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LUM-182A Transcribed: 148 5
April 24, 1974 K.Johnson
INTERVIEWER: Lew Barton
INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Aileen Holmes
B: This is. April 24, 1974. I'm Lew Barton, recording for the University of
Florida History Department Oral History Program. Today I'm over in the
Barkerton mile area?
H: Saddle Creek Beauty Shop, in the Saddle Tree section.
B: Right, we're over here at the Saddle Tree Beauty Shop, and you are the young
lady who operates it?
B: What is your name?
H: Aileen Holmes.
B: Oh. And who is this young lady you're beautifying?
H: Oh, this is Mrs. tira Carter, and she's from the Piney Grove area.
B: I see. How do you enjoy doing work like this?
H: Oh, I love my work--this is part of my life.
B: Yeah. You're a very busy girl, aren't you, these days?
H: Quite busy.
B: In addition to running your beauty shop you do so many other things, besides,
H: Well, I'm quite busy and quite active in a few social activities and political
activities and educational activities and you name it and I sort of get involved.
B: Right, well I like somebody who gets involved. I've always managed to do that
pretty well, too, except in another field. Tell me something--what happened
since I talked to you last?
B: Alot of things have been happening, haven't they?
H: Quite a few, quite a few happening. Right now, I think our political cam-
H: paign is the biggest issue in Robeson County and it's going pretty well.
Hopefully it will be real favorable.
H: At this time we really need some good, constructive people in the political
world and our local government, state government, federal government as well.
B: Right. I know what you mean. What happened...can you tell us something
about what happened recently when the Robeson County Board of Commissioners
voted to...one way and the rest of the people voted another on a certain
H: Well...excuse me. I'm not too informed on this. I've read a little bit about
it in the paper. I'm really not in the know enough to really get out on that
but I think it was sort of a split vote...it was not in our favor, but I
think each individual is entitled to their own thinking, so whatever their
reasons were, I just don't know what...
H: ...the education of their students...
B: I understand that our Indian Commissioners, Herman Dial and Mr. Locklear pro-
posed a vote of confidence on the Lumbee Bill, but they were outvoted.
H: Although there are three of them.
H: Mr. Judge Willis supported that resolution as well.
B: Is he a white gentleman?
H: He is a white.
B: Well... i S r
H: -a !T S 4 Tf v it's my understanding that Mr. Sam Nobles,
a\f. L& ;rMaA^Q _____ ____ _" and if I am understanding correctly,
it was 'IIppqrtpd r.-f4' five vote, with Mr. Judge supporting the resolution.
H: The only white, I believe, that supported that...
B: I wonder why the whites are against the Lumbee Bill?
H: I have no idea. I think...I could speculate a little bit, but I could be
B: Well, it would...it would at least be an informed opinion.
H: I'm not sure that it would be an informed, just an opinion sort of off the
wall, but I think, you know, as past history has proven that we've sort of
been controlled by the whites...we haven't sort of, we have definitely, and
I think this would give us a little more independence they would rather we
didn't have right now. And maybe a few other fringe benefits along...a
few other fringe benefits...excuse me, I'm working and trying to do...
H: ...answer your questions, getting all fouled up.
B: You're prettying her up just fine.
H: Thank you, I need that...that's good publicity, a good plug here for my bus-
iness. Going back to the county and our Indian issues I think that it
would certainly be in our favor to have some support from the whites on the
Bill amendment, but hopefully we'll get it across if we don't get that sup-
B: Right. I guess I need to explain here a little something about what the
Lumbee Bill is. It's a bill that was first introduced by Congressman B.
Everett Jordan, or it's virtually the same bill, and now it was introduced
by Congressman Charlie Rose...am I getting my sights straight?
B: And we are having hearings on it yet, aren't we?
H: Yes, I understand that we are.
B: But there are some people opposed, and this particular bill would strike out
B: the part of the Congressional bill recognizing the Lumbee Indians as American
Indians which states that they shall not be entitled to any special bene-
fits because of their status as Indians. And of course, Mr. Jordan and
Mr. Jordan and Mr. Rose also say that this is discriminatory, because it's
like giving it to you in one breath and taking it away in the next.
B: But anyway, have you heard lately about what progress this bill is making?
H: Well, I haven't heard anything recently from this. Mr. Rose is going to be
in the area over the weekend, I understand, and hopefully we'll get first-
hand information on the bill. To my knowledge, I don't think it's moved
along any furhter.
B: Do you think our people are overwhelmingly in favor of the Lumbee Bill?
H: Majority, yes.
B: Except for the opposition--we've had some opposition, I think from the
group which calls itself the Tuscarora, and particularly one...this Tuscarora
group is divided into two camps, well, two segments, really, and this is
this the group...this is the splinter group--would you call...I'd call it
a splinter group, I think, wouldn't you?
H: Well, I'm not sure how we would categorize these groups...
B: But this is the one that...
H: ...But I think the Lumbee is the majority group, but to my understanding we're
getting some flak from the other areas;from the reservation of western Indians,
the Cherokee reservation.
B: I talked to Commissioner Brantley Blue in Washington, D.C. the other night
and he was telling me about this and I asked him the reason for it, and he
said that reservation Indians were afraid that we would get...if...when we
get money for programs, that it would take away from their programs, that
B: they would lose if we come in.
H: Well, this was my understanding, that they are not willing to share, or they're
afraid they'll have to share, but if I understand right, this is not going
to be the case at all.
B: No, I don't think...
H: I think there'sAprr.vided for all the Indians...it's just a principle that
really makes the difference.
B: Yeah, well I think it's a good bill myself and I know it should be passed.
Either we should be recognized as American Indians fully and completely or
not at all.
H: Right. I agree.
B: I believe in going whole hog on anything.
H: I'll agree. I think we need full recognition, and I think it's high time we
got that recognition. We've sort of been in the back seat long enough.
B: For the benefit of our listeners and readers who don't know this, I should
explain here that you are a member of the Robeson County Board of Education
and even with all the double voting situation and everything else, you
managed to win, and I think this is certainly wonderful and maybe this has
been our trouble all along--we needed more women in the political arena.
H: That I'll agree with. We need more women. We're the backbone of the world.
B: Especially charming women like you.
H: Well, I wouldn't say that but I think we need more concerned women, women
who are willing to sacrifice a little time and who are willing to apply
themselves, and who are dedicated women.
B: Right, and you're certainly all of these things. I don't know how you find
time for all the things you have to do. You're so busy that, like right now
you're working and I'm talking to you. This characterizes you, I think.
H: Well, I think we have to sort of put things in their proper perspective, we
have to do first things first, and I've got to make a living, but in the
meantime I can kill two birds with one stone. I can do my work, and I have
to make a few sacrifices...I can maybe get my family to agree to do without
or to go out and eat, and maybe at that time I can put towards doing something
that would be helpful in some of the other activities that I've got involved
in. It's through their cooperation that I'm able to keep up the things that
I'm involved with and to do a lot of the things that I'm doing right now.
