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S\ S/ c e D
LUM 253A /
INTERVIEWER: Adolph Dial
INTERVIEWEE: Mr. James K. Brayboy pwh
DATE: October 8, 1971
D: October 8, 1971, Adolph Dial speaking. I am in McColl, South Carolina,
here at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James K. Brayboy. Mr. Brayboy, how
long have you lived in South Carolina?
B: I have lived in South Carolina since 1932. That would be S ._
~E~7'7".-'-i -- forty years.
D: Mr. Brayboy, you're originally from Robeson County?
B: Yes, sir.
D: Recently, y6u received some honor as Teacher of the Year. Wold you
tell us about that story? J f .
B: I was nominated in the term of M69-70 by the teachers from my district,
as District Teacher of the Year. This was an honor that I appreciated. I
can never forget one afternoon, an hour before dismissal time, that the
area superintendent came to my school and said to the children,"I am
going to take Mr. Brayboy's picture quite a number of times, children.
After I've taken a picture I will tell you why I wanted his picture."
She took the pictures, and then announced to the children/that the
day before that a committee had voted me District Teacher of the Year.
(Ij Then of course, I began working guided by Miss Hendricks, the guidance
-counselor in pillon High School to become State Teacher of the Year.
We sought to accomplish this/by having people express their opinion of
me as a teacher from anywhere over 01lDillon County or the county from
whee- I came, Robeson County. Many letters of congratulations came in,
the people visited the school and all of this was collected and put in
something in the form of a pamphlet, a Miss Hendricks took this to
the State Department in Columbia, and after a period of reading and
studying and considering this, the committee in Columbia chose me
as State Teacher of the Year.
D: For the State of South Carolina?
B: For the State of South Carolina.
D: Now, where did you go from here?
B: Then/iss Henricks, the counselor, sought to have me become National
Teacher of' the Year. All my information that had been accumulated ao -...*
$lj BB6from my friends over North and South Carolina, ws put
together in 'ap large pamphlet or book form, and Miss
Kendricks then took that to Washington, D.C. It there was considered
along with others who were seeking to become National Teacher of the
Year. I did not win National Teacher of the Year, but I was one of the
five mentioned of the five top teachers of the year. iyai ii-
hAe 0-lcd .o
D: fo- jh'iy .rof to become one of the finalists, somewhere on the West
Coast was ittor New York) reLook Magazine?
B: In Look Igfazine, I was then named as one of the five honorary teachers
of the nation.
D: Sponsored by Look 1gazine?
B: Sponsored by Lk magazine. Then I began to go from place to place. The
National Educational Association probably gave me the greatest trip1 to
San Francisco/, California, to the convention there where some six to ten
thousand members met in a week of meetings. I enjoyed it very much, and
I was able to meet the National Teacher of the Year, who was a teacher in
the Walla WallaWashingtonSchool I enjoyed meeting him. His name was
Johnny E. He was a very young man, and a very excellent
teacher .b1Aaes I was privileged to talk with many who knew him, and
it was a pleasure to meet him. It was Pasv to see ftht he possessed, the
characteristics that would go to,make a goqd teacher.
D: Yes, I recall that you were invited too, this same week to attend
a meeting with *4 dafts l something like. fifteen orl sixteen ; ethodists
went to id you warewak/ aa to make it because there was
a conflict in one of these meetingsai thai .yo" wIee making to
the West Coast. & when did you marry, Mr. Brayboy?
B: I married in 1931.
D: And your wife's name was ls. h ? I
B: Yes, sir, Lillian Hall before mrrfd iv i I ; I A
D: And Mrs. Hall was from tobesonCo', ti,, i,.. .. .....
B: That's right. Near Elrod, a l tte fro Pembro em oving toward
D: Was Mrs. Hall a Lumbee Indiant ,I
B: No, she wasn't. .
D: Mrs. Hall was white. ,
D: At this time, was there any legislation on the books of North. Carolina
prohibiting Indians from marrying.whites in the state of North Carolina?
B: There was.
D: Did you feel like AgjE you'd be better off to move into South Carolina
at that particular time?
D: However, you were never actually forced out of the county -
B: No. -
D: What was the largest enrollment that you had at the time that you were
principal of /./ocGrove School?
