Title: Interview with Redell Collins (August 22, 1972)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007007/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Redell Collins (August 22, 1972)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: August 22, 1972
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007007
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 13A

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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AUGUST 22, 1972
ROUTE 1, BOX 369

I: Mr. Collins, we appreciate being able to come into your home

and talk to you. What is the name of this community?

S: Rex-Rennert.

I: That's spelled R-e-x-r-e-n-n-e-r-t. Right?

S: That's right.

I: And, uh, how long have you lived in this community?

S: 37 years.

I: This community is predominately Indian, s> mostly Indians

live in this community?

S: That's right.

I: And this is near Red Springs?

S: Right.

I: Red Springs. R-e-d S-p-r-i-n-g-s. Uh, what kind of work do you do

Mr. Collins?

S: Construction work.

I: I wanted to ask you about your wife. What was her name before

you married?

S: LockaDMe.

I: And what is her first name?

S: Evelyn.

I: E-v-e-1-y-n. Right.


I: Okay. Do you know how old she is?

s: a(3r Th' :f. I

I: And you say, you have how many children?

S: 6. S5 vefv,-

I: Let's start with the oldestone and come on down to the youngest

one because our listeners would like to know, you know, meet you

and the family and these things about you. What's the oldest ones

': name?

S: Barbara h&

I: Barbara Ann. And she is how old?

S: f i years old.

I: Right.

S: And Brenda Sue's second oldest.

I: And she's how old?

S: She's 3I /f t

I: And then who comes next?

S: Beverly.

I: How old is Bev?


I: And who's next to her?

S: Harol ean

I: Harol ean. I gues you'd spell that H-a-r-o-lr d-e-a-n.

S: Yes. And he's do) Irfr ZNA/ .

I: Now who comes next to Harold?

S: Gertha Mae.

I: That's spelled G-e-r-t-h-a M-a-e. And she's how old?


S: aA 3-'I nearly skipped one.

I: Then she's Vp and next to her is ,,

S: Jimmy Dean.

I: Jimmy Dean--how old is Jim?

S: I S^V -

I: I believe we have one more to go.
/V, V a,
S: Angela Renee. She's uh, 9 months.

I: Nine months old. A-n-g-e-l-a R-e-n-e-e I guess.

Uh, well that is certainly a nice size family, Mr. Collins.

Do you do construction work?

S: Yes.

I: You construct buildings. c

S: Houses

I: And how long have you lived in this community?

S: Thirty-ssen years.

I: What wadspyur father and mother's name?

S: Henry Collins and Gertha Mae Collins.

I: Are they still living?

S: Yaeh y t -

I: Do you happen to remember their ages.

S: Daddy's 59 and Mama1, 58.

I: Uh, hum. You know there's one thing I want to ask you. You

know I have heard. You know there's one dc--you are an Indian

a Lumbee Indian like myself, right? And you know I have heard

people talk about--that's the Collins Settlement. Is that because

there's a good number of Collin's families in and around Red


Springs. Or is this the settlement?

S: This is g4i family. There are a lot of us--f of us, seven boys

and seven girls.

I: That's a nice size family. And do they--what does your father

do? 15 Ae -**

S: He's retired.

I: He's retired. I know you are very active knowing you personally

-xthis interview because I know you personally

and you are a person I admire very much, because you are so

active and you have always worked to improve yourself. And you

always take pride in community activities, just about anything

the new community has to do in a constructive way, they usually

call on you, don't they?

S: That's right.

I: And you don't ever refuse them.

S: No.

I: Well, that's very nice. Did you get the advantage of much education?

S: No, most of my education was through adult education.

I: So you went to adult classes after you were married?

S: Yes.

I: I think that's very commendable. You have been very successful

with you business,haven't you?

S: So far.

I: That's great. What school do you children go to?

S: Some of them. all of them go to city school,ARed Springs.

I: And they are (-Ube t, aren't they? And is this very different


from the old, you know from the schools they used to go to?

Can you tell any difference?

S: Some. I think the community school's a lot better, than some

other community going to somebody else's school. We always say

somebody else's school in a different settlement.

I: K rather t1an.go to a community school like RexPnnert School.

They bring other people in from other areas to Re"k1nnert and

send yours, which is near Rex-Rennert into other places.

S: That's right.

I: Uh, do they go to more schools than one;are they divided?

S: Yes, they go to all city schools--there arethree different

city schools in Red Springs.

I: I see. They haven't hadthey don't have any trouble over

there, I mean at this state do they?

S: No, not anymore than children does have. t / h0

I: The usual.

S: There have bAee disagreements; if they come home and don't

complain ihen .they have to live with it.

I: They don't get any encouragement at home. Are you a member of

the Jaycees, aren't you?

S: Yeh, I have been a Jaycee for two years now.

I: iow about the community action program, the poverty program. You've

always been, uh, you've always tried to help out. Although you

probably don't need this help yourself, but you've always tried

to help other people.

S: Well, I remember when Mr. Johnson, President Johnson got what he

called the great socicty;going and then these people come around


and had all this money to put up a building then we could get

help from the government. So we got together and raised $10,000

t builfta 4,000 square foot building and leased it to the poverty

program, part of it. Now we're using the other part of it for a

daycare center.