And through concern, too.
B: That's good. How does your husband feel about this? Does he stand behind you
and support you and help you along, or...
H: He stands behind me but he gets a little...
B: Or do you work together?
H: We work together...we work together. It has to be a cooperative thing or
you just couldn't...you'd have to give upnep l r t of it, so he's pretty
B: Well, that's wonderful. You make a wonderful team, I think.
H: Well, thank you.
B: Who did you say this charming lady is, whose hair you're fixing?
H: This is Mrs. frKVtNy Carter, and she is a concerned citizen as well. She
is from over in the Piney Grove area, or between Lumberton and Piney Grove,
if you want to get a little more specific. And she is one of my regular cus-
tomers that helps keep me in business...;a real interesting person.
B: That's wonderful, it's certainly wonderful. What are you doing to her hair
H: Right now I'm shampooing and setting, and I gave her a hair cut--I'm just
making her beautiful.
B: Right, well, you're adding...she's already beautiful, and you're going to...
H: I'm completing...
B: ...you're going to enhance her beauty a little bit, right?
H: ...right. I'm just doing the finishing touches.
B: It's...I guess it's...it's easy to be beautiful, but you need the time keep
H: Right. I say "make her beautiful" as a figure of speech. I think...I say
that to all my customers, assuming that women, you know, most of us when we
go into a beauty shop and come out that we are really, we have really been
made beautiful, you know? But she is a pretty woman, and she was beautiful
before she came in, I'll agree with you. But I think...I'm doing the finishing
touches- you know. There's always a little room at the top, so I'm working
at the top right now.
B: Do you enjoy this kind of work?
H: I do enjoy my work. I meet a lot of interesting people.
B: How do you enjoy your civic activities?
H: Fine. I enjoy...I sort of work those hand in hand. I can do a lot of my
civic work right here in the shop, you know, as I work, do my business work.
B: Hey, that's good, because you come into contact with a lot of people, don't
H: Right. You can do a whole lot right through this beauty shop. This is a
good source of learning, here, and it's also a good source of getting a mes-
sage across to the people if there's an important issue that needs, you know,
to be gotten across?
H: And this is a good way to get it across.
B: Tell me something about this community, your community.
H: Well, of course, you know, I'm going to praise my own commune.
H: I think it's a good, quiet, growing, progressive community. I think we've
got some people in the community. I think our school has improved, we had
some problems but we're on the way up now, and I think everything is moving
just fine. Most people own their homes in this community. It's majority
Indians right through this section. As a matter of fact, our precinct is
predominately Indian, and I think we have close to between nine and a thou-
sand people registered, and we're all concerned, and we get most of those
people to the poll on election day, too. So, I'm real proud of community.
B: Well I'm proud of it too. I think it's a wonderful community and you've
made great progress. And you've been a very real part of this.
H: Well thank you. I don't know that I've been a real part, but I think I've
contributed my little share.
B: Could youitell me--have you had any surprises since you became a member of
the Robeson County Board of Education?
H: Surprises--yes, I think I had some.
B: Was it worse than you thought, or not as bad?
H: Well, I think people in general are prone to lean with pressure, and that's
our human nature. And I think this is true with the Robeson County Board of
Education. I think they're fair-minded people, but they were listening to
demands of the people who were applying the most pressure, and I think if
we, as the Indians who, I feel, have been sort of left out and I don't feel
that our schools were up to par. I feel that we were, as I said before, in
the back seat, and all I think they were waiting for is for us to ask. People
are not going to give you anything in this world. You've got to either...
you've got to ask for it or fight for it, so I felt that by being on the
H: Board if I asked for things and showed a real need for them in the areas that
?04(iCwA r AtZ.s
I felt that needed these I think were...whatever had happened to these that
I was asking for, that it was, that the people sort of leaned over backwards
to see if they could help us in that situation.
B: Hey, that sounds great.
H: But I found this to be very true. I think the people are willing to...to
help and I think they want to do what's right.
B: You don't think...
H: You need more people on that Board who are concerned enough to let these peo-
ple know our needs and then work toward trying to accomplish the needs.
B: Well, that sounds optimistic and a little bit better than I would have thought
if I had been going in just as you have, you did.
H: Well, I went in a little optimistic too, because I had heard so many stories
and I knew that the educational system was sort of biased, I knew it was
warped, and I didn't know why, so this is my reason for getting in the race.
I wanted to get inside and see what would happen and see what caused the
Indians to have less educational, well, we've had less of everything--not
only educational opportunites...we've had less economical opportunities as
well, but I figured by getting on the Board I'd be able to find out a little
something about the educational system, which I have. I've said earlier,
I think it's just a process of asking, or showing a need and then working
towards that need.
B: Well that's great, I hope we're making progress. How about the educational
err 4 PSU*
gaps between our schools and __ ? What are we doing to sort of
bridge that gap?
B: Or what can we do?
H: I think that there's a lot that can be done. I think that our counselors
are sort of dragging their feet in some areas, and maybe parents as well...
B: Bee0 my smoking bother you?
H: No, go ahead. The parents play a big role there, too...I think as parents
we need to become more concerned about our children and their educational
process, and the teachers need to become more concerned. We've got some
good teachers--I'm not criticizing teachers in general, but we've got some
who would be better off if they would retire, go back to the cotton field.
(laughter) This is true in many establishments or anything that you start--
you're going to have some apples...bad apples in all the barrels.
B: Right, and of course that's true of all three groups, isn't it?
H: Yes it is. Excuse me just a minute.
B: Now we can resume our in terview while you work. Am I getting in your way?
H: No, you're fine.
B: Are you...
H: I'm sorry to have to keep twisting and turning and disturbing you...
B: That's alright--I'm imposing on you. Now you're changing customers--who
H: This is Miss...Mrs. Sandra Black from St. Paul. She works with_____
she's a regular customer, too, a real attractive, real fine person, truly
concerned as well. She's one that I preach to regular. She's helping me
campaign for some of the people who I think are good candidates for office
right now, taking some of the cards around.
B: Well that's fine. Would you say hello to us on this tape?
B: What did you...what did she say your name was?
S: Sandra Black.
B: Are you a regular customer of hers?
B: She's quite a girl, isn't she?
B: Besides being a great beautician and great leader, she's also a great human
being, isn't she?
S: Right, she sure is.
H: I don't think she can hear you too well. I've got her down here with the
water going over her head.
B: Well this is...I'm doing a little experimenting here, because I like to
reach people where they are. If I get in your way, just give me a nudge,
H: This is really getting me involved, isn't it? This is getting where people
B: Right. But that's the way we have to do anything, I guess--get where the
people are and... a ahead...
H: Excuse me. That's what's important, anyway, is to reach the people, no matter
if you have...where you have to go to reach them, it's important that we get
ith i s. .
