Interview with Reese Locklear, September 1, 1972

Material Information

Interview with Reese Locklear, September 1, 1972
Locklear, Reese ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Florida History ( local )
Lumbee Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Lumbee County (Fla.)


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.

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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
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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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I: Mr. Locklear, wiH- you spell your name for us?

S: R-e-e-s-e L-o-c-k-l-e-a-r.

I: How old are you?

S: I am 42 years old.

I: And what is your occupation?

S: I'm an education advisor with the Army Education Center at Fort


l: ine. Uh, how long have you been with them?

S: I have been with them for three years.

I: Uh, what are your parents. Could you tell us what you parents

nameS are?

S: Yes my parents are named Mr. and Mrs. James P. Locklear and they live

on Route 3, Maxton, North Carolina. And how old .did I ask you

how old you were?

I: No, well my father is still living; he's 86 years old. And my

mother, she passed away four years ago.

1: And how old are you now?

S: I'm 42.



I: Didn't you attend Prospect School?

S: Yes, I attended Prospect--completed high school at Prospect High

School; that's Route 3, Maxto5 and then I continued at Pembroke

State College, at that'time, which is now Pembroke State University.

I received a B.S. degree in June, '53, 1953.

I: That's fine, now who was it you married?

S: I married Grace Dial, she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Noy

Dial of Route 3, Maxton.

I: She also has a degree from P.S.U?

S: Yes, that's right. She has a degree in elementary education from

Pembroke State University.

I: She is a teacher, isn't she?

S: Yes, she is a teacher in the county kindergarten school.

I: Fine. We know that our listeners and readers are interested in

all the details. So, uh, I want to ask you a few questions and I

would like to encourage to talk, just be at ease and as natural as

possible. And I'm not going to ask you any trick questions or any-

thing like that. We simply would like to know more about you and

your family, your occupation, your education or work, pur experiences

in life, anything about your attitudes and socio-psychological at-

titudes and that sort of thing; in other words, the sky is the limit.

And I'm not here to try to ask trick questions. We talk about what

you want to talk about. I understand that you've worked at several

things besides your present occupation. Of course, didn't you not

teach for a while?
S: Yes, I did, I taught forA years in the public schools of Robenson

County. And I've also had two years of experience with the tri-county


community action, which is an anti-poverty agency. And, since that

time, I have been employed with the, at the present time, with the

Army Education Center at Fort Bragg.

I: Could I ask you a personal question? Don't answer if you don't

want to. Of all the positions you have held, which is the most

satisfying to you personally?

S: Well, I must admit that the job that I have now, the occupation that

I have now is more challenging than any other position that I have

held, because I can really see some good results that I'm accomplishing

right now. What de Ido; d what d6 I like most about the job that

I'm doing now is that I'm working with military personnel, trying to

get them to go ahead and continue their education. As you know now,

the army has an educational program just like the civilian life, with

this all volunteer army coming out, the department of defensee is

pushing for more education to have men more qualified in their po-


I: And you're at Fort Bragg?

S: Fort Bragg, yes I am.

I: That's about 30 miles.

S: About 35 miles from Pembroke.

I: Uh, is your work with uh, it is an integrated group, isn't


S: Yes, it is, it is an integrated group.

I: There has been a number--there have been a number of complaints

in the past. But I don't suppose you would be in contact with those

because working in the educational program, uh, is quite different

from some of the other areas of work. And the army has done much


you know to improve its morale and interrelationdips between

people of different races. You don't ever have any problem,

any racial problems?

S: No, no, now, as you mentioned before, the army has gone all in-

tegrated and as yet, I have seen no complications with the


I: Well, that is certainly good.

S: The way it looks now, the way it looks nnw-all people within

military service are treated equally.

I: That's good.

S: Being an education advisor, trying to lead and guide officers

and enlisted men in the areas they should go. I, as for myself,

I try to lead each individual, leaving out race, religion, or any-

thing of that nature.

I: Well, you are certainly well-qualified and your work with tri-

county community action--how long des this last?

S: Uh, this lasted for two years from January of 1967 up until December

of 1968.

I: Uh, of course when you worked with them, thlpoverty program was

sort of in its infancy, was it not?

S: That is true. As you know, these anti-poverty program--it takes

a while to get them off the ground.

I: Right.

S: With most of an experimental thing.

I: And, uh, where does your wife teach?

S: My wife is employed with the Robeltson County Board of Education

and as I mentioned before, she is a kindergarten teacher down at


E4 s School.

