Title: Interview with Bob Brewington (March 16, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007044/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Bob Brewington (March 16, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 16, 1973
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: UF00007044
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 54

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LUM 54 A
MARCH 16, 1973
Interviewed by: MARILYN TAYLOR

T: Marilyn Taylor. I am recording for the Doris Duke Foundation, the

AMerican Indian Oral Studies, under the ,etstaese of the University of

Florida, Dr. Samuel L. Proctor, Director. This is March 16, 1973. I am

here in my home in Pembroke, in College Terrace and I have with me Mr. Brewington

who has kindly consented to give us an interview. Mr. Brewington, would

you tell us your full name and your address please?

B: My name is Robert Brewington. Um, my address is Post Office Box 565,

Pembroke, North Carolina.

T: Would you spell us your last name? Sometimes it's confusing for people to

get the whole thing.

B: Brewington. B-r-e-w-i-n-g-t-o-n.

T: Mr. Brewington you're married?

B: Yes, I'm married to Marilyn Lindsey, A Lindsey. And we have

four children, three girls, one boy. nm, Teressa, the oldest, Belinda, the

second oldest, then Robin Gale is the baby girl and we have one boy, Richard,

about six years old.

T: Um, Mr. Brewington was your wife um, was she a as you might say, born

and bred in this area?

B: Um, no. She's from Union County in Mbnroe, North Carolina.

T: Um, I believe she's in education in some way. Would you tell us what .

would you tell us what capacity she works in?

B: Um, she works as a Teachers Aid in um, kindergarten at Pembroke uim Grade



T: Um, you are a um, a Lumbee um, as we established that of course. And

um, you've lived here most of your life, is this correct?

B: I've lived in Robe on County most of my life. Um, I was out of this area

approximately six years out of my life in Samson County. I was born and

rais. um, born in um, Robe son County and um, we moved away for about six


T: Was this while you were still as a. a student or after you became an


B: Um, I was a small child.
T: Um,what extent were you um, go what elementary school around thisharea in

Roberson County ?

B: Yeah. um, I went to um, Elementary School at Pembroke Grade School. I um,

went to the high school, Pembroke High School, and um, to the Pembroke State

College as as it was then.

T: It is now .

B: now um, Pembroke State University.

T: Right. Um, you've finished the full four year program before any without

any interruption of service or anything?

B: Yeah. I um, well I went to service after completing High School. I spent

four years in the Air Force and came home and then went back to home .went

back to school and completed four years of college. I completed in 1962, um,

with a B.S. degree inMath and Science.

T: In 1962, that was um, innort"ing m4, you're certainly up to date with Math

and Science today, afd it's um, do you agree that this is um,. .that we live

in a world of technology and it's becoming more so?

B: I feel that um, that the background must be education um, ... as far as the

educational system is concerned, the background must be math and Science.

Page 3

T: Where do you see um, the purpose or the place for the Language Arts of um,

say communication speech writing. I know you must see it, but um, I'd

like to know your comments on it.

B: Well I place it um, within .in the in the higher p of education.

Um, it's the fact that we we have got. .. we've got to. we've got to

use your um, .. your liberal arts in this area more than um, some of

your finer sciences because of um, um, area and the um, work involved in

T: Let's see. I believe you said you had how many children now did you say you had?

B: Four.

T: Four. I think that we have to agree that we're living in a world of science

todayare we not?

B: I agree. It's .

T: Does this um, sometimes apall y4ou when you consider that um, our generation

perhaps, what we once considered science fiction nowadays is reality. In other

words, we used to watch people go to the moon and that was um, science fiction

and this kind of thing. Um, does the rate and the speed in which your children

have to live today, does it disturb you as compared to the way that you came


B: Well it doesn't really con. um, really disturb me. Um, it's really um, you

that the times are much faster now than they were back when I was a kid. So

the things that the kids.-; my kids um, are being exposed to now, um, really,

when I was a kid um, we knew nothing about it. So um, it really, it's kind

of eKciting to me. I'll put it um, as an exciting era as far as I'm concerned.

Um, for instance um, kids six years old, with television and the activity of

our nation today, really gives us um, gives them an inside view of what we

more or less seen or heard about in movies um, as fiction.

T: Um huh..

Page 4

B: And now it's reality.

T: True. I remember um, on one occasion talking with you on something about

school and education and children and so on. Well, I think you made the

statement something about "I pick my kids teacher." I don't want to put you

on the spot and if you don't want to answer this you don't have to. But

um, it showed there that um a fathers' interest, and certainly in his own

children' education and um, this sometimes is lacking and um, I think it's

favorably and impress that. that um, more men are becoming concerned

about their children's education, and they as. as they should. I'm

giving you the question again. Now why would you pick your children' teacher?

B: Well I. we'll have to we'll have to go back to um, our local

area. In this area we know it's more of a .a family relation than um,

what you'd call a. a neighborhood. In other words we know, um, we know

pretty well each and every individual that lives in this area.

T: Right.

B: So, so the teachers that are involved in education, they in our public

schools, um, was classmates or either we had some communications in um,

directed or indirectly, So this gives me more of an inside view of the

background of individual educators we'll say.

T: Um huh .