B: Find our what their needs are and what their problems are and then try to accom-
odate, or to adjust something.
H: To relieve their problems if we can.
B: I can see you do a...you have a good business going here, and it must keep you
pretty busy. You have to do most of your...civic work at night, don't you?
H: Quite a bit. Yes, quite a bit, A Ae SO
B: You lose any sleep?
H: Not a whole lot. I'm late getting to bed, as a rule, anyway, so actually I
don't lose a lot of sleep. No, I don't. I have to...of course, I have to
sacrifice some time, sometimes I close, maybe half a day and attend meetings
that are in the afternoon, and sometimes I close, maybe for two or three
days. I've just gotten back from the National School Board convention, which
was about a week, so I've been...I closed down for a week in order to attend
this national convention, which was real helpful and a real interesting con-
B: Well tell us about that.
H: Well it was...
B: Was this over in Washington?
H: No, this was held in Houston, Texas. We...North Carolina chartered a flight
from Raleigh. As a-matter of fact, we chartered two flights out of the
state--one from Charlotte and one from Raleigh. And we had quite a few peo-
ple from North Carolina there. As a matter of fact, I believe there was
about 250 from North Carolina and about between 18 and 20 thousand that attended
the convention. It was a real big affair, and we also took in some sight-
seeing while we were there. We visited the Astrodome and NASA, and several
places of interest, but the convention itself was the most interesting part
because it was a learning experience for me. It was real helpful and made me
more aware of my responsibilities to my community and to my county, and it was
enlightening as far as the new methods of education or teaching and some of
the other aspects of education. We...it was real learned from that standpoint...
I just thoroughly enjoyed it.
B: Well that's good.
H: I combined it--a vacation and a learning experience together.
B: Well that's great. Did you see Commissioner Blue?
B: No, no, he didn't attend that, I recall.
H: No, he wasn't there, no... I'm going to be attending one in May in Chapel Hill.
This is going to be a state convention, and I see: Commissioner Blue quite
often, but it's usually local, and I talk to him occasionally by phone. He
calls occasionally. He's a very interesting person, too.
B: He's a hard worker, too, isn't he?
H: He is...I think he's a dedicated person.
B: I think he's been a big blessing to our people.
H: Let me move it around here a little bit.
B: Well that's quite alright. Tell me something about the double voting issue.
B: Where are we what progress have we made?
H: The last I heard from an attorney who is working real close with that double
voting issue...he...at that time Ias real hopeful that it would be settled
within the next few days- jb Brooks--a law student at this particular time,
and attorney of the future. But if they have made any further progress I
just haven't heard. Have you?
B: No, I ...the only thing I know is what Ransom of the Carolina Indian Voice...
he keeps in pretty close contact with that. This is one of his, one of the
campaigns that he's really into.
H: I'll agree. He's really working with that, and so is > this law student
who I just mentioned...but he is working closely with this Bernie C ---'
who is real...is an attorney and...
B: That's the attorney from Chapel Hill...
B: ...who's been so benevolent to our people.
H: He really has. And Des was to get in touch with me as soon as he learned
B: That's Dexter Brooks?
H: Dexter Brooks. But apparently nothing has come through. He was hoping for
another opinion, but apparently nothing has come through yet.
B: I see. Well Dexter Brooks is a law student at UNC right now, isn't he?
H: He is. And he's worked very, very hard with this double voting issue and
I think this is one of the things that inspired him to go into the law practice
because he saw a lot of things...I think his eyes were open to a lot of unfair
practices in the county when he began to dig up some history on this thing,
so ,rte H SOO he announced that he would...after he starts working,
he announced that he was going into law practice.
B: They voted again on the Robeson County election board, recently, and I think
they changed officers. As you know, John Robert Jones, who was the first
Indian to become chairman of that, and there was a lot of trouble in getting
him seated, but he served his time out didn't he?
H: Yes, he did. He served his time out and was replaced with another Repuplican,
Revels, Ray Revels...
B: Uh huh.
H: ...this year, '74.
B: Replaced by another what, did you say?
B: I didn't know that was possible
H: Oh, it is...anything's possible.
B: He was replaced by...and he's also an Indian?
H: No, he isn't.
B: What's his name again?
H: RAy Revels....
B: But he's...
H: ...he's a white, he's not Indian.
B: I see.
H: I thought so, too, for a long time.
B: Yeah, we have a good many Indian Revelses, and I didn't know that there were
white families with the name Revels.
B: That's how little I know.
H: He's a car salesman, and the first that I knew about him was from his ads in
the paper, you know. I'd see this Ray Revels and at that time I thought he
was an Indian but later I learned that he was not, that he was a white.
B: Well I didn't know that.
H: And he is chairman, now, of the board.
B: In our program, this program that we're talking on right now, the Oral History
program being conducted by the History Department of the University of Florida
at Gainesville--I am compiling a list of questions and answers from people
who have asked me questions since I began my investigation of LUmbee Indian
history back in 1947, so I'm compiling a book listing these questions which
have been most frequently asked and it's called, What People Want to Know Most
About the Lumbee Indians. I want to ask you if you could think for a minute--
when you talk to people about us, when you go, when you travel around as you
did in your trip which you just described--can you think of any of the questions
that people ask you about our people?
H: Yes. The first thing they ask, as soon as they find out you're an Indian, is
what tribe you are.
B: That seems to make a great deal of difference...
H: Right, it does. And right away, Lumbee, they never heard of it, they can't
connect the Lumbee. So you've got a lot of explaining to do, you know, how
we came about to get the name Lumbee. I try to avoid that, you know, rather
than to go into a long detail unless I've got a lot of time to talk to the
people. Secondly, if they know if you're connected with school business,
they want to know how many units you have and how your program is progressing,
and some of the vocational programs that you have going, and they're shocked
when they learn that Robeson County has six units. They can't understand
B: In a county of 84,000 population, how about that?
H: Yeah, it's not...they just can't conceive a county with six individual units
and six superintendents, and six assistants...they can't...
B: And six Boards of Education.
H: Right, it just doesn't register. So, by the way, they want to know if you
will save money if you consolidated, or if you merged, and this is my thinking
too. I think we could save money ...
B: That seems very obvious, doesn't it?
H: ...right...and broaden our program at the same time. We could offer a wide
range of vocational programs. We could 9t our programs to the needs
of the student more effectively if we had one system.
B: And of course, we'd have to hire attorneys A A 4 _Vthe systemS..
B: Other...people decide...go ahead, I'm sorry...
H: And there's a lot of friction, maybe, one unit feels that they're not being
H: treated equally with other units, and city units are a little more wealthier
than county units, and I think we could eliminate this end of the friction if
we were under one system.
B: Well, are the so-called city systems...we don't have any cities, but town
sytems...I guess somebody gets offended if you call their town a town...or
H: What it amounts to.