I: Well, now when you and were coming along, you know, just about

all he power was local power. You know, thelocal board of

trustees or committee men, uh, made most of the decisions. Do

you think there is a drastic change in this--do you think they

have less power today or that power is becoming more centralized?

S: Yes, I think as far as the Lumbee Indians of Robeason County are

concerned, that the power is getting more centralized, in other

words we are getting people educated to the fact now that we

can run the program, educational program or any type of program

in Robegtson County just as well as any other individual.

I: Right, that's great. But how about opportunities, do you think

our opportunities are improving or lessening or remaining the


S: Definitely, I think our opportunities are improving, I would like

to say that if we've got individuals today that has the determination,

I'm speaking in terms of Lumbee Indians, if they had the deter-

mination to go for, I believe the opportunity is available for

them. To give you an illustration, just a week or so ago, we

read where we read where we had an Indian lawyer now in the county.

This is a good step forward.

I: And this is the first lawyer we have had to practice in North

Carolina, isn't it?

S: That is true, that's true. The first-Indian North Carolina.
0I: c e -
I: Fferst we ha$ commissioner Brantley Blue. I believe he practiced


in Tennessee and passed the bar exam there. But this is the

first man, the first Indian to pass the North Carolina bar


S: That's true.

I: And we are very happy about this.

S: And I understand if I might, you can clarify me on this, I believe

we have two or three more that's supposed to graduate next year

to finish their law. Am I right?
I: Yest I think so. And this is very encouraging, too. We are

wondering, where do you attend church?

S: I attend Prospect Methodist Church, the same church where you and

I were reared up in.

I: Right. This community is sort of central to all the Indian com-


S: That is true, all Indian community.

I: You can stand there and look for miles in either direction and

there are only Indians. .

S: That is true, there are only Indians and we are proud of it too.

I: Right. Well, uh, do you think you will remain with the program

you are with. I know you have no difficulty getting a job be-
causetknow you are very able and so forth, you're satisfied with

your present job and you'd rather be there. I think you have

already told me.

S: Yes, I really enjoy the work I'm doing now. It is something I can

see good results from. Not with the other jobs I had, I saw some

results but this I think hes more satei:a4ea a, I enjoy it. And

you know an individual goes out to work no matter what he is doing


if he's satisfied, it's an enjoyment to him. Sometimes programs

get so wrapped up in red tape that a person isn't able to work

as freely as he would like and this is not the case where you

are working.

S: No, no this is Civil Service. I'm with Civil Service. Our job

is laid out with the department of the army; our job is laid

out and it's pretty much cut, we know what we are supposed to


I: Do you think our people, as a whole, are taking advantage of their

opportunities more today than in the past?

S: Yes, I do. I believe people my age and your age; we're trying

to push our children so that they will get these opportunities

as they become available. And as I said before, I believe now,

speaking in terms of the Lumbee Indian, if we had someone qualified

I think the opportunity is there.

I: I didn't ask you about the children--how many children do you have?

S: Well, I have two daughters. One is 13 and the, other one, the

youngest one is three.

I: What are their names?

S: My oldest daughter is named Melba and my youngest daughter, Lisa


I: Well, that's fine. You know there have been some complaints, well

not really complaints but remarks made about the large families

among the Lumbee Indians. And of course this was certainly true

in the past but how about the present. Do you think our families

are tending to become smaller?


S: Yes, I do. If we were to take a survey now, we would find that

families are not as large as they were when you and I was coming

along. I know you came from a large family and I came from a

family of 16. So, I have 6 brothers--5 brothers and 6 sisters

living. And right now, there are none of the children living

that have large families. So we can see there is a break down;

our race today is tending to have less children than they did

when you and I were coming along.

I: Smaller families seem to be characteristic of our Caucasian

brothers and, uh, we seem to be following that pattern also. Don't we?

S: That's true. We have a tendency, you know, we want to follow --

we want to be able the children that we have we want to be able

to give the best that we can.

I: Right. Were there many of the children in your family you know

when you and I came along. Uh, uh, we had,uh, I'm a little

older than you, but our opportunities were not as good then it

seems to me as they are today. One factor being the Great

Depression and this sort of thing. Uh, do you think, most Indians

most Lumbee Indians have an opportunity today to gain at least

a high school education if they wish to?