I: Well, now that's uh--all these community action programs don't

have daycare centers do they?

S: No.

I: Wasn't your center about the first one to have a daycare center?

S: Yes, it was.

I: Or the only one?

S: Well, it was the only one because ours was not paid for by the

government. We get our money local.

I: 'They didn't give you funds for the daycare center. And you got

together in the community and .

S: That is what started it.

I: That took a lot of work, didn't it?

S: A lot of sweat.

I: A lot of money too.

S: This advancement program give us $18,0001ast year. They didn't
A -
get funded til that run out.
how long
I: But you had been off waitinglbefore you got any help at all.

S: About three years, before they finally came in and somebody .

I: Well, I'm glad it's doing as well as it is because I know how

hard you have worked at it. And I know how sorely needed day are

centers are for people who work everywhere. And do you have any

plans for the community action program expanding it or changing it

in any way, any time?


S: Well, we got some plan ylou know to change but not--nothing

definite at this time.

I: Uh, I want to ask you about your church affiliation. Where do

you go to church?

S: Well, we travel about 1M miles to church out of the community,

it's a L.D.S church known as the Latter Day Saints.

I: Right. Well, ---------, I've enjoyed the few times I've been

to services thereand I'm sorry I haven't been more often.

S: I believe we hbe ten--ten studentsCfpm our branch going to

B.Y.U.--Brigham Young University.

I: You've got about ten students from this community?

S: Well, from our branch.

I: From your branch. Well, that's great. Now, they do--your

church does a lot of community work too, doesn't it? I mean

it's interested in your problems and all. Is your churches

growing--are your churches growing I should say?

S: Yeh, well, our church is building a church a day, you know on the


I: Uh, huh. Nationwide.

S: Yeh, we're fixing to start one. Matter of face, we're doing the

paper work on it now, but construction probably be the first of

the year. We're going to build a quarter of a million dollars '

I: Some people call this the Mormon Church, don't they?

S: Yes, it's nicknamed the Mormon.

I: But that's not the correct name. Uh, I want to ask you this. I

beliTe I'm correct but I had better ask you. This is the only


American Christian church in the world, isn't it? It was es-

tablished in America, wasn't it? And this church takes a lot

of interest in American Indians?

S: Yeh, well now in the Book of Mormon--the Laymonites.

I: The Laymonites. And you know, in my observation I have noticed
that your church is very mch interested in the Indian people.

Of course, this is an Indian community. How far do you think

this community stretches out, do you know?

S: That's the Indian community?

I: Uh, huh. I o

S: I would say it goes from the iabertsrn County line north to

the R 4ob on County line south, which would be south of the


I: That would be in South Carolina?

S: South Carolina, yeh, South Carolina.

I: We've got a large Indian settlement then haven't we?

S: Well, since I got messing with politics and this kind of stuff,
you know, I thought just a small bunch a people in one corner

that when you go over the county asia whole, you find out

that it's pretty big all through the county.

I: Some changes took place, now. I know you're in this part of the

county and I know that the Indian people are trying to help them-

selves through every available means, including politics, We

had some interesting things to happen in politics this year over

here didn't we?

S: Yeh, we elected a county commissioner.

I: This was the first time?-


S: Yes, first and last. Uh, the county commissionethat we voted

out been there twenty years. Had done nothing for the

Lumbee Indians so we decided to try something new.

I: Well, I certainly congratulate you. And what is his name?

S: Bobby Dean Locklear.

I: Bobby Dean Locklear. I might be able to interview him too, maybe.

Hope so anyway. Well, this is very encouraging then for the

community, isn't it?

S: Yes, well you know we have been working t so long to try to get

somebody elected into office and everytime we would mention it

people would say, "well we would try but we don't never get

nobody elected" So we finally did get the county commissioner

elected, seems like people has more interest in it.

I: Right. They can see that it can be done.

S: I think it's a step forwards. Look a little diffeint for us.

I: Uh, doZ-you have any visions to the future, I mean in politics.

Do you think that now you hav a man elected and all thst the

interest will continue?

S: Yeh, it will. WFve learned a lot of tricks in politics, a great

deal. We're beginning to learn some of them and it's going to be

different. It will be a brighter road for us.

I: That's great.
S: I think we can change County.

I: Well, you think it needs changing, don't you?

S: It do need change.


I: And some things have been changed. It seems just within the

last year, doesn't it?

S: Yes.

I: A4ng-those things. Well, being a Lumbee Indian myself, I cer-

tainly hope e continue and don't, uh, stop having we've gone so

far. I want to ask about the Lumbee Bank. Aren't you part-owner

of that?

S: Yes, I'm a stock holder in it.

I: Do you hold any office in the Lumbee Bank?

S: Well, tyre not eete office yet we've got about six months


I: I see. And how is it doing?

S: It's doing fine. It started off with $600,000 and we had a meeting

a couple of months ago. And I believe it was $2 l mil-TTjSftusad.

And it's really moving access at that time.