B: Right. And do you think this is because different sections of this huge county,
which is the second largest county in North Carolina, is so individualistic,
the communities are so individualistic, or are these city units predominantly
H: Well, our city units are predominately white.
B: They always have been, but how about now? Are they still...
H: I think this is true right now. Maybe in some sections you have pretty close
to equal number of blacks, but now town other than Pembroke, which has always
been predominately Indian, that would even come close to outnumbering the
whites...I wouldn't think. I think you've got a majority of whites in all of
your city systems, although there are quite a few, you know, there has been
quite a bit of saying that people who have gone out in the county and a lot
of the suburban areas that have been built recently, I still think you'll see
that there's a majority of whites.
B: Right. I've heard Pembroke Senior High School referred to by the students
affectionately as "Big Pem" so they must be adjusting fairly well. Do you
think this is true?
H: I think so. I think their problems are little ones in Pembroke High.
B: Do you think our young people place far less importance on those things of
ethnic differentiation than we do?
H: I'm certain they do. I think the now generation accepts people at face value,
and not so much as races. They tend...which is great. I think that had this
been true in the past that we wouldn't have had these six systems and we
wouldn't have a lot of the other conflicts and a lot of the problems that we
have right now. And I think it will eventually wear out but it will take some
time. We've got some racialists who are still embedding prejudice into their
children, which is bad, but we have to face it--we still have some of iL here.
But the majority of the kids could care less about the colors, the races, and
that sort of thing, and material things as well. I think they are just looking
for something deeply inside, and the color is not one of the things that bother
B: Right. It's very difficult to encourage pride in a group, for example, I've
always believed that our people should be proud of themselves. If people are
going to separate us then we'll be proud of what we are and do the best we
can and compete with them, but do you think this can be...can go to extremes?
H: I don't know. As long as we don't...
B: Please be honest.
H: ...I don't think we have too much pride in who we are, as long as we don't let
it stand in the way of making some other person feel less important.
B: That's a good answer, and I think that is an honest answers, I appreciate
H: I think this is probably one of our problems right now. We in the past had
the tendency to want to be white, and we had reasons to justify that, because
you couldn't go in a restaurant unless you were white. You couldn't drink
water from certain fountains unless you were white. And naturally the ones
who could get by for white would prefer to be white in order to receive all
these benefits that the whites were getting at that time. But this is not
H: true anymore, so I think we are on a track back now to be proud of ourselves
as individuals, as Indians again, and...
B: The Civil Rights Act, you know...
H: ...Martin Luther King solved that problem for us.
H: Thanks to him, but at the same time I think we had some other problems here in...
local problems, that the Civil Rights Act couldn't solve, that we had to do
as Indians, which I'm real proud of. I think we overcame some obstacles that
other people from other areas wouldn't understand and could never understand
and you'd have to be an Indian to understand these things, and I think we've
made a lot of progress. I think we accept people as a whole, on merit, and
not on color.
B: Right. As you recall...
H: JV ^.. t ti. LX a H^.^g^S*^
B: ...go right ahead...
H: No, I...I'm sorry...but this is my sincere feeling.
B: Well that's great. As you recall, the so-called desegregation plans of 1970,
as presented by the Robeson County Board of Education to HEW and accepted by
HEW brought a lot of discontent. For example, we had people whose children
staged sit-in demonstrations for several years in their own traditional schools,
preferring to go to their own traditional schools rather than go to predomi-
nately white schools, or predominately black schools. But do you think we've
made progress in this particular area? How do you think people feel now? Do
we still have students out of school,who are staying out in protest?
H: I understand that there's one family in the Maxton area that are still
out. Now I'm not sure of this, it's through the grapevine. But I think the
majority of the people in the county accepted this, and are doing quite well.
H: Of course, it took some adjusting on all parts...well, maybe by all races, but
I think that we have overcome this real good, and I think we just got off to
a flying start and we'll just keep rolling.
B: Well that's good. You know, we had a court pending in the federal court, and
Blackstad, I mean a case pending in the federal court...
H: Excuse me, let me put this one in...
B: This is an interview with Mrs. Aileen Holmes, the first Lumbee Indian woman to
occupy a place as a member of the Robeson County School Board. Right now I
am interviewing her t her beauty shop here in the Magnolia_ a& r -i_ / h/;A
area, and she's been working this morning, of course, very hard as a beautician,
and just now, for example, we had to interr. ft the interview in order for her
to go to the house with her telephone repairman in order to repair *aSr telephone
circuit. But she will be back shortly and we will resume this interview very
shortly. She, I think, has been a credit to our people. She is one of the
new set, I rould say, of leadership, which is emerging among the Lumbee Indians,
and we have quite a few women leaders today, of which we are very proud, leaders
which we lacked in the years past. They are performing remarkably well. I
think this illustrates the interest that all the Indians are taking in civic
affairs today, and particularly in the area of education. I have interviewed
Mrs. Holmes on a previous occasion, but of course that was at a time when she
had not been in service as long as she has now, and at a time when there were
fewer new developments, perhaps, than now. I just thought I ought to mention
this because I wouldn't want anybody to think that this was a duplication.
H: Now, you want to continue with this interview?
B: Oh yes, thank you. She had to go away for a moment but she's back now and we
B: can go ahead with our discussion.
H: I'm always being disturbed.
B: That's fine. That's just characteristic of busy people.
B: Let's go back to the thing of Indian pride and pride in our heritage and so
forth. For example, a few years ago some of these people who were opposed
to us came out and said well, they have no heritage to be proud of. What do
you think of a statement like that?
H: Well I have mixed feelings about that. As far as true heritage, we know we've
got some but the sad thing is that nobody kept history of our forbears. We
don't know for certain who we are, but we know we're Indians. You can look
at us and tell we're Indians, but I think we still owe it to ourselves to get
out and dig and do all the research that we can and find out exactly who we
are. I connect us with John White's lost colony--everybody hag a different
feeling. I don't know how you're connected, but to me all the studying and
all the history that I've been able to dig up directly ties back to John
White's lost colony, and I'm proud to be a part or to claim heritage from
that, and I always have been. But as I said back a little while earlier, we
did try to pass for white because of the advantages of the whites in the county.
B: But that was all, that was external ka + I+ '
H: AAnd I'll give you an example of what...
B: This is side two of the interview with Mrs. Holmes. We were interrupted, rather
rudely at the end, by the tape running out, and you were saying something about
the lost colony. Would you repeat that, because this is important?
H: I"ll give you an example of the experience I had after finishing high school.