I .. i 'I i..;i1 i. : . ,i itI ,I
B: The, last year 'tat Ac6t; Grove operated, and that was the year that
I became State Teacher of the Year.
D: What year as that? ,, .,,
B: That was 4-Ss-
s p..wap the 1969--1970 term. We are not
yqi3 that my/becoming National Teacher of the Year knocked the school
D: Yeah, it was on its way out.
B: It was on its way out.
D: And what was the largest enrollment at anime?
B: The enrollment that year was fifty-seven.
D: Did you ever have more than two teachers in the school?
B: No, sir, just for one year.
D: How many did you have the year you made Teacher of the Year?
D: Two teachers that year.
B: Two teachers. I would like to egy i aLs something here. Tha-a4s
-gragAates. The first seventh graders felt that maybe they could not:.go
to Dillon to high school ohey crossed over the line and went to
such schools that's familiar to many of us as Fair Grove, and Green
Grove, and other schools. Some arranged to live with their people in
and around Pembroke, -and went to Pembroke High School. Then, had a
meeting; it was decided that we should be allowed if we wanted to,
to attend the high school in Dillon.
D: When was this, i a fa at .
B: That was, t I think .%q as far back as 1950.
D: Were their any of the Indians attending the white 'schodls in McColl
or Dillon around..that time? : '
B: Yes, very few, .,, .
7-o Very w. 1i '
-BT--tery-fez. They had not .been asked ir-fold that thfy dould attend, but
they had not been told that they 6ou1id not' Jttend '"So ther gradually
went:into these schools t.:, i ,* J J
D: Before 1950, did you havd any 'bf ithl graduates who went into Dillon
High School or' any of the otherthigh schools in South Carolina?
B: No. i
D: We had no Indian high school in South Carolina?
B: No, 4k.t.-..
D: This meant that many of them, really, were somewhat deprived of a
high school education,because it was not available.
B: That is true, fhemg the ate epartmentgave usr 3a500 ^^gB and,
a privilege to cut many large pines that was on the school site. 4Sso--
they used the lumber and built another room on this already two-room
school e to allow us to have high school, or teach. the eighth and
ninth grades. A4#1A y y after two years of that, the doors
were opened wide and the seventh graders, most of them, went to high
school to Dillon, and have continued to do so -fspr "-ss ao up
to the end of the school.
D: And they began to go to Dillon in 19501
B: Yes, /n 1950. 1-4-iseat1 I would like to be
clear in that no -Eno Indian to my knowledge/was ever refused entry
into Dillon High School before then, but they were shy and closed to any
of these schools.
D: In other words, part of the fault perhaps, was on their own.
'I :; ... l .- : : n. b l i ,/ y .1 P
B: That's right. They, could have gone, I feel sure. ,
D: Now) you've been active in' the Methodist Church. How many Indian churches
do you have in South Carolina that you know of, of the Lumbee Indians?
5 Your church, and...?
,Ard; t GroYe ChurctASj,
p;-^fv~ Mw^Ietnodi6, |
B: Fairview Methodist, and ,j-igGrove BaptistA and Pee Dee Baptiste/'
was in and around the Pee Dee, near /ia/ar. Grove School, whdch. was then
,j/cc-,-t Grove School. There is some other Indian churches that are not
in South Carolina, but very, very near. There is still another Methodist
church near ,g/ /ithat is predominantly Indian.
D: What is this?
B: This is Hickory Grove
1: h1ehodist Church..
B: I would like to mention that these churches, 'Fai iew Methodist Church
and Hickory Grove Methodist Church, are linked up in the North Carolina
Conference with. the Indian churches of Robeson Coufrty.
D: This is unusual.,
D: Very unusual.
B: I believe that someone asked when unification come about.,Jn r .Z believe
in 1939 tt the lineAsince we were a part of what we call the Pembroke
Parish, that these two churches be allowed to continue in the North
Carolina Conference in order that they might be with their Indian
\ 7 pwh
D: Are most of the Indians in South Carolina landowners, or those who farm,
are most of them tenants?