I: Mr. Collins the home we're in now is a very beautiful home and it's

a very spacious home. tDid-yotrbuild-this yourself?

S: Yeh, piece by piece.

I: Well, it's certainly marvelous. Do you know how wide it is?
S: Well, it's about 1700 square feet.

I: 1700 square feet. How many rooms have you got in your house--this

is brick, isn't it?

S: Yes, its brick veneer. Eight rooms.

I: Um, huh. Well, it is all certainly wonderful. I think everybody

loves to hear a success story and your story is certainly a success

story. And, uh, when you came up, did you work on the farm?

S: Yes.


I: What happened--well, you have some farm land now haven't you?

S: I believe I have about 35 acres.

I: What do you do with it?

S: I'm a hobby farmer--you can't make no money out of it just have

a lot of fun with it.

I: (Laugh); How about livestock and .?

S: Well, we've got some hogs and a pony.

I: Well, I know it is someding to, you know, to give you a lot of

pleasure. I think most of our people love to do farming, you

know, some anyway. And, uh, .

S: I sold, I believe about $1900 worth of hogs this year.

I get a lot of kick out of messing with them--it's just

spare time stuff--in the evening, in the morning, before you

go to work have to get up bright and early run out and feed the


I: Well, I know your work is in great demand. I know that people

are always calling on you; you're always working. I guess you

work all the time.

S: All the time. When you got seven in the family, you have to--

we got a $2 million housing project going, up in Federal.

I: And you're doing this?

S: Yes. Right along on the--- ----

I: That's great. Now how long, how long have you been in the con-

struction business, regular, full-time, I mean?

S: Well, I have been in the construction business ever since a64.

But I was working about by the hour for somebody else. And when

I started to school and began to learn a little something--see what


I was doing--it was v----up a treasury for somebody else.

I decided to try it on my own 6w a little bit. And it works--

just get out and go to work.

I: You know, I have observed you and knowing you personally and all.

And does t4 seem"- you have some kind of knack about a

business work and construction work you do beautiful work.

You just have to do or you wouldn't be this successful, right?

S: We started two $50,000 houses and they both sold before we got

them, well what we call Itet, dried in. We are getting some

more started--we didn't think they would sell that fast. i //y r'//,d/ /i

I: That's great. Do you have any advice you would give to other

people who want to start a business of their own?
A of it
S: Well, I think there is plenty'out there for anybody that wants

it. It's a lot of hard work.

I: You just got to go after it.

S: Spend our money right.

I: That certainly is an important consideration. And I certainly

congratulate you on your success because I know that everybody

in the community admires you. Do you think your civic activities--

you know, helping out in the clubs, in church, and in school

and around like this, do you think this sort of ties in with

your duties and helps you make it.

S: There is no doubt in my mind that the church does. Without

the church, I don't think I could even survive ,Before I joined
L,D ./i
this church, ZE St Church, I was only making about $4,000 a year.

And from, right after I joined the church I was up to $30,000.

There is no doubt in my mind that itrwasn't a big help.


I: So you would advise anybody else to take an interest in the

church and in the community and so forth?

S: Yes, and I pay my tithings.

I: Well; that's wonderful. You know I have heard people say that

you can't give the Lord anything that he gives it back to you,

do you believe this?

S: I do. I know one week my tithing was $70. The next week I

come in with$2500. There is no doubt in my mind that the

church has a part in:-it. If you take the tithing nicely you're

going to get it back one way or another.

I: You think you prosper if you tithe?
S: Yes, right.

I: Well, that is certainly interesting.

S: Especially with the right church.

I: Well, I, uh, wanted to ask you about--I want to ask you a little

bit about the school. And do you think the school--do you think

everythhg about to be normal now as far as the schools are con-


S: Well, I think that, well, this looking at the children is not

going to be easy. But I think if the parents will stay of it--

children were allowed to live together. Because I don't tell

my children what to do when they get to school. I think that

most of this stuff that happened in the school starts at home.

I: You think they might hear prejudice remarks at home?

S: At home--then they go to school and think they can do the same

thing and it don't work--it starts trouble.


I: Yourchurch is an integrated church, isn't it. I mean it

doesn't make any difference at all te C--< race.

Well, that is certainly very interesting. Do you know how

long your church has been established in this county--I under-

stand they were here a long time ago and then. am I correct

on that?

S: Well, I don't know. I do know when they first come into the

county--you know since I got big enough to know anything about
C/o wJ
the church. When they put out a trailer right near the/niversity

in Pembroke. And then they built a church there or seminary


I: About how long ago was that?

S: That's been ^) years ago now. And then they started branching

off from that. They go a branch in Magnolia over near Lumberton.

And they got one in Carmont, all in Restsson County.

I: Well, in this county many people are Baptist and many people are

Methodist and so on. When your church came in, was it coming in

new--you told me that, 10 years ago. But do you think it had

to encounter prejudice and overcome certain difficulties along

these lines? (

S: Yes, there is still a lot of prejudice But our churches have 'l

plenty of money and they spend it where it is needed, where it

can do people good. They have the seminary program which goes

to the school on Mondayli'pick# up the students and take them

to church and they teach them a couple of hours and then they are

out and play games and flings like this,and lot a people don't

particularly like that because other churches don't have the



I: Your church believes in a well-rounded program, doesn't it?