I went down to apply for a job at the Social Security Board. Of course, I
H: knew before I went that it would be hard for me to get work. And they told me
that they didn't have anything available right at the present time in this
particular area, but they had some jobs in that were open, and
I think it was a sewing job at that particular time, and if I could arra;ge
transportation, I could get the job there. So he went back and he pulled my
file and he looked at my application and he says, "Oh, you finished school at
Magnolia, didn't you?" which is an all-Indian school, you see. I said, "Yes,
I did." He said, "Well, I'm sorry,", he said, there might be something avail-
able over in another town, over where they were putting up a new plant. He
said "Maybe we could work something out for you there if you could arrange some
transportation to get there." I said, "Forget it." So I had to go away to
work. I wasn't able ab that time to go to college because my parents couldn't
afford it. So I went away and I got a job with Civil Service. I was real
lucky. And I worked through the War, and i was real fortunate, and I came
back home a few years later...before I came back though, let me tell you this
in the meantime--with Civil Service you can transfer, so I decided after I
worked a while to ask for a transfer back to Lumberton so that I could be
near my parents and my friends and everybody back home. Everybody wants to
come back home.
H: And the application went through, but the city that I applied to, a particular
board had to accept my application, see, so I waited and waited to hear from
my application, and finally it came through and I was turned down at Lumberton.
They wouldn't accept me at Lumberton because I was Indian, but it was fine in
f- ^ ff < and I worked alright in MF ArT As a matter of fact,
it was an advantage to be an Indian once you left the county, but we were
looked down on so in this county, so this is the reason I was going back saying
H: that we tried to pass for white. It's because we were so downgraded in the
county, you were forced to leave here if you had any sort of job that would
justify you getting up in the morning and going to it. So, from that stand-
point I say I'm real proud to be an Indian but I'm not proud of the way that
things went in Robeson County a r 4iL uf years back and up until just, what
would you say, up until about fifteen years ago that things actually began to
L fIoSOM for the Indians here, and I think they're really realizing
some progressive job opportunities and other things as well right now, but
we've certainly come through some oppression to reach our goals.
B: Yes, indeed. Well, let's go back to the lost colony for a moment.
H: You want to get back to the lost colony, huh? I like that too.
B: I'd like to find out what you think about that, and I'm glad you didn't know
that I am a one of strongest advocates of that...I don't call it a theory,
because I began my research in 1947 and published my book in 1967, and I've
gone over all the historical material available, and all the records which
stand, and I've studied Indian traditions of people--the Lumbee Indians--and
also the traditions of the Tuscarora Indians, who now reside at Niagra Falls,
New York, whose traditions coincide almost exactly with ours, relative to that
particular thing. So I'm very glad that this is your view independently to
seek, because somebody might think, well, now that's Lew Barton's idea, some-
body's just trying to be pleasant. So I'm glad you didn't know that particular
H: Well good. I'm glad to know, too, that you feel the same way, but everything
points in this direction, and as you said the Tuscaroras coincide with ours,
which is true. I think there's direct relationship there. I think...we've got
some definite proof that there is a link between them, and surely there's a
link between us and the lost colony.
B: Yes, yes indeed because they resided originally right here in southeastern
North Carolina. And we know from the seventh grade history text which is most
used in North Carolina,by Professor Heffler, that there was a segment of the
Tuscarora during the Tuscarora War of 1711-13 which did not fight with the
Tuscarora proper, which remained and fought on the other side, as did our
C 1 re."
people right here in NorthA..right here in southeastern North Carolina, almsot
exactly in this location, and so as you say there is a definite link and I'm
sure this group led by Tom Blunt was not received back into the main body of
the Tusearora proper at the conclusion of the Tuscarora War, at which time the
Tuscarora was disastrously defeated, and migrated to Niagra Falls, New York
to become the sixth nation in the Six...it was only Five Nation Confederacy
at the time, but now it's the Six Nation Confederacy. So we know...we know
that we've got Indian blood.
H: We certainly do.
B: And we know we've got white blood, and I don't think we should be ashamed of
either. I believe we should be proud of what we are.
B: But not to the point of being prejudiced against somebody else.
H: No. Not to the point that it makes us conceited, either.
B: Right. Because after all we had nothing at all to do with it. This is something
we hold to God and our forefathers.
H: It certainly is an advantage, I feel. I'm real proud of the fact I am an Indian...
wouldn't trade with an Irishman or any other nationality in the world, and neither
H: Don't you think my customer is pretty?
B: Oh, I think she's very pretty.
H: Thank you. Have a good [^_____
B: It's just a lot of fun to sit here, and even with my limited vision, and see
your customers as they come in. Did you ever hear that song about standing
on the corner watching all the girls go by?
H: Right. Right. This is a good place, huh? I know why you picked today.
B: I like this corner right here.
H: Oh, this is why you're interviewing today! Smart, smart.
B: What's her name?
H: Oh, this is Miss fawctG U and she works at Converse. All my
customers are pretty much working people. We're just average people that have
average complaints and average lives and who are trying to get in the main-
stream of the...money world.
B: Would you say hi to me? I'm Lew Barton, interviewing for the University of
Florida's History Department.
: Hi, how are you doing?
B: Not too bad. What are you getting this beauty job for, could I ask you that,
will you not get mad with me?
: No, I'm just wanting a change, mostly. A change of hairstyle.
B: Good...she's really an expert at that, isn't she?
: Yes, she is.
H: She's got a change, that's for certain. And I'm real proud of your change,
if I did do it myself. You might even catch a new boyfriend now, eh?
B: Well, that's always possible. And in her case very probable.
H: Very probable.
B: Are you...will you have to be moving now, in the next few minutes?
B: Uh huh. Well, I want to talk to you some more about the lost colony.
H: That's okay. We'll talk for just a minute here before I move the customer.
B: Do you have anything else...what makes you believe in this lost colony descent?
H; Well, as I said a few minutes ago, the history that I've been able to find, or
the little researching that I've done...I haven't gone into great detail as
you have done, no extensive work...just the things that I've managed to pick
up or that some of my children were maybe doing a paper on that...a few books
in the library, and my belief and concern to find put, you know, who I am,
say, from this point I judge a little bit. And the word Rwihaet in particu-
lar stuck out with me, that was carved on the tree,,because I connect us...
I'm connecting me in particular, I better not say us because you get into a
battle sometimes if you try to put other people in your particular type of
thinking or try to convey your thinking to their thinking.
B: Right. I know what you mean.
H: I definitely think that Rauhian is what...the name that was...let me retract
here. I better not say what I started to say, because I might get into a has-
B: Now you're acting like a politician.
H: Let me retract on this. But one of the things that I think about...I'11 go
back to the Bhate-n, and I'll start back from the way that it was used here
in years ago. Itiwas used, you know, that other people...that other races
called us Q*vafcrm as slang.
H: You know, they called us Piiam.b'. And I took that as an insult as a child
because I didn't know how it came about, see. J e fk c| ar/e t/A(-'
And I took it as an insult till I became interested enough to do a little i ,
searching for myself. And after I found how it all came about, I began to
CrV tL+v A
be proud to be related or to relate back to FPstinimr, or to connect
page 27 C s^ Cru
H: to Croatan. To me, now, if they call me a Croatan I feel honored. I don't
feel insulted at all. Really, it's a compliment.