S: Yes, this shows today that we are advancing. Go back to your

time r my time we were farmers, we were share croppers. And

a lot of the time we didn't get to go to school probably starting

Christmas. We had to stay out and harvest the crops and then we

got to go t the school. We had no one to encourage us. My father

and my mother neither one was able to go to school. They did

not get any education. So, as I said before, this is the


opportunity today. We have someone to encourage the young

people to go forth.

I: I am certainly glad to see this changing because I know for a

long time our people have been ee preaching what I

call the gospel of education. I think this is being heeded more

and more. People are beginning to see that this is our only

salvation and if we are not educated if our children are not

educated, they will not have a Well, they are handicapped

anyway because of their race. But, uh, if they are educated

they do have a better chance. Do you agree with this?

S: is true. I would like to go back to my former education.

You know when I finished high school I had no one to lead and

guide me in what areas I should go into. So, in 1951 when I

entered Pembroke State College--there was one place for me

to go and that was teaching. No one had sit down and explained

to me the various fields that was open. The only thing I knew

about was teaching school. But today it's vice versa. Each

student as he finishes high school; he sits down and talks to

counselor. He is given examinations and these examination show

what areas that he should go into. And this has helped the

Lumbee Indians of Robeapson County a lot.

I: How about our community? Do you think-we know this community

has been here for hundreds of years--hundreds and hundreds of

years. And do you think there will always be a Lumbee Indian



S: Definitely, definitely. We are people thathas always been

molded together. I think this mold will be here. I think

the town of Pembroke here will always be a Lumbee town.

I: Right. And do you have an idea how much of Robeafson is--

the real estate of Robeftson County is owned by Indians--

I mean a rough guess?

S: I would say, uh, anywhere from 40 to 50% of it is owned by

Lumbee Indians.

I: Most people who own farms of course, we have people who own

hundreds and hundreds of acres, and then we have people who

own a small tract and tten we have people who don't own any.

But uh, do you think this is am ambition of-All our people--

is to get a little piece of land, even if it's just a small

piece to be able to say, I'm at home, nobody can come here

and say you've got to go somewhere or you've got to move.

S: Yes, yes, I would say this. This is the ambition of all

Indians, Lumbee Indians of RobeiBson County--to own a piece

of land. I know when I was growing up my father which today

he owns, I believe it's about 24 acres of land. He we8 d

cherish this. In fact, the children, # were raised on this

small amount of land, so it is something that the people have

to 1 the Indians of Robertson County have to -C


I: Some of these farms are quite large. For example, you know Mr.

Jim Dobb, Mr. James Dobb.

S: Yes, I do.


I: He is one of the few solid business men of this county, who
I think sort of believes in the acquisition of land; he

doesn't hold onto it, but he always got land. And, uh, do

you have any idea how much Jim probably owns?
S: Uh, I don't know about James Dobb, but I do, I know you are

familiar with Mr. ,Bd4,Clement Bhudd, I believe he told me

this past week that he owned about 500 acres of land, farming

land. So this is a quite a bit of land. And, he's not the

only one, we could mention four or five other men that has

lot of land; we get to talking about a lot of land, we get

up to hundreds of acres.

I: And thessoil of Robeason County is very choice soil, is it


S: One of the best in the United States. Yes, this is the most

fertile soil in the United States, Robeatson County.

I: Do you think this is why there is such a small turn over? I

mean nobody sells land anymore, hardly anybody. The only time

it seems that land exchanges hands is when the parents die and

the children inherit it or something like that. Do you think

this is generally true?

S: I think this is it. Everyone,as we said before, this is valuable

land; and everyone that gets some, they want to hold onto it.

I: Right.

S: Just to say that it's there.

I: I understand that Pembroke State University had considerable

trouble purchasing land. I mean even for anylprice, it's very--


if you had to go out today and buy an acre of land, would you

have any idea where to start and go about it?

S: No, no, I wouldn't. As we said, everyone is trying to keep

their land now. If you can find an acre in Robeatson County,

no matter where it might be in the swamp area or clear land,

it's going to cost a lot of money. You can't buy an acre of

land now less than a $1,000 in no place.

I: Do you think, uh, the attitude of our people, their know-how

has improved. What I am taking about--not only owning land but

holding onto it and safeguarding it so that it can't be taken

from them in some way or another. People are very reluctant,

don't you think to mortgage land for anything, even extreme


S: Yes, that is true. People now they've got some land, they want

to hold onto it. Uh, if not themselves, their children7-they

would like to have something to leave when they die that they

can will to their children. Now everyone, it used to be that--

I know when I was a young boy coming along, I didn't here about

wills--making a will for your children. But now even younger

people are going into this thing, they are making their wills

early, even if they don't own anything but just a house and

furniture, they are going to it early now making out wills.