S: Yes, sports and all kinds of games, keep children busy and keep

them out of trouble. /r rc1l

I: Well, I think this is a good idea, too. Well, I know your

church will continue t grow and I believe there's room for

all the durches. It's very sad when you do encounter prejudice

or this sort of thing. People are pretty set in their ways,

I guess. And, you were kind enough to talk to me on this

program and I know our listeners will be interested but do

you have to cut this short to go somewhere?

S: Well, I have a community Jaycee meeting at Q8. && oc/C,

I: Well, I know how busy you are. So maybe we'd better suspend

it here if you think--what time did you have to go? Do you

have the time? Could we finish it after you come back?

S: Well, we could probably finish it now, we Hake 30 minutes.

I: Well, good. Are there any particular things you wsuad-like

to talk about? Anything--you know--anything on your heart,

on your mind, you would like to talk about.

S: I can't think of nothing. There are a lot of things I would

like to talk about.

I: Well, we'll talk about anything you want to talk about. We're

interested .in all phases of the lives f our people. And we

leave the door open and we uh.... --------- anything that interests

you, well we'll ....

S: Well, there's a lot of things that well like children that really


needs a education because I can see where I could have been 1

way ahead in life if I would have had an education. I didn't

have the chance of being educated, didn't get to go to school.

I: And do you think this is one of the reasons you have always

been so interested in trying to help other people? Because

you knew it could be rough.

S: Yeh, yeh, s-'-'-5-- school adult education still going

in the community. So many people in the community you know

can't read or write--s ems like you have trouble getting d2M-


I: Wonder why this is.
S: Well, they go out and if they can't get educated one night, they

want to call it off. It takes about 25 yearyto get educated.

I: Well, it certainly takes a long time in formal school or adult

education. Uh, do you think people are increasing in numbers
and that they are taking more interest cn adult education?

S: Well, this Rbertsen Tech--they are building a school now 4wl

I think which has always had a lot of students. And they are

doing a good job i.zX. %Jd h I think that people who didn't

finish high school, something like that--want to take up a

trade that they're -- V seems like they get

interest in it, because you can go to school and get a college
rrivuin' A4Ld $O
education and still not do nothing but push a pencil.

I: That's right. And you can't get a job pushing a pencil every-


S: Well, I've got one of my brothers working with me --he can't

even sign his name. He makes $8,000 a year, but he knows


how to do carpenter work.

I: Right. But if he had an education he could even make more than

that now Bamns_his ability. Well, then you believe ea school

ought to teach more than just reading and writing--ought to

teach more practical things?

S: I feel like they should have a work shop--give somebody the

chance to really get the feel of--I would say, teach them a trade.

You know a lot of times I have heard your gavnees ,ooout
-C&j2 S-fJ . ----, you shouldn't tell a child 9 or 8 years old

what he's going to be the rest of his life.

I: Let the child decide.

S: -----------Sir?

I: Let the child decide.
5C? iC J&/ /IL cP -_ icc /
S: t would be a lot of time wasted walking the streets trying to

make up their mind.

I: Uh, hum. And, uh, there's much then that could be done in

the schools along these lines, isn't there?

S: I would think so.

I: Not everybody is going to college--not everybody wants to be a

teacher or preacher or anything like this, and uh, if the school

could accommodate these students in these trades as well as

teach them the arts, and other related things, this would be

a great step in the right direction you think?

S: Thht--t1a wh I would 'think o,

I: Do you have anything else you would like to talk about or

would you like to talk about the school, too?


S: Well we were talking about a few minutes ago, daycare center,

that is one of important things that I know of in a community

for children. Take Jimmie Dean when he started to school,

he could read and write Itff.ef.

I: Uh, huh, You are talking your ---Lte---baby.

S: He learned--we just didn't have a babysitter. We had two
ha l
teachers and one of them has a master's degree.

I: Uh, huh, and the community went together and hired this

lady with the master's degree to take care the children

t e-t ake-are- f-the-chil-drena She teaches all those--she

teaches at the daycare center.

S: She teaches at the daycare center.

I: Well, that's great--they don't just play and sit around--they'Y

learn something useful. And has Jimmie started to school yet?

S: Yes, this will be his second year.

I: And when he started, do you think this gave him a good start


S: Yeh, he come home the second day he went to school told me

I had already put him in the smartpies.
I: That's great. That sounded like Jimnzat Uh, in other words, he

had an advantage he wouldn't have had if it hadn't been for the

daycare center.
A -4
S: Well, I bht a brother that lives next door--his little boy has

been in the first grade two years. He didn't get a chance--they

didn't send him to the daycare center; I think it would have

helped him, a lot.

I: Do you think there is a possibility you might get other grants

or help towards the daycare center?


S: Well, we,uh, got some grants, well, it's not a grant, it's

an aid from the state and the edqi They give us $25 000

a year--of course you re going to have to raise 4% of that.

I: Uh, hum. You've got to raise 12 and they make it out to 100l C

Well, that's great. Because I know when you started, you

shouldered the whole thing yourself and I mean, the community.