B: And by knowing this the background of this individual and um, I. .. I

feel strongly about education and specially of my own children. So it's more

or less human nature to want the best for that. for your. for your

children. And if I feel that one individual is much stronger um, let's say,

in the fields that I enjoy, .

T: Right. ..

B: I have a tendency to lean in that direction. So this way I kindly um, pick

the the individual that I would like to to teach a child of min

Page 5

where I can um, you know, in our school system. Now this doesn't work out

everytime because um, as you know we're integrating our. our schools

and um, we get new teachers every year. So um, it doesn't really it

doesn't really pan out each year but to the best um, um, as far as I can, I

will. I do try to pick the teachers that is involved in my children's


T: Now I understand. I think what you mean um, it would be fortunate I guess,

if all of all of us could do that as parents. But um,maybe by being in

a small community um, we're able to do that a little more.

B: As you know, this is um, this is one of our educational problems in this area.

T: What do you aee is the problem here?

B: Well as um, as I just stated um, picking teachers. Um, I feel that we are um,

we are not really straining our educational program inthe area that we are .

as we should. And um, in this what I mean that if you if we had some

type of some type of strain other than we have as far as teachers are

concerned, um the individual would' ave to actually do this, um, pick a

teacher for a um, we'll go back to teachers working out of their area.

You have an English major teaching Science. You have a Math major um, in

um, Elementary School and is teaching um reading and so on. So, really you are

not getting the full benefit of the individual educators um, training and


T: Right. As A as again you're um, connectingin education the fact that

you have children and and I believe um, um, you are a teacher yourself,

um you said in Math and then you have some outside um, or extra activities

of teaching Would you mention something about that.

B: Well I um, to go back to the beginning, I taught in Massachusetts one year.

Um, I taught Math. And in um, 1964, I came back and put in a garage and a

welding sub-combination. I worked in that for eight. for four years

Page 6

until 1968. And then I went into the public Educational System in Robe/son

County teaching in Magnolia School under Vocational Education. Um, this

is where I'm employed now, um. in um pre-ed education. Um, I um,

was really I'm really satisfied in this field um, moreso than I was

in Science because I feel that um, the needs in Vocational Education in this

area is um, a demand that we have got to meet in order to meet the needs

of our students in this area.

T: Most of us understand what you mean by um, vocational careers and this type

of thing. Some of our listeners a9 readers, I'm sure, um, will nee toum,

um, you know, define it a little further. Could you tell us just a little

bit more at what this entails what you 0 f .r /i I1 '

B: Well the back. um, a few years back it was knowNas Vocational Education.

This is where your agriculture education um; control and um, more or less, had

all the. the um, say so of this department. And um, in 1964 we came to

lease with the titles such as Title um, I, Title II and so on.

T: Um huh ...

B: And this is what I'm involved in Title. .. in the Titles. Um,this is individual

fields of Vocat. of um, education as far um, as careers are concerned. We

have things such as welding, mechanics, carpentry, brick masonry and um, many

others. Um, it's specialized education in a particular field.

T: Um huh .You'll say it would deal with more with skills or trade?

B: Right. It's more trade than than than um. than the vocational

Ag. was was um, was involved more in your .. your farm activities.

And this is um, machinery and um what you would call skills of trade activities.

"T: Today we .hear a lot um, in commenting on education that um, it's not always

maybe best or best for a person to attend college or for a perbOn to have a college

education. You know it used to be that uqi a person went all the way thrc-th

four years college, that was almost the gateway to heaven, or something akin

to this. Where you think um, to day, you know that um, in in yourwork

Page 7

the very fact that you are involved in this, um, shows that something

is changing here. Do you care to comment on this and what do you think

is involved in this?

B: Well um, we had a tendency as um, what I would call um, the educated um,

segment of um, society, um, had a tendency to push for their children or their

families. to go to college in order to earn um, what we would call a

decent living.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, years back um, we stressed the point to go to college, get a um,

formal education and you would, you could make a um, a decent living. Well,

this was this was um, somewhat true years back. But um, the technology y

that we have in the country now and the um, equipment and this machinery that

is taking um, taking over the work, most of the work in our country, it's

come to the point that an individual doesn't necessarily have to have an

college education to. to um, get the basis of a living. And this is money.

T: Money. .

B:, So, by this change in. in um, um, equipment and technology, um we don't

necessarily have to have this um, four years of college to to make money.

I know of many individuals who . . . . . .

T: Mr. Brewington, I believe we were interrupted there by the doorbell. And you

were starting to tell us that you know of some individuals perhaps that um .

B: Yeah llke I said we. I know of some individuals that have less than

a um, fifth grade education. Such as some of our sheetrock workers in this

area, that make more money than um um, a person with um, a masters degree

in Education.

T: Right. ..

B: So, um, by individuals un see in this type of um, activity in our area, it kindly

um)well we're say, turns 'em off of education.

Page 8

B: So, um, this is one of our problems in the in the area is to entice

students to to um, more or less get um, um, basic education

before starting to work. But it's hard it's hard to convince em, when he

sees this type of activity. And .

T: Right. .

B: And then .

T: In other words they are wanting to go to work with out um, and sometimes rightly

so .and sometimes they're right are you saying?

B: Right. I um, in some cases I feel that um, the individual um, is .deprived

in um, to a certain extent, by pushing em into fields of education that really

he is not interested in. And