I: And this reminds me that sometimes there is some sort of legal

process you can go through and making when you sell land

or when you buy land, making it permanently a part of the family.

The family will own this forever, you know for perpetual generations.


I: Do you think our people are learning to do this?

S: Yes, I do, I think they are getting well-educated now to

the laws and how they operate in the county and in the state.

I: In as much as you bh*e worked with the poverty program and

I know how very active you are and very close you are to the

people, the people *,( I consider to be sort of the grass-

roots people as we think of as the very salt of the earth.

The everyday people who work and earn a living and lead a life

like this. What do you think that may be O.E.O.--Office of

Economic Opportunity and other government agencies could do

to improve whatever services we have: tricounty community

action and L.R.D.A. and other organizations?

S: Well, what I am thinking that could be done, we as Lumbee

Indians, we need education, our education standard should be

raised more than anything else. You know, if you find someone

out there that do not know how to handle the money, you can give

them all the money that you want and they will spend it, if you

don't know how to spend it wisely. So I think what we've got

to do is stress more education to our people. These are the

people that are in the poverty area or the grassroots people.

More education is what we need not just to go out there and say

"Here's your food stamps" or "Here's you Op stamps to go get

food" but show them how to buy.

I: And you think this would be a good project of twe Tricounty

Community Action is still in control in this county. It still

administers many of the poverty programs.

S: That's right, I understand it still administers most of the


poverty programs.

I: Do you know whether they have a counseling service yet in this


S: Yes, I believe they do.' I believe a Mr. Robert Davis from Maxton;

I believe he is the counselor in this-area for:the Tri-county

Community Action Agency.

I: I heard recently, just last week that Miss w4t o is the head

of the--I guess her title is director of social services in

Robeftson County. Uh, and right now, there is some sentiment

in the direction of asking that her position be filled by a

Lumbee Indian. Do you think this would be a^ ood idea?

S: I, just yesterday, I heard that Mrs. o has resigned from

the social service director. And I think being a majority of

Indians from Robeitson County, I think this is the thing that

should be done. But you and I, we know the political machine

in the county, they are not going to do this. They are going

to want to put another non-Indian in the position, or I should

say white.

I: And, uh, in your dealings with, you know, with the poverty

program and knowing some of--so many of the problems intimately,

do you think there has been in the past a tendency on the part

of the welfare agency--people--will not--the welfare agency as

a whole people in it, certain people who have a philosophy

of giving as little help as possible to non-whites, and sort
S o V feI
of becoming guards of Fort Knox or sort of--they really don't

believe in the program, and the welfare program is to help people.


And do you think that sometime people are deliberately sought

out and employed who are known to be anti-welfare and who

are appointed for the very purpose of awad- g {he program or

sabotaging the program whenever or wherever possible. Do you

think this is a very extreme exaggeration or is .?

S: No, it's not, there's no doubt in my mind that this has happened

in RobeBson County. I have seen times, cases after cases, when

I was employed by the Tri-county Community Action, as you

mentioned your social service, they are not too overjoyed

with these community action agencies or poverty agencies.

And I have seen case after case where individuals were taken

to the welfare department and nothing ever happened and these

people were really in need.

I: And the cooperation was very poor between the community action

agencies and the welfare agencies.

S: That is true, that's exactly. And you know these people, these

two agencies should work hand in hand.

I: This is one of things that is worrying me is whether--other

people have discussed it with me and this question keeps popping

up: Will the next person who goes into that position be there

with a genuine interest in helping deprived people or will this

be a person who is dedicated to the proposition that welfare is

wrong and want to sabotage the program in every way possible?

S: Well, here again, you know, this is up to Bte political leaders

of the county, you know to appoint someone. And, uh, I don't

see, I can't see you know where this individual that they're going


to hire is going to be any benefit to us an a minority race.

I: Do you think there's a philosophy behind this that e the

Indians are treated badly enough or this is a pretty

extreme statement. If the Indians are mistreated enough

or neglected enough, eventually they will have to leave

Roberfbon County. Is this what they want, do you think--

some people?

S: What I think? Yes, this is what I think some people in the

county would want. We now, as we said before, we're waking

up to the situations now. We have someone that goes down

to the welfare. You know, if you put a little pressure

on these people, you can get something. You've got to go

down there and stand 66 their door. And an individual can't

stand there, you know. Once you go, you s there s

all the time, ?*just can't stand SIoe. So I think we'll

get some results from it.