And I know you were very active in this and that you have always

believed in this idea to give the children some where to go

and enable the parents to work and I'm certainly glad it's working

out as well as it is. And I'm sure it will continue to grow.

How about the other activities that the community action center?

Do you know how they're making out in other things?

S: Well, they've been successful this year in some of their projects.

I know they had, uh, some funds to buy fertilizer, for people

in the community that normally is welfare people. They give them

fertilize and seed to plant their garden. About three weeks

after they give them the seed and fertilize, tan they pass out

hoes to everybody. And, most of them got their stuff gathered

in the freezer for the winter.

I: Oh, that's great.

S: So it's aging to be a big help.

I: And you see the community action center, uh, as a place for

training as well as for other things, don--t.you?.:

S: Yes, that's right.

I: You're making it useful--you're making it work. Do you think this

is true? --of all the community action centers that they will work


if people make them work or really get behind them.

S: Well, they got to have a little push.

I: Because I know some areas that haven't--they don't seem t be

as successful as your seem. Uh, and sometimes, it does take

a little extra loving care, you know.

S: Well, people handing the money out--sometimes brey have to stand

on their toes and demand it. Because it's just like politics--

you have to really get in their and fight for your community.

I: Right.

S: Or you don't get your part.

I: And make sure it's spent in the right way.

S: :That's right.

I: Well, this is true in so many things, I guess. And, uh, your

action in politics, are you democrat or republican or .

You vote as your conscience guides you according to this.

S: WRll, I have been voting democrat; I don't know this year I've

been thinking about it and still thinking. I really haven't


I: Well, of course, I am asking you a personalmatter there. I

shouldn't, maybe I shouldn't ask you that anyway. But I think

that you gave me a good answer. Are people in your community

becoming more interested in registering and voting no matter who

they vote for?

S: Yeh, because, the younger children is educated, getting educated.

I think there are two things different, from what my mother and

daddy did. Most of the Lumbee Indians has always felt like when

somebody come around wanting them to vote for him--that was it.

When you voted for him you wouldn't--you wouldn't ever see him


anymore till he got ready to be elected again. Then he would

come by and tell you the same ole tale again.

I: And never fulfill any of the things.

S: Yeh, the younger ones is set up things a little different now.

You elected somebody that you know--somebody that you see

everything--you know what kind of people you're getting.

I know that wouldn't work in president and governor but in
some of
local politics we're going to start electing'our own people7-

balance the thing up a little bit.

I: I want to ask you a question--don't answer if you don't want to,

just say, you know. But I wanted to ask you about, you know,

when you were getting the bank established. I know you have

always felt the Indian people needed a bank of their own and

this is the first Indian bank in the United States.

S: That's right.

I: And this helps in more ways than one, doesn't it?

S: It certainly does.

I: And do you think the complications that you're giving other

banks makes them operate a little bit better.

S: Yeh, because there's a couple a banks in the community. Just

as quick as we got the Lumbee Bank chartered, then they tdey

began to hire Lumbee Indians to work in their banks, try to

keep the people. But it's not working--most Lumbees still doing

business in the Linmbee Bank

I: You think they waited a little too late?

S: They did; they certainly did.


I: Well, this is a move that--to give us a economic wage, would you


S: Yeh, when you walk in a bank, and you're a stockholder in it,

it just makes you feel like you're at .home. If you want money,

you know you're going to get it, because it's yours.

I: Right. and uh..

S: But you're going to have to pay it back.

I: i)\J'm certainly glad to see the bank doing as well as it its--there's

a sign along the highway, you know it's ^9S an arrow pointed straight

up and it says: "The Lumbee Bank. We are on our way up."

S: That's right.

I: I like it

S: It's beautiful.

I: I heard some complaints. I heard one complaint recently about the

funds at Pembroke State University, which was former Pembroke

State College for Indians. The Indians, you know, were-the ones that
chartered that university. But when they, the University, which

spends millions of dollars a'year. I think that they finally put

$50,000 in the Ltmbee Bank and I wonder how you stockholders feel

about this. Of course, this is tr'y a drop in the bucket.
S: We feel terrible.

I: Do you feel like they ought to at least split it in half?

S: Yeh, well. .

I: Or put it all there if possible, but.

S: I am on the board down there at that Lumbee Region Development.

WeI6 got $83,000 last year. First thing they done is stuck it in


First Union Bank. When I found out about it, it come out--we

got our own bank and the people that fi-ed t said that we

can but you know, it is a minority bank in the community that

the money should be put in it. We finally go it transferred

had to go back to Atlanta--take some time and & paper work

but it was done.

I: And Mr. Collins, how do you feel about, uh, I haven't talked to

many people, if anybody about the Lumbee Recreation Center. Some

of the people, some of the Lumbee Indians are demanding that--

uh, they've been demonstrating, I understand: wanting something

like LRDA to pay for, you know, the bed off the Lumbee Recreation

Center. And allow, uh, you know all the people an opportunity to

use it. What do you think about that--do you know of anything about

the problems? I don't know if this is possible at all.