B: Right. It's a sound historical name, and when you say Croaton you really mean
the Hatteras Indians who are the first people to greet the white people
in this country and w actually greeted the white people on a welcome mat.
Greeted (Amadesus?) and Barlow in 1584 on a welcome mat, along with Manteo's
people. But as you say it did come to be...it was once our official name.
H: Right, and that's what I was...
B: But it became...it came to be a slang and people used it in sort of the way that
people say "damn Yankees," or "damn Rebels" or something like that.
H: ';.he intend it to be an insult.
H: But you know...
B: Because the people who were using it didn't know what they were talking about
either. We did have a lack of knowledge on the subject and the man who made
an extensive study on this first was a white man from Red Springs, who was a
friend, who is actually the father of Lumbee Indian Education in this county,
and that was Hamilton McMillan, and of course he made a study which began in
1864 and extended at least, to my knowledge, to 1918, when he was an old man
of 80. He died-leaving that...after making his study that we are indeed the
direct lineal descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh's lost colony.
H: Absolutely the way I feel.
B: So I'm very proud of this. Do you remember the late Miss Mary Livermore?
H: I know of her, but I do not know her personally.
B: Well, she passed away in '65, I believe, but she had conducted a personal study
herself and she was convinced...as a matter of fact, everybody who does an in-
depth study of our history, and although the information is scattered, there
B: is adequate historical information. But all these people who have made in-
depth studies have reached the same conclusion that you have, and that includes
some of the greatest North Carolina historians in North Carolina history. So
you can be proud of that. I understand Dr. Hugh T. ffler, whom I mentioned
a while ago, is being the editor of the most popular high school textbook of
North Carolina history in this state, was of this opinion also, although he
was very...he is a very careful historian.
H: The one thing that I was speaking of when I was talking about it, not being up
with very much history of North Carolina Indians, there was years when nobody
was concerned enough, you know, to do much writing about the things that have
happened and the people who were great in North Carolina, and we've had lots
of people who did great things, but we have no history of it. This is what
we sort of lost...our heritage, you know?
B: Yeah, well we have to go back to the white man's records...
H: We do, and they were not concerned with keeping a fair and square record as
they should have of some of the things that happened and some of the people
who were great, too. We sort of lost that in the past. But I think we're
making great strides to sort of revive what we can of past history and to
make our people more aware of the Things that were great and the people...
the things that the people did that we...that we...that there were records
kept of, which is very limited, I'd say, would you?
B: Right. I understand that Professor Adolph -ya of the History Department at
P.S.U. who is nn leave at the moment has written a book, and...withJa P.S.U.
professor, and that this book will be released very shortly. Have you heard
H: Yes, I have. As a matter of fact I've talked with him about this book a number
of times, and it is supposed to be released...I thinkSin May, I'm not positive
H: about this but I think he told me it would be sometime in May or shortly there-
B: I will be looking forward to seeing that.
H: Yeah, so am I. I'm real-interested in the book.
B: Isn't it very gratifying to see our people take all this interest in their his-
There's not enough yet.
tory?A There's more interest outside the Indian camp than in it, even now, I'm
H: True. This is true. This is the sad thing, you know? Our people are still not
awake enough to really get concerned enough to do some of these things that we
need to do. But we're on the way up. I still contend we're moving.
B: Right. And this is certainly gratifying to me, because in 1947 when Miss Mary
Livermore and I formed local historical association at P.S.U. for the purpose
of studying our ancestral background, it was very difficult for us to muster
enough interested Indian students even to form that organization. That's how
little the interest was.
H: The parents are partly responsible for that too, aren't they? As well as the
school, and as well as the county. But you know we're sort of...the Board of
Education right now is trying to accumulate some interest, get enough involvement
to get some Indian History in the curriculum. I've been working on this since
I first went on the board. And we met with Mr. Bob Cannon and Mr. Craig Phillips
to see what we can get going on this. And they seemed real concerned, they
were really enthused, they thought that we should have asked long ago and wondered
why we waited so late to get interested in Indian history, and I think pretty
shortly we're going to be able to learn more about ourselves and our kids will
be able to learn more about Indians in school, hopefully. So within the next
couple of years I think thing we ought to be offering a full course. It will
be an elective, if I understand right, but we will be offering something in the
H: high school possibly elementary school too. Right now we have an ethnic study,
which is sort of limited, but it does give a few enlightening points on the
Indain happenings, and of course it's sort of a cross-section of all races, but
it's more than we had before. It's a step in the right direction. It will
sort of have a little of the beginning of our origination, which I am real
happy about. But I am looking forward to getting the Indian history in the
curriculum on a elective or...not a course, but I think it ought to be a part
of the elementary curriculum and an elective in the high school.
B: Well I'm pleased to see that now, following the Old Main,4vement, we do have
coursed being offered at P.S.U. on American Indian History, and even on our
own history. For example, I understand that Professorieal last year, who was
head of this particular department, taught a course on the story of Henry
Barry Lowery, and I understand that there were white students and Indian stu-
dents alike interested in this particular course.
H: Was this the night course that he offered?
B: I'm not sure just when it was given. What do you think of Henry Barry Lowery
as our leader?
H: W11l, he is one of the great...he is about the only one we have history of.
We definitely have history of Henry Barry Lowery.....
B: We certainly do.
H: You know, this is one the things that sort of sticks with me, though, and it
sort of irks me. He was forced to do the thing...he was labeled a criminal,
and of course some of the acts were certainly in that direction, but at the
same time he was a great man. He was forced to do the things that he did.
He didn't voluntary get up and do all these things without a reason behind it.
We've got a lot of people who do things just to, you know, get their name
published. But the thing I was going to say--why did they not print some his-
H: tory, publishhistory or keep history of some of the other people, other things
that was done that were not gangster things? This is the only true history
otLumbee or Robeson County Indians of any individual that far back that I
can dig up. Can you...do you know of any other individual that there was that
B: much history written about? Of course, we had no -other outlaws.
B: Not that extensively, anyway.
H: No. But why couldn't they have written or kept history of some of the great
things that some of our people did back then, rather than...of course, we
had no schools and we couldn't do it ourselves. Our forebears couldn't do
it because they didn't have the...they had the ability, they didn't have the
education, very few. But this sort of bothers me and I...maybe nobody else
has ever thought in this direction and maybe I shouldn't express it, but to
me it's sad that we didn't have some other history kept of the other
people who did great things, you know, rather than just one outlaw, which
they kept the history of the one outlaw because they wanted to p n us
as, you know, this is one of our bad men. And he was one of our great men,
B: Right. I consider him aguerilla fighter of that period, 1864-1874. I consider
him a great guerilla fighter or a guerilla warrior for the Lumbee Indians.