I: tdo you think in the past, speaking of this very asi4a-ot e

which is necessary in order to get help for poor people. Do

you think the Indian pride has been such in the past that he

would give up andsay, "go to hell" or something and just walk

on out and never apply again.

S: No, I don't. This used to be the thing when you and I were coming

along. Of course, I never did hear about welfare when I was

small--a chap of aboy coming along. But now our people--they're

woke up and now they are going to ask for it. They're not going

to put there like a dog, you know, run under the house. They are

going down there and demand that something be done. Those that


are in nedd.

I: This is very encouraging. We know that every community has-

a-poverty people, people who are poverty stricken and who need

help, especially in a state like this, which is one of the poorest

states in the union and this is one of the poorest counties in

the state and there are bound to be many, many cases and what

we said about the Indians not being treated well, in the hope

of them moving away. Some of them--many of them have, in fact,

been forced to move away to seek better positions elsewhere/Av A/

S: That is true. That is true. But I think this thing is going--

this is our home and I think the majority of the people are

going to stay here. When they need something, they are going to

demand it. And I would like to say one more thing--as far as

the Lumbee Indians of Robeg&son County is concerned, I don't--

we don't want a hand-out, you and I--we were used to working.

We don't want a hand-out but we are going to always have someone
that needs something. Everyone is not fortunatetto be able to

make it on themselves and they are going to have to have some

help. But the majority of your Lumbee Indians, they want to

do for themselves, tlry wan t "n f"r them1elvPr They don't

want anyone else to do for them.

I: We have--I've heard this mentioned several times by people who

have worked with different groups, you know, work groups through-

out the country. And they say Indians are theworkingest people

they have ever had. Have you ever heard remarks made like this

by some of our Caucasian brothers?


S: Yes, I have. Yes, I have. Ninety-nine percent of your

people, your Caucasian race that hires Lumbee Indian;

they're well-satisfied. They are one of the hardest

working people and they are well-satisfied with their

work. I am not bragging on myself today, but I feel/ I

can do the work--I can do as much work as anyone working

in my area with the same job I have.

I: That's fine. I was talking with some people the other day

about filling this position that Mrs. getee-is vacating.

And there was a gentlemen there whI thought to be qualified

perhaps for this position. And I mentioned, I won't call his

name, but I mentioned to him this vacancy and asked if "what

if somebody asked you to fill this position and you did actually

M fill it, what would your attitude be toward the people on

welfare?" He said 'the minute I became head of the welfare de-

partment--half the people on welfare would be thrown off the

rolls." Now that is exactly what he said and I was kind of

shocked.. But this is one reason--I know you understand the

problems of poverty because you worked with the program. I

could hardly that this person meant what he was saying ut

evidently he did. But I know you worked with the poverty program,

and you know what the conditions are. And sometimes people say

"Well, why don't they go to work; why don't they get out and go

to work?" And the next logical question that should be asked

it seems to me is"where and how and where does he get a job?"

Do you think there is a very acute shortage of jobs for people


in this county?

S: Yes, I definitely believe this. We've got a lot of people today

unemployed that would be willing. In other words, they are on

welfare right now, but if they could get the job--a job that

they could do; then I am quite sure, that these people would

rather work than to be on welfare. And getting back to the

director of the social service, I think, you know, this is

a political--I believe this individual is appointed by the county

commissioners and this is a political thing. We have been

brought up in the years that, you know, an individual puts us

in a position, we've got to play cadence to them. And this

is what huV.t.- our economy--you've got --someone hires you and

you have to do exactly what they say. If they say hire someone,

you hire them. If they say fire them, you fire them. I think

the individual that goes in there should be hands off, no one

bothering them--pt them in thereand let them do the job that should

be done.

I: And you think that the people who are appointed to these positions

would actually perform much better if there was no pressure applied?

S: Definitely, definitely. I think any individual, jast long as

you just lay your hand off and let them go ahead and perform

their duty. I think their performance would be much better.

I: Do you think they should be appointed for say 4 years or for a

definite period, do you think this would help safeguard against

this kind of thing? If they were, you know, employed for two

years at the time or four years at the time and then they would


have the independence that they need to administer the help.

S: Well, I would like to say this, I believe an individual in this

capacity. Maybe for the first time, maybe for the first year

or two, on probation, put him on probation for maybe one or

two years and then if the person performs their duty, then

make it permanent. Because you know and I know, if I'm working

in a position where unless something happens I'll be there,

I can perform my duty much better, then say "well, my time's

up next year or next month -ieteaBith my time is up".