S: I know. I was, they've been trying to get me to join, you know. And
I just haven't done it, which I don't know anything about the recreation
/enter and its operation.

I: Would it make you happier to see it open to all the Indian kids and

old people, too whether they had money or not? Of course you know. ..



I: This is Tape 9, Side two, continuing the interview with Mr.

Redell Collins of Shanon, North Carolina. Mr. Collins we
had just mentioned something about the Lumbee Recreation Center)

and uh, I believe you said you weren't too familiar with the

problems over there at this time. Uh, is there anything else

you would like to add to this tape? Because our friends, we've

got friends all over the United States now and this is something

that we couldn't claim to have 25 years ago to say. Are you

happy that people are taking a great interest in our people?

S: Yes, I sure is. Because if somebody hadn't taken interest, I

don't would have survived you know, as well as we have, we could

have lived probably just as long by the county or state feeding?-

But by somebody helping us a little bit and helping us see things

a little different. I know there was a VISTA worker come from
ave k*,',Nvc
New York dawn iu--th-eouty got us interested in politics one

time. She stayed down for the summer. Well, I think toirs give

us a big kick. It finally got us interested in politics. She

got the people in the community registered. And, uh.

I: ) You think our people are gi Ig to play the grand ole' game of

politics then, which is a good thing because this is the way

America operates on politics. And, we are taking part in self-

government and all these things. Were you happy to hear about

us having a delegate from both parties to go to the national con-

ventions this time?


S: Yeh, I was reading the Federal Paper and Mr. Dial was the first

one to go, which I.

I: Mr. Adolf Dial.

S: Mr. Adolf Dial. I was one of the guys that helped get him seated.

As I was reading the paper the other day, Friday I believe it was--

I looked in the Republican party--his brother-in-law was going.

(Laugh) Looks like they're keeping it in the family.

I: (Laugh) Well, at least we've got two Lumbees---------------

S: They're smart boyY, e sa .

I: Yes, this is encouraging to me, too. But do you think, it pow

in the past few years the Methodist Church gave I believe about

$30,000--about $30,000 grant to minority groups in Robertson

County to help them get registered and to teach them civics

about, you know, about civic matters abaut politics and other things.

Do you think this is something that is really worth while?

S: Yeh, I think the Methodist Church has been a big help. They got

what you call, a, I don't know what the name of the building is

in Lumberton but Mr. Bob Mangum is in charge of it. He was down,

Friday night was a week ago, showed us a film they had made up'iA

myertsn County7-what was going on, the poor people that needed

help. I looked and one of the last pictures in there was Jimmy
Dean in the Daycare enter. Uh, I think they're doing a good job.
(A / /Z
I: And a lot of changes have taken place in the foard of /lectioni, haven't


S: They certainly have.

I: I know this time last year, I imagine about this time last year,

wasn't it? Out of 39 registrars in the county, only was it two


who were Indians and one black and two Indians?

S: Two Lumbees and one Negro.

I: And now we have a man who is the head of the Board of Elections.

S: And he is a Republican.

I: That's right.

S: Instead of a Democrat.

I: And this caused quite a stir and they threw him out but uh, they had

to put him back tia because if they hadn't they would have been breaking
the wrong rules. And Raleigh stood by him or stood by the rules any-

way, in this instance. But, this was so blatant, you know when they

to get rid of a man because he's of another party and another race.
A to be
And it was so obvious. And didn't nobodylseemed embarrassed about

it after they did that. Uh..

S: Especially the Lumbees. They were tickled to death.

I: Well, you think we're seeing a new day then?

S: Yeh, it's changing.

I: Do you think it will keep changing?

S: I think so because our people is qualified for just about any position

in county government or state government. Abd, if a person's qualified

for the job, you can't keep him down just because they happen to be a

Liimbee, I don't think.

I: Well, that's one thing--our people have the reputation for being hard

workers and I've heard it rumored that because we have such tremendous

of labor here, goolabor. This is why the Goodrich Footwear Plant

came here.

S: Well, I've been married 17 years and I took my first vacation this year,


We always said that Indians don't know to do nothing but work.

Sometimes I believe it.

I: We had to do it, haven't we?

S: We had to do it. But we're getting over the hump now.

I: Right. Do you think we're better off by not being under the

Bureau of Indian Affairs?

S: I don't want to be under that.

I: We want to be kept in there--so, so on. At least we have a chance

to have a say in our destiny.

S: That's right.

I: And control i ". own property.

S: Well, that's fine for people o wants to be on it. But I think in

Rbr n County--I don't think no Lumbees in their right mind would

want to be under the government.

I: Especially under the controlfr c/ & / 0 re 'r'

S: Nd, not the Indian affairs.

I: If the government wants to give us help, and we do need help in so

many areas _do you think the way the government ought to handle

the situation like that is put their help in the hands of the Indians

themselves and let them administer it.

S: Let them use it. One that been --------- --when we did get

money to help the Indians. When it got to us, it was' ed up.

I: It was used up in making studies and that sort of thing, wasn't it?

S: It was the same way in the iverty program when they first started it.

When the money got down to the people it would do the most good, it

had been used up. So they didn't nothing but information to hand out.