Now have you ever heard anything about his motivation? We touched on that a
moment ago. His...to quote from local channels, from local white accounts,
"a lawless career." Because it was outside the law.
H: Yeah, it was outside the law. I'm not as well informed on that as you afe.
Now, you're the historian, you've got.all these facts--go ahead and tell me
B: WEll, I'd like to know what other people have to think, and what they know and
the way they feel because this is a part of history.
H: If there's any justification for crime, I would say that he was certainly justi-
fied in what he was doing, if history is correctly checked.
B: Of course, you have to think about the time in which it occurred, because the
times were out of joint, as someone has said. Nothing was normal...
H: Excuse me...
B: We were talking about, when the phone call came...I've forgotten what we were
H: So have I, but you know,we've been real lucky. Usually that phone rings every
five minutes, and so we haven't been disturbed too much this morning.
B: Well, maybe something good is on our side.
B: Maybe we're in the right direction. I'm sure we are.
H: Yeah, I'm sure we are too.
B: Are you very proud of our people--the attitude that they've taken, and the
determination they've had within recent years to improve things for themselves?
H: Yes, I am. I really am, to think peopleIneed to move forward and I think they
see a need to be proud of themselves, to make more accomplishments for themselves,
to do things independently, and I'm real proud of the way our people think and
B: Do you think there's a possibility of our doing something more definite in the
future? Making progress in the direction of bridging this educational gap we
mentioned earlier between our educational system and the P.S.U. entrance require-
H: Yes, I think that right now we're making some special efforts. I think our
principals are more concerned and I think our people are...and as I said
earlier I think the parents play a part there, and they've first got to show
H: some interest or some concern for their children to get into college programs...
excuse me a minute...
B: Now you're back after the telephone interrupted, which is quite natural.
H: Right. It's getting to be a habit, eh?
B: Quite natural. We've been so busy talking about public matters and things
related to other people we've sort of neglected your family.
H: How about that?
B: That's too bad.
H: Sounds like my family's not important, huh?
B: Well, yes it is. Would you tell us something about your family?
H: Okay, My husband is Normie Holmes, the big boss of the family, and I have...
B: Would you spell his name for me?
H: N-o-r-m-i-e. That sounds sort of like a girl, but he's a he-man.
B: And H-o-l-m-e-s?
B: He's all he-male.
H: He's a he-man. My older child is a girl, Olivia, who is married toU ( 'TY !ViS
\O^f'ClM ; J1 nd they live in Laurinberg, she teaches in the Laurinberg system
in the junior high, and she's a pretty...a good teacher, I would say. As a
matter of fact, I'd love to have her in our community. Uoft because she's my
daughter, but because she is a concerned teacher, which is what we need more
of in the county system. And we have lots of them the same way. We have lots
of good teachers, again, I say. And I have a boy who is a flyer. He's stationed
in Texas. He finished college at Pembroke in '72.
B: That's great.
H: Oh, he's quite proud of himself, and I'm kind of proud of it.
B: What's his name?
H: He is Michael Lyn Holmes, he's 23.
B: Michael Lyn...
H: Holmes, uh huh, Michael Lyn Holmes. His ambition is to be a jet pilot. He's
still in the training program, and he says when he completes his training he'll
be the first Indian that ever landed a jet on a carrier. He says, "I'm going
to make history."
B: Hey, that's interesting, because I used to serve aboard a baby...a baby carrier.
H: Is that right?
B: And that is an accomplishment, to land a plane on one of those.
H: That's his ambition. Of course right now he's flying small craft, but he's
going on into the jet program as soon as he's completed this phase of it. His
dream is to fly a jet on a carrier. He says, "If I miss the deck, I'll never
know it. And if I miss it, you'll know it." But he said, "If I land there,
I'll make history." So for his sake I hope he is successful. And I have a
daughter that's sixteen, just turned sixteen, and she's a typical American
girl. She loves everybody, regardless of race, creed, color. She loves to...
just got her driver's license, she loves to get out and live a little. She's
just like her mama. Then I have a son who is thirteen, and he's quite a he-
man too. He's all-boy and he enjoys the sports and outdoor activities, and
they're all real helpful in making me a little more aggressive, I think. Kids
have a little drive that drives me, and I think together we sort of team:up and
we help to hold the world together.
B: That's good. I like the way you say that. I know they're very proud of their
H: Well, I hope so.
B: How many children do you say you have?
H: I have four...a total of four.
B: All of them chips off the old block, aren't they?
H: I would think so. Yes, definitely. I can see a little bit of both parents in
B: And of course some of this has probably been intentional. There are certain
things parents want to encourage their children to do. So how do you go about
getting your children interested in doing some of the things that you think
H: Well, I think the environmental habitat has a lot to do with your children's
thinking and the way they, you know, how should I say this? It has a lot to
do with their whole idea of life and their whole make-up. And I think our
environmental conditions have been sort of a push, you know, not that I push
my kids that much but I think they sort of want the better things in life, at
least I hope they do. And this has certainly been my encouragement and...
encourage them to try for the better things in life, to set high goals, I
always say, and if you reach half of your goal, you've really made an accomplish-
B: Yes, that's certainly a good way to look at it. Because according to the laws
of chance, I guess, we should have about fifty percent good and fifty percent
H: Right. I have a very understanding family, too, as I said before. They're all
helpful, I tell you they mean a lot to me. I think this is one of the things
that encouraged me, too, to get into the Board of Education race. Wa-n we
moved here from Michigan and the educational system was quite different from
our local educational program here...
B: How much...did you get some of your education in Michigan?
H: No, I didn't. But ray older children did. So I...
B: I bet this helped.
H: Definitely...it's been helpful, because it sort of got them off on a real strong
background, so I saw a need to work towards improving our local educational
system, so I thought, "Well, if I can get in there maybe we can help a little,
not that I'm important, but I think together we could come up with some different
ideas and mybe some better ideas on how and means and ways to improve the system,
so I think we're making progress.
B: Well, I'm sure you are. But you could definitely see that there was an educational
gap between our system and some of these other systems ?
B: And not only our system, but the system, the educational system generally in this
part of the state?
H: Right. You know, at the national survey last year showed that North Carolina
was behind in the educational process, and that the eastern part was behind the
western part. So I said, if this is true nationally, and if it's true state-
wise, Robeson County is behind the behind the behind. So we're certainly at
the tail end so from that standpoint we've got to go to work.
B: There's no way to go but up.
H: Up, we've got to go. And as I said before so many times, we're on our way
H; It's slow, but it's real meaningful.
B: If we could just raise the educational standards in our high schools and in our
grammar schools, so as to better equip our students to enter, if they want to
enter, the university.