I: Do you think many of the people employed by the social services

are fearful of the power structure and what the power structure

can do to them if they don't perform exactly the way they want

them to perform?

S: No, there is no doubt in my mind that this happens, you know,

for even a social worker. This is on their mind that the power

structure is looking at hem. If things just don't go like they

want, no matter if you were right for a lot of people then your
job can be in jrpardy.

I: Well, this is a subtle kind of operation; we know it does happen

in the county. In the past, there have been times whJn you

think that people actually wanted to go register but were afraid

to go register because the landlord came out and said"we don't

have-time for that kind of ting"or I'm not going to put up with

you getting involved with politics or that sort of thing."

S: This has happened in the county. You know and I know if we take

Robe~tson County, we have a lot of Lumbee Indians that sharecrop


for the Caucasian or the white man. And there's no doubt in

my mind when voting time comes, someone goes to these people and

says "don't vote" because they depend on them for a living.

I: That is very sad, but this year we've had some changes. We've

had a few changes, has this greatly encouraged you?

S: Yes, it has. I see some good changes come about just recently

in our last election. We had a Lumbee, one more Lumbee on

the county commissioners and this is a great step. Now we have

two. And I'm hoping that we don't have to sit down &i the

bargain table with the two representatives that we have there.

We don't have to sit down and beg and bargain for something.

I: With three races in this county and they are so nearly equal in

number. Of course the Caucasian people have a slight edge over

the Indians who have a slight edge over ha-black brothers. But

it's still close enough, don't you think, that it could be an ideal

place for the practice of democracy and democratic principles?

S: Yes, this is what makes it good. Like you say, we have three

races here and they're all about even, you know, where numbers

is concerned. And this is what it takes to make a democracy where

people work together. But you know and I know that this is never

done. We are just beginning now to get some of our rights. You

know we go to the polls. Here again, we go back to this registration

thing. If we go to the polls, the non-white which wi+ be Negro

and Indian, Lumbee Indian, go to the polls and vote, you know this

thing could be shaken up just like it should be.

I: Well, it's certainly an interesting county. It's been called a

unique county. It certainly seems to be that; do you see any change


in the attitude of our, the Caucasian toward the Lumbee Indian?

I: Yes, I can see some change going about--here again I don't have

that much dealings you know here in the county. As I mentioned

before I'm working at Fort Bragg, and most of my work is dealing

with the people there. But here in the county, we can see some

changes in attitude towards the Indians. For instance, you

know, the last--I believe, our Indian I believe is the tax collector

fOW of the county. And this is something that we've never had anyone

employed in the RobeBrson County Courthouse until this time.

This is great breakthrough. And, uh, I would like to say the

Caucasian had something to do with this. In other words, they

could have voted to put a Caucasian in there instead of a Lumbee.

I: And yet they put a Lumbee Indian as the appointed--he was appointed -

wasn't he. .

S: That's right.

I: As the registrar of deeds, is this what this position is? Or, uh,

he's head of the tax bureau.

S: That's right. I believe he's head tax collector. Yes.

I: Well, do you--this is being done and there has been some unrest

Of you know. Do you think these changes are taking place because

that we are, as you say, waking up t the rights which are really

ours. We are claiming those rights more.

S: That's right. We are claiming those; rights. I think, this is

what--we are waking up. In other words, they're not pulling

the wool over our eyes. We're one; we're more educated now. We

know what is going on,

I: Do you think the relations -.between'the Indians and the blacks

are improving?


S: Yes, yes. There are great dealings with the --as far as the

relationship between the Indians and the blacks has improved

greatly over the last few years. I think we can understand

that the Negro has helped us improve our standards. Of course

they have brought us forth just like they were brought. They

fought for their rights and this is what we are doing today.

I: Last time--the last time we had a general election. I'm not

talking about the one coming up but the last one. There was

a coalition between 6a Indian and black brothers. And as a

result of this, one black man was sent to Raleigh. This same

black man has been nominated again to go to Raleigh and serve

as, you know, in the general assembly. And, uh, do you think

that we're waking up; we're not only waking up but our Caucasian

brothers are waking up too to the fact that we are a race.

S: That's right. I mentioned this a few minutes ago. They know

now that they're not pulling--we've got enough education that

they can't pull the wool over our eyes. We see what is happening.

You start putting a little pressure on these people; they've got

to give sooner or later.