I: And that didn't help very much did it?


S : ? a (hu nNg y (? ) .. r t 'il.,

I: And, do you think the poverty program has goaed that many of the

problems it had originally?

S: I think it has because it started out as tri-county--here in Robertson

County it did--it was tri-county program, which I think they named it

right. They was trying--though they didn't know a whole lot.

But they ered as they went along and I think they have 3anaed a


I: W11, it certainly was a new program and it took it &hile to get

on its feet, but do you think it's going all right now?

S: Ours is, yes, in our community. I don't every go to the other

communities to their meetings, and I don't know.

I: Well, do you have any advice you would give to other people who

are operating community action programs that might be of help?

S: Well, it's something that a person really have to live in a com-

munity tha he-_ y need help and want to get out and loan a

helping hand.

I: In other words, they would have to take p personal interest in it,

no matter what the government does?

S: Yeh.

I: And see that it is administered fairly and so on?
S: W& have a boy come from--he lived in Cherryville, North Carolina

and he was going to school at the University of North Carolina, in

Rqleigh. And he come down and lived with us through the summer--we

set him up in a house of my brother's, And he worked for us during

the summer and a little politics and things like thisand he was a

lot of help. You've met Pete Blenk?


I: Uh, huh.

S: He helped us out.

I: Well, the reason, one of the reasons our people are notso well off

could this have anything to do with the so-called Industrial

Revolution? You know, it was a time when many things were done

on e farm by hand that aren't done by hand anymore.

S: Well, I would say ten, fifteen years ago, that was all you could

do. You'd go to a plant--they wouldn't hire you because you were

a Liimbee. And you would have to work on the farm--some of the people

left and went North to New York, Baltimore, and places like that.

Some of them would stay on the farm b they finally got where they

could get a job and-a-mal, something like this and took advantage of

it. Aid the people running these plants seeing now that Indians

will c as much as work as two or three whites. And the Indians ,/6

just aboutApushg the rest of them out.

I: Yeh, well, I guess maybe this is because we know when we get a chance

if we don't take advantage of it, this might be the only chance we'll

ever get.

S: Right, we know when we get a job we'll going to work and we're going

to do our best. We're going to have to show the other guy up.

I: That's certainly an astute observation.

S: I know in this part of the county--well, Robert-sen and Cumberland County

Indians just about took over the construction work. $They can really get

out there and work.

I: They do good work.

S: They do good work--that means a lot. All Indians wantrto be boss.

I: (Laugh)


S: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

I: (Laugh) Well, I guess everybody else has that kind of problem.

Do you think it's a good thing to be ambitious and to. ?

S: It certainly does.

I: I was hoping--I am hoping that whatever happens we will get the

full use of theLumbee Recreation Center, you know about how large

it is and the kind of games and other facilities it has, don't you?

S: Yeh, we rented the Recreation Center for two days--Ldmbee Homecoming,

cost us $500 a day. And, uh,pput on a big parade, gospel singing

and this kind of stuff for two days. I got to learn a little bit

about--we had a golf tournament.

I: Do you think this is a good thing? This is the third year we've done

it, isn't it?

S: Yeh.

I: Do you think it's a good thing for us all to come together or many of

us to come together each year in a homecoming and spad some time together.

S: Yeh, you get to see a lot of your old friends, which in my end of it,

I was working so then drinks and this kind of stuff, trying to pay $500

a day. I really didn't get to meet as many people as I would have liked


I: I don't know whether you had the chance to see how many people were out
,( e to
or to make any estimate aslthat, but according to your estimate or your
opinion, how do you think the numbers compared with the other two years.

I mean, do you think we had a bigger crowd?

S: I think it increased a little this season. We've always had big crowds

for the parade.

I: Do you have any estimate as to how many people attended homecoming this



S: No, not right off. Uh, we had a, everand4-Nolans would know, S? xP

would -bpecause -h was-hp--z-p rtn-M.

I: He probably counted the ----- didn't he?

S: I think they counted the cars, estimated on their own.

I: In other words, it's increasing in interest, it's not falling back


S: It ain't falling back. We watched most of the businessmen in

the Carolinas that had business to burn their footCoft, some of

them to demonstrate some of the stuff in the parade. Like some

of them in furniture business, car lsiness, .

I: Uh, do you have any ideas, any other ideas we could talk about, some

of the things we might do to help ourselves?

S: Well, it's like I said a while ago, it is sometlng that a person has

to really see where they can get ahead by getting out and working.

I know I was first married I was working somebody else, I was working

days a week at night. I really worked too hard, but I had to-to

survive. Had a new home and a new automobile that had to be paid for.

I still wasn't making no money. I had to do something desperate. I

think a person get out and work, they do all right.

I: Do you, now that you have your own business, do you think you work

as hard now as you did when you didn't have?

S: I work harder.

I: But you get a better showing for that too, don't you?

S: Yeh, that's right.

I: There's a great deal of satisfaction in doing something for yourself

too, isn't it?


S: To me, it's just like art. work, when I build a house, I get my

truck and start driving off, I always look black and see how it looks,

trying to give myself a pat on the back. We build some $50,000 houses.