H: Right. We've first got to build them a foundation so they're prepared to go into
universities, or into whatever area they choose. I think we need to have a pro-
gram wide enough, broad enough, and encouragement enough to prepare these children
H: for whatever career they may choose, and then sort of feel them out in the process,
and then get them into that program, encourage them to get into the program. If
it's college work, universities, medical schools, whatr-have you. Then prepare
them for it, but as you said, we're going to have to do it in the elementary,
we've got to start at the bottom, we've got to build a foundation, then on
through the high schools, and I think we could even stand some improvement in
our universities, although we have a real good university. There's always room
at the top.
B: Right. I wanted to encourage you to tell me a little bit more about your husband.
It's obvious that...
H: I didn't talk a whole lot about my husband, I didn't praise him at all. Excuse
me--I've got to do that.
B: Well you said a lot when you said he's a he-man. Y' S L, eL m.
Mry husband is...
B: What kind of work does he do?
H: He's a farmer. He farms quite a bit of land, about 300 acres, to be exact. He's
a thoroughbred dirt digger. But he enjoys it and we're happy out in the country.
He makes a fairly decent living so I can't complain, as long as he's doing the
thing that he enjoys most, I think that's where a person is most successful.
B: Well, you've certainly got some advantages right now because you grow most of
your own food.
H: We just don't have time to go out and grow it or to gather it even if we grow it.
We don't have time to cook it.
B: Well, you grow it. I've got a deep freeze that I'd like to pack full.
H: Oh fine. Okay, come around.
B: Well, I'm sure that he encourages you a lot, too, doesn't he?
H: Yes, he does.
B: Do you usually see eye to eye on any matter?
H: No, we have different...altogether different personalities and different thinking,
but we agree, we reason and agree. We've been able to do this up to this point.
B: How about your children? Do they...
H: We have the same thing. We each have our own way of life, but we are able to sit down
and to discuss things, and to reason out. But even in the political structure,
we don't always vote or support the same candidates, but we don't have any fights
about it. We just each go our own way and if he has a stronger point of view or
he has things that really, you know, that really wins him over for certain candi-
dates, and I don't see it that way, we just drop it, and he supports his and I
support mine. We get along real...
B: Do you usually...is he easy to persuade...do you have inter-persuasion between you
and him, don't you?
H: On certain issues, but some things we sort of leave them alone, you know?
B: Sort of a draw.
H: Right. Sometimes I can persuade if it's a minor thing. If it's the big things
that I feel that he needs to think through for himself, I sort of get on the side-
B: And you were educated at...
H: Robeson County.
B: Where do you go to church?
H: I attend Bethel Hill Baptist. I'm Baptist by profession...by posession...
B: Were you married there?
H: Right. By profession and possession Baptist.
B: They certainly are numerous in this county, aren't they?
H: True, very true.
B: I think our people are predominantly that...
H: I think so, but I don't think our religion should carry that much emphasis. I
think there's good ones in all fashions. I think there's some good Catholics,
Jews, and Jehovah Witnesses, and what have you. You know, I sort of sum this
up as heading to the same city on different routes.
H: So there'll be some that will make it and some that won't, I suppose.
B: Well, I'm pretty sure I'll make it. I hope I'm one of the people that make it.
H: So do I. But I'm not going to get into tangents on that road. You can really
in my profession here, you can really get uptight sometimes with some of the
B: I know it. Anywhere...religion is something that's very...people are very con-
cerned about matters of religion among our people, aren't they? Very sensitive.
H: Very sensitive. But to each his own, like everything else. I say whatever makes
you happy, that's the thing to stick with.
B: Whatever fits you or whatever you fit into.
B: Well, what do you envision for the future?
H: Oh the future looks bright, even with Watergate existing as it is, it still looks
great to me. I have high hopes. Everything...just a complete change and every-
thing will straighten out, that we'll just go gliding on.
B: And you think our people are going to really come into their own?
H: I think so.
B: That's a nice optimistic...
H: It is...well, that's the only true way to look at it. I don't think we would
really be a true, good-blooded Indian if we had a negative outlook on life. I
think we have to have a positive outlook.
B: Now, who was your mother?
H: My mother was a Bloomington, Bertha. Bloomington, who has passed just about three
B: [la4 W' X *?
H: Right here, right at home, born here. Although I moved away and worked away for
several years and...
B: Are you related to Reverend Bloomington?
H: Tiny Bloomington? Yes, I am.
B: Oh, he's a great person.
H: He's a great one, yeah.
B: He wrote a book on Lumbee Indian history. Do you remember what year that was?
H: I don't recall the year.
B: It's been quite a while. As I recall, it was called The Five Civilized Tribes of
North Carolina, and I had a copy of it somewhere. Are any of those...any copies
of this book still tf tf ?
H: I'm not sure. Did he do this book while he lived here or Washington? You know,
he moved here from Washington. Did he not do this book while he was in Washington?
B: I'm not sure about the year. It seems to me if my memory serves me correctly,
which it doesn't always do, I'm afraid, it was somewhere along...it must have
been published along in 1962. Does that sound about right?
H: I suppose. I sort of felt that it was a little earlier, I'm not sure. I just
B: That's been twelve years ago. It might have been, this is just something off the
top of my head. I did have a copy of the book somewhere. Can you keep books on...
pertaining to local history?
H: No, I can't.
B: I don't believe anybody can;
H: To, you've got a lot of people who enjoy reading them and they come by and borrow
H: them and first thing you know you've lost track of your book.
B: Right, and I don't like to lend a book, but you have to...
H: Yeah, you do.
B: ...because you have to...I have to borrow books.
H: Right, it's an exchange.
B: I don't even own a personal copy of my own book.
B: RCally, I don't even have a copy left.
H: Here I was getting ready to ask you for an autographed copy, how about that?
B: I don't even have a copy left for my own personal files. I was hopeful of
H: I'm not sure I have it right now. I think possibly that's out, too.
B: Right, and so we're hoping to get something else in print very shortly.
B: Keep the old ball rolling.
B: You not only have to make certain progress but you have to do certain things to
keep that progress up, but I think our people are going now, and that they'll
H: Yes, I'm sure of this. I don't think there's any letting up now. I think they
sort of feel as the Martin Luther King quotation that he ma4e, a speech...let's
see, how does that go? He had seen the light...
B: He was on the hill and he could see the promised land.
H: Had seen the promised land.
B: Although he was not actually allowed...
H: To get there.
B: ...like Moses, to get there, it was his due.
H: Right, so I think our people sort of have the same feeling, that they see the
promised land how and there's no let-up. They're not going to turn back.
B: Now, there were some of our people, or there was a time when some of our people
had an inferiority complex, you know, because people had always told them that
they were nothing, or they acted that way if they hadn't said it, and of course,
this was more telling than to actually say so, I suppose, and some of our people
had actually gotten into that habit. Do you think we're out of that?
H: We're not completely out, but we're on the way out. Going back to Martin Luther
King, he said he had been on the mountain top, that's the way he said it.
B: And he sounded very happy about it. I remember that.
H: He said he had been on the mountaintop and he had seen the promised land, so I...