B: Most of them,1M)p I.Mion are tenants s sharecroppers. kow as far as
/Y.;ir JfiT and maybe it is a good thing, mechanical farming has forced
them into industry, s I might add toopie, that if any of them have
been discriminated .against in the industries that have sprung up in every
little town just about in textile work...if any of them have been dis-
criminated against ) do not know it, many of them are now working in
these plants in Clio, in McColl, in Dillon, in Hamer, and many of them,
Bennettsville, and Oak River, which is not in either one of these
towns, but out in the country. Mechanical farming brought about this.
These landlords could not use many of them, because they just needed
a few tractor drivers, and that was about it to carry out the farming.
: 94s would you say -tf. there's
less prejudice over the years in South Carolina to the Lumbee Indians
than in Robeson County?
B: ^a v^. ;
D: As a matter of fact, many of the people from Robeson myself for one,
I came to Bennettsville, South Carolina to marry because many people
were just coming, and it would be easier to marry in South Carolina,
4( of course, if they married b white in Robeson County up until very
recently, if they had a church wedding, they had/what we called a dry
run. They would come down in South Carolina and marry, and then return
to the church ,$Wand have a church wedding, W actually they
/ 4V. tnW 5 mrrT,'A .
were already married, because the law prohibited the Indian from whites.
Of course, many people came down to mary in South. Carolina, not for that
reasonA rAt# Indians marrying Indians, it was convenient to sign up here,
.5 horf- and' come back and marry.
A *, : ... i
D: *Mr. Brayboy, howmany Lumbee Indians would you say is in South Carolina?
1B: The Indians now, it just happens that right now in our schools we have
been asked by our area superintendent to determine as near as we can,/^
nre are r
how many Indian s. l all our district, and all
the districts are 4h _d*'nf that. We have found thatAfor instance'
in my school t re areig t 'A.erican Indias..
D: Where are you teaching now?
B: I teach in Little Rock. I '
D: Are you the principal?
B: I'm the principal. I would say roughly that in these two counties,
armmefrnr "nmi every one, not just school children, I would say
1o sv/ib/1/ I .
that eppre a ly there is .. o.. ,
I L 1I
D: Now what do you thihk the total population of Indians in Dillon County,
in Marlboro County, i i nl ounyin South Carolina?
B: Between Q and '
D: Mr. Brayboy, OvJ E.'c you feel all during this time your school
was a one-tettcLt- school, or a two-tca, l school at the most. How did
you feel about itis*, dyalth'!L rv, r.wer giving good instruction,,
did you feel t-.\t maybe i-\L- idildrc "P-A. really.being deprived of some-
B: I was ce-rWcka[ t out tkef^or a le I A.iM kept striving to get any-
thtine frtM.' ;or the 04 4L :en, 'S-s-^'^IZ to help them/o bde
better students gg j devig ttjpf t(,t:better nS mA4 Wii t just
happened that ai .ffg j hat tyjW, a4ong came free textboks/ and school
lunchthose were two things that made it better at my school.
D: Was there any time that you thought about trying to dissolve the
school, say even before the 1954 Supreme Court D'ecision. that you
S 1 ... iI l) u i.ij chii ldr..;., to uiik: tLii'm LO 10 l I t Ii n t i -
thought about dissolving The school, and entering the other schools,
AfM if so, do you think you could have done it?
B: Consolidation was being talked long before it actually happened.
D: Was it talked even before the Supreme Court esio desegregation?
B: Yes. It was talked.
D: How did the Indians feel about it?
B: The Indians Avs^qp did not favor it. They wanted to continue as
Indians in an'Indian school; however, as time moved on, they gradually
felt that consolidation would be the thing for them, if Dillon County
at hsa time could provide transportation Ay i,) -tr r-if ooLk-4 he pf-. .
D: Do you have one daughter?
B: One daughter.
D: Where is she now?
B: She is in Charlotte En). She married a Southern Bell lnan. They have been
D: Has your association in South Carolina been mostly with. whites over the
years socially or with the Indians?
B: The time spent in the area where I've settled, that I moved out
from Dillon into tE4 F p-Ul'etl) section. When I was at home I was
with Indians. When I was away from home, I was with whites. So I would
say that it's about fifty-fiftynow/I live her in cColl Ed m
neighbors i mostlywa whte. p/eo / ,I h
D: Are you a graduate from Pembroke State University?