I: Well, as a boy, you know, when you were coming up, did you dream

that you would see changes as--great changes hat- have been made

within just the last year or two.

S: No, I .



I: Mr. Locklear, we were mentioning something about the dramatic

changes which have taken place in the county within recent

years and would you like to add anything to that?

S: Uh, yes, I believe we mentioned also about having at the present 7t/r

two members on the county board of commissioners and we have one

individual in the--working in the courthouse. I believe he's

working with the tax department; he's head of the tax department.

And we have three or four deputies of the county. So this is an

improvement we didn't have five or six years ago.

I: I can remember just last year, out of a registrars, employed by

the Robeison County Election Board, there were something like 4- #hrt

Indians and D black. Today this is all changed.

S: Yes, it is. Speaking of the election board, at the present, the

chairman of our county election board is a Lumbee Indian, Mr. John

Robert Jones, who was appointed at the last meeting. So this is

a great step forward for the Lumbees.

I: Uh, huh. I had the pleasure of interviewing him because even

though he was legally elected, there were certain people in the

power structure who applied pressure and tried to get him un-

elected. And of course an appeal had to be made to the state

election board and they ruled was the valid head of the

election board. But it was very interesting, but one encouraging

thing, don't you think here our Caucasian brothers may use these

means which we deplore yet they do respect their own laws, but

you have to apply those laws and get the authorities to take care


of it very often.

S: That's true. I think once you get out of Robegtson County, then

you have people that believe in taking the laws and uh, al

the laws and the way they should go. This is a good illustration

here of the county board of election and anyone that is not

familiar with it, this would be something good that they could

read about and see some of the things that are carried on in

the county. The faction between the Lumbee Indians and the

Caucasian and the black as well.

.: And I think we already talked about the coalition between the

Indians and the blacks. And I think this has been encouraging

to all non-whites in the county.

S: Yes, this is something that we're hoping that will help us in

our election. If we can get a coalition with the blacks, then

we can do some of the things in the county that we want to do.

If we can get rid of the power structure in the county, that

keeps pulling us backwards.

I: As an individual who has worked in the county system, in the school

system itself in the county, and you know that we have six separate

school administrative units in Robe#son County and most of the

Indian students are in the Robe(son County system. And yet the

Caucasians are strictly controlling that system. And the people

in the five city units are allowed to vote in their own city dis-

trict and also a vote in the county districts which is made up

largely of Indians and there are very few white people in it. Yet,

they insist on exercising their votes. Do you see this as unfair,

do you see this as ptamount to their receiving two votes to our one?


S: This is what it boils down to. This is what I believe is wrong.

We as rural people or living in the county, we cannot vote in

the city elections in Lumberton. Therefore, this do--being

able to vote in the city election and the county election--this

gives them two votes to us one vote and this is not fair. And

getting back to your system--yourcounty system--we have six

administrative units in this county. And if you will look at

some of the other counties, for instance, Mecklinburg, which is

the largest school system in the state. They only have two

superintendents where we had six. And this is unfair--this is

costing the taxpayers a lot of money--big salaries for six

superintendents where two could do just as well as the six.

I: Uh, huh. I saw that dramatically illustrated you know when some

of our people-filed suit in this integration case and there were

six lawyers there, hired by our tax money and tax money of the
city administrative units. And they were there approving us

and we were not able to--tey were scarcely able to hire the one

lawyer that we had. And yet here was this array of legal talent

'---- _against us in defense of this thing. And, uh, ironically,

that case has never been tried. And, uh, I don't know why; I

don't know what all the complications are. Do you see this as

being, excuse me, as depriving us of legal counsel. Or as depriving

the Lumbee Indians of legal action when they are really entitled

to it? And for some reason, these lawyers, these half a dozen

lawyers and our counsel or whoever, we do know that it has been

tied up for two years. And I'm convinced that this case will never

be tried unless somebody comes out with the right kind of demand


and that we have the right kind of money to push this thing. And

we just don't have that kind of money.
S: That's true. This is a liability against us, as mentioned

the six lawyers. This is money being paid by we as taxpayers.

We're paying these lawyers. Six against one--it's hard, that's

too much of an odd. I hope that this case. Unless the money'S

s-tion--L--- through the channels--we will just never be

able to compete with them in this case.