It's just like art work--most of them you have to get out and build

them with you pocket knife, because you don't know 4ae, cut on it.

I: It has to be very precise and very accurate, doesn't it?
071 "
S: It has got to te right.

I: So that calls for some kind of training and some of ths on-job

training starting.

S: Yes, it's got to be skilled work.

I' Well, your father, did you work some with him in this construction


S: No, we done the farming and he done the construction work.

I: Well, you've done, you do, in addition to all the buildings you do,

by the way did you lay these bricks?

S: No, I don't do brick work.

I: You didn't lay the brick but you worked along with them.

S: I supervised b '

I: That's important. I have noticed cabinets and things like this--

very--you know require. a very high skill in handling tools and making

calculations and all this sort of thing. And anybodh0 t can make

cabinets for a kitchen like you make and the homes they build just

has to turn out fine, too.
S: Yes. You've got to know 'stuff and be able to supervise it. You know,

you've got to--if you've got a man doing something and not doing it

right, you've got to show him how. You don't run him off, just show

him how.


I: And of course you have to know the stuff or you can't show him how.

S: That's right, that's right.

I: And your tools are very important, the right tools, do you think?

S: Yeh, you've got to have a lot of tools, have tools for every job.

But there's a trick to it, you've got to learn how to get by with

what you've got.

I: Well now when you have to say take on a job, I have heard of several

people trying, uh, you know to get started and they would bid too low.

When they ended up, they Sc-1d ceee out either in debt or they hadn't

made anything. This is another important consideration, isn't it?

S: Yeh, when you figure a job, if you don't know how, you needn't ask

nobody, because they wJthi f'tell you the truth. So it might pay to

start off on a small item, then if you could--if you do a small one,

you can figure it up in square footage basis and then you could tell

how you could come out on a big one. The same-kind of price it.

I: Well, Mr. Collins this certainly has been an interesting interview.

And I know you've given a lot of encouragement to other people. And

I certainly appreciate your talking with me. And I am really proud of

this tapeA I appreciate this because you are one of the people I have

always admired you, I .don't just admire you, I love you. And I think

this is what==one thing we have among our people--we have some of it

left and that's love and appreciation and do you have anything else

you would like to add before we .?

S: No, it was an honor to me to be able to be interviewed.

I: Well, I'm honored that you allowed me to interview you. And these will

be placed in libraries all over. So, here's hoping that the program will

be of great benefit and I'm sure it will and I'm sure you added much to

it and I certainly thank you.


I: He's in Viet Nam right now.

Song follows:

Pardon me if I'm sentimental when we say goodbye.

Don't be angry with me, should I cry.

When you're gone, I dream a little dream of days gone by.

Now and then there's a fool such as I.

Now and then there's a fool such as I am over you.

You talk me how to love and now you say that we are through.

I'm a fool but I love you dear until the day I die.

Now and then there's a fool such as I.

I: Now here is one we did together, which is a real folk song, I think;

"Take this Hammer."

Song: Now take this hammer and carry it to the captain

Take this hammer and carry it to the captain

Take this hammer and carry it to the captain

Tell him I'm gone--Lord, Lord,--tell him I'm gone.

If he asked you was I running

If he asked you, Lord was I running

If he asked you was I running,

Tell him I was flying, Lord, Lord, tell him I was flying

Tell him I was flying, Lord, Lord, tell him I was flying

I: Here is a little part of the program I presented in Raleigh, North

Carolina earlier this year, on, well, it's self-explanatory. I'll

just play the recording.


I am grateful for being invited here in Raleigh today to take part in


this very worthwhile endeavor designed for the specific purpose

of promoting human understanding. May the great spirit richly

bless these and like efforts throughout the world. The theme of

universal brotherhood is one that cannot be overstressed, for it

is utterly impossible for one to despise or look down upon those

whom we truly understand. I am happy to present to you today, as

my contribution to this endeavor this program on Lumbee music.

The Lumbee Indians, like other Indian groups throughout North,

South, and Central American have always and still are, they have

always been and still are conservationist-minded people. They

feel that wastefulness is sinful and wrong. For a long time now

American Indians have been mourning against the wrongful destruction

against nature's resources and warning that nature has a very delicate

balance, indeed and when this natural balance is thrown out of

proportion, dire effects is inevitably the result. That's what

this first song is about men--it's sort of a "told you so" kind

of song but we hope you will excuse it, nonetheless.


I told them not to search for gold,

For if they did the eagle would die,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen

They didn't listen. .to me.

I told them if the eagle died,

That there would be no keeper of the land,

They wouldn't listen,

They didn't listen

They didn't listen. to me.


And if there were no keeper of the land,

She would come and soothe the lucas skies,

They wouldn't listen,

They didn't listen,

They didn't Jisten to me,

And if they polluted the skies,

That would have to move into the sea.

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen to me.

I Well, there you have a portion of a program I presented in

Raleigh, North Carolina some time ago. This is the way the

program started out and we talked about different Indian songs.

Not all Lumbee songs, of course, but all of them were Indian



They didn't listen,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen, to you,

They didn't listen,

They didn't listen, .


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