, the problem of enumerating Indians accurately.
There have always been those Indian people who claim
that we form much more than one-third of the county's
total population. But of course, this situation is
exploited by people in public office on occasion, not
all of them but some of them, depending on what par-
ticular thing they want to prove at the moment. If
they want to get in on a certain program and this
program is geared toward Indians, then you're gonna
have more Indians than you would have had in another
situation. If it's geared toward black people, they'll
pad it a little bit in that direction. If it's geared
toward white people they'll pad it a littlefin that
direction. And they can get by with this sort of thing
LUM 135A 33
simply because you can't always identify an Indian
as an Indian simply by looking at him. You have
to know his relatives, you have to know his last name,
you have to know something about...well, his language.
People in the county know an Indian by his language
because it is definitely different from that of the
other two races. But good gosh, I'm doing all the
G: I would like to say that as I grew up in Robeson
County I was always under the impression that the
Indians greatly out-numbered the whites and blacks.
I: This has always been the claim among our people.
I've always heard this and I've always believed
this. But of course, they want to...the other races
would like to have as large a number as possible.
That's natural and I suppose it's natural for us
to feel that way. But it does make for great inac-
curacy when you're trying to compile official records,
and I'm sure that many a person trying to make such
an enumeration has felt like tearing his hair out on
G: Well, the only way you would ever get an accurate one,
I think, would be as you say for someone to take it and
LUM 135A 34
not go by appearances but ask each person, interview
what race they belong to and that way you would get
an accurate count.
I: Yes, well, that's what was done in 1950. I believe
we mentioned that, and of course, I assume that this
was one of the most accurate census reports ever taken,
because in that year it was sort of a do-it-yourself
census and people were asked to list their own race,
which they did. It used to be assumed that if an
Indian had a chance to list himself as white that
he would just about break his neck to do so. But
within recent years we've found that the trend is the
other way. It's actually in the other direction
and this is another thing about prejudice. You see,
this was a thing brought about by fear, you.know, about
being overrun and this sort of thing. But the
Indians never have rushed madly toward becoming white
or becoming black or becoming anything else. Actually
they want to be enumerated as Indians, and they've
always been known as Indians and they cling tenaciously
to this. And I think this was a great surprise to
LUM 135A 35
many people. Certainly it was a surprise to the Ku
Klux Klan in 1966. You know, in 1958, the Ku Klux
Klan came through and we had this nttle of Hayes'
eeld when hundreds of rounds of ammunition was
fired by the Indians at the Klansmen and the Klansmen
took to flight. Well, the whole thing started sort
of as a mistake because the Ku Klux Klan being from
the neighboring state of South Carolina came into
Robeson County thinking that there was a.lot of
race-mixing going on, and they were gonna do some-
thing about it. And they proclaimed wide and near
that they were going to teach the Indians a lesson.
And the papers were full of this. But when they
were disastrously defeated, psychologically anyway,
nationwide by our people because the press releases
were devastating. And this was the beginning of the
fall for the Klan. After they did this, I think
they realized theirmnistake and eventually they
did come back. They came back in 1966 and we
have newspaper accounts to prove this. And they
had a different tactic this time. They were very
friendly to ie Indian people and, actually, they
LUM 135A 36
invited all Indians to become members of the Ku Klux
Klan, which is perhaps the most exclusive racial
organization in America. Or one of them, anyway.
And perhaps this is unprecedented in their history.
But they did invite the Indians to join in the Ku
Klux Klan, and they probably assumed that the Indians
would be complimented by this and would rush madly
to join the Ku Klux Klan. So, on a night after much
haggling about them coming back into Robeson County,-
and after a couple of court orders had been issued
forbidding them to come to Robeson County for fear
that there would be bloodshed or something, they
decided to come to a neutral place, that neutral
place being Fayetteville. They came over there on
an appointed night, ready to sign up the Lumbee
Indians. Lo and behold, when the time came, not
one of our people showed up to join. And that
surprised even me because, you know, you always
have somebody on the fringe or you assume that you
G: Well, that's a relief to hear of that. I'm glad...
I: Yeah, I was never prouder of our people than I was
LUM 135A 37
at this moment. This was...this was great judgment
on their part. So our people are not as naive as
is generally assumed, I'm glad to say. I was very
pleased. I was all ears to hear if anybody was
coming over there to join the Klan that night. Not
a darned soul showed up.
G: That's really good news.
I: It's funny, the whole thing's funny--or it would be
funny if it were not so tragic. And of course, I
have no personal feelings against the Klan. I've
been to Klan meetings, you know, just out of curiosity.
They didn't know that...and I was invited to join when
they passed the literature around because they assumed
that I was white, too. But I was sort of sneaking in,
and I don't do this very often because if they did
happen to discover that you were non-white, I don't
know what would happen if you were one person among
several hundred Ku Klux Klansmen. But anyway, these
are interesting things, aren't they?
G: Yes, they are.
I: I certainly appreciate your willingness to give us
this interview, Mrs. Godfrey. It's been a very
LUM 135A 38
enlightening one and a very interesting one as well.
Are there any things that you would like to add before
we close it?
G: I really can't think of anything except to say that
I've enjoyed talking with you and I hope it proves
interesting to somebody.
I: Well, I'm sure it will. There is an interest in our
people nationwide, actually. Since 1958, I've had
enquiries from every state in the union. I've tried
to furnish some sort of information just as a courtesy,
but it's helped me because it helped me to gain more
knowledge of our people. Well, for the Doris Duke
Foundation and for the University of Florida's Histry
Department, I want to thank you very much for this very
G: You're quite welcome. I enjoyed it.
--END OF TAPE--