I: Do you think that when there is a controversy of this sort among

our people between us and the Caucasian people; in this case,

both the Lumbee Indians and the black people sued, uh, H.E.W.

and sued the county system and so forth--systems. Uh, do you

think there is a tendency--has been a tendency in the past--to

buy off our people one by onev-take them aside and say "now if

you'll cease to lend your support to this effort, we'll do such

and such for you or we will give you so much money." This is

one case they didn't want to see tried and they don't want to

see it tried. And as you know, one of the justice department

lawyers who came here and gathered legal information was actually

murdered in his apartment, nobody knows who murdered him. So far,

the bureau has not been able to solve this thing. But it looks

very suspicious, doesn't it?

S: It definitely do, look very suspicious. And I would like to say,

too, getting lack to the buying votes, telling people to keep quiet.

You know and I know that this has been done. We have a few people

for a little position, just for a few dollars in a position can be

bought. And this is something we are going to have to cope with.


We won't always have people in that capacity so what we will

have to do is just fight harder, those of us who do not believe

in a system like that is fight it. This is the only thing we

can do.

I: Well, I think we are beginning don't you, to realize this and

to unite more closely than ever before.

S: We are going to have to start this right down in the homes, your

children and my children. Well, this is what we are going to have

to mold into their minds, teach them what is happending in our

government, whether its our state government, our local government,
or county government, or federal meenment.

I: Why do you think it is that 0aucasian brothers in this county

are so determined to keep control of Indian schools in the system

which controls Indian schools?

S: Well, this boils down to, as I see it, to one thing. Up until

our progress started, we have been ignorant, ignorant to the

fact that we haven't had the education. And if the education is

thrown into our hands, what we are attempting to do is to bring

this education standards up faster than they are now. And I

think this is what the Caucasian brothers is thinking in terms

of. If we get our education standards up, then the positions

in the county or in the state--then we will be eligible to handle

those positions.

I: And I recall in 1964 and I imagine you remember the case too where

Pembroke High School attempted to hire a Ph.D. And yet the county

administration came in and said we found it in a state of dispute

and so we're going to place the man where we want to place there


they said that in effect. And they did place a man there with

a M.A. degree. Actually, rejecting the Ph.D.--but it seems to

me that from that time tillthis, we have had little or no control

over our schools.

S: That's polities again. Here this Ph.D.--our Caucasian brothers

wants to put us in the position, goes back to your politics where

they can put a hand on and say you do this and we do it. This

would have been a little different case with the Ph.D. You know

and I know that he wouldn't have catered to their music. And this

is why they just couldn't afford to do it because of this.

I: He was an Indian Ph.D -one of the most dedicated educational

people I ever knew And he believed in education for our people,

and this is something that has always that has stuck in my -_C-- )

and I don't think I will ever forget it as long as I live, because

these things seem so conspicuous-so obvious. You know, when you

turn down a Ph.D. and hire an M.A.

S: This stands out like a sore thumb, doesn't it?

I: Yes.

S: You can tell how we're treated. This is an illustration of how

the Lumbee Indian has been treated. Here again the Ph. D. which

was Dr. -O er wouldn't cater to anyone's -J 'toBe.

They can't afford to put someone in that they can't put their

hands on and say "do this or do that".

I: Yes, he certainly was a man of integrity.

S: Integrity.

I: Every race--every member of every race who knew him--knew him to


be a Christian man and a man dedicated to education with a degree--

g PHqdegree in education. And so this was actually astonding to

me when they actually denied and went to such lengths you know

to parent his coming in--this says to me and it says to me:

we don't want those Indian schools improved, we want to keep them

right where we are.

S: And ignorant, right. We want to keep them ignorant.

I: And, uh, the only way we'll ever remedy that, then do you think,

is to gain our political strength and get our people to vote


S: We are going to have to start this in the home. This is where

it goes right back to--you've got to start the young generation

bring them up and mold this into their mindT-what has happened

and what we've got to do in order to improve our schools or social

conditions whatever it might be.

I: Well, I certainly appreciate your--giving me this interview today

and, h, unfortunately we lost some of that side of that tape because

it has run out; and when you and I are talking &especially, I forget

about taping everything else because, you know, I know you personally

and I admire you and appreciate you and we always have lots to

talk Aout when we get together and we are concerned about our

problems. And we want to--we do want t- do something about them.

And we want to be good citizens and we want them to be good citizens

in return.

S: Yes, I've enjoyed being with you Lew.

I: Well, thank you so much and I certainly appreciate this more than

I can say, I really do.


S: Thank you.

I: And I wish you all the good luck and Godspeed in your position

that you are holding now. And I know you'll do well at it.

Thank you very much.