B: Yes,sir. It was Pembroke State College however, when I graduated in 1958.
If you were to read quite a number of these pages in this scrapbook,
you would find that the _tate said something like this that South.'
Carolina said something like this that I taught school during the time.
and went to summer school in summer. That is true.
D: When you received your Normal degree.
B: I received that in 128. 0.
D: With the first graduating class of Pembroke State?
B: First graduating class.
D: Of two year normal.
B: Yeah,then I started workingy;-uy, just teaching school, and for
ten or fifteen years I did not go to a summer school. Then I started
going to t summer school, and when I marched finally on the stage to
receive my, college degree, one of the men on the stage, 1kSaar at-"
SSn,. Dr. Hebebrt Oxendine, said just as my namewas called out,
he said, "I want to say for this candidate that he labored thirty
years for this diploma,"and I wanted to say)but didn't, "You know how
it is for a backward student!" But the reason for that of course, was
working off two college years hours of the two college yearsA ust
working in the summer.
D: How old are you now, sixty-five?
D: When are you going to retire?
B: At the end of this term.
D: What do you plan to do?
B: I have been told by my. neighbors and by thosl around nme who are retired
to have something to piddle fa I understand that the town has said that
they will see that I have plenty to piddle at. And one sAid, "I can start
you off now at piddling."/I said, "What?"JHe said, "Collecting
delinquent taxes." 1a1 f^r I shook my head very strongly on that.
I9Another one said, "I want you to keep books for me. in my little
garage." He said,"You can come over and work one hour a day. Go back
to the house. Just keep a book on my business."
D: J r -ynt 1* in retrospect, as you look back at your
career and education over the years, what would you suggest yOC affg,,
if you could undo, what would 'you do that you didn't do, as far as over-
all for the race and so forth?
B: Now, I had heard a lot of people saythat if they had to live their
life over they would live it just like they had lived it. I couldn't
quite say that. I would say that possibly,.if I would have pushed for
consolidation as strongly as I pushed for transportation, and for
free books ,and for a lunchroom, that it might have been better.
D: Do you think maybe that would overweigh A this thing of identity
and so forth?
B: I think that the ideaA and don't get me wrong, the word Indian is not
mentioned as much in South Carolina afdP ^ as It is in North Carol-
ina. _E- oltahat.rlwe could hardly say that tha, Indians
were discriminated againstbut the Indian felt like A maybe he was
not welcome to enter the Dillon High School.
D: But yet, he was discriminated against as far as having equal equipment
and supplies and so forth/in a small school?
B: That's right.
D: In your philosophy of education hare, I see you have,"I know about
a monster of ignorance. There's a joy in serving to combat him. Yet the
desire to lessen his curse in our community, ______ '_
that is dignified and rewarding. ".When you applied for a teaching position
here, would ypu tell us about that?
B: Yes, I went into the office of the then superintendent of education for
Dillon County./I told him I had come to make application to teach. in a
little one-room school up in the upper4dge of the county near the North
Carolina line. Ie began to question me, and one of his questions was,
"Why have you come down here to work rather than among your people
up in Robeson County?" sid, "I would very much like for you, Mr.
____ _/_r__ p, to call Mr. J.R. Poole,"ho was rintendent when
I last taught in Robeson County. He called Mr. Poole, but he also
asked me to come very close to the phone, so I could hear what Mr.
Poole said. I believe-that Mr. IL.fCrrn wanted to be sure that I got
exactly what he did say. j&. Mr. Poole said," I regard this Mr.
Brayboy a fine gentleman." He said, "I have visited in his SC 5 I1
during periods when he was teaching, and I feel that he is an ex,.
cellent teacher." a a- -Thgrnt soi sE a Mr. Cf64cr"
di,'c yo ,no+ 6.e a h i..
said, "Then, why i i n g?"Well," he said, "There's only
he. mrnarrc) '
one C I wm a white lady, and they frown on thatoo
up here." And Mr. /, C C / i-rno
thanked him very much. and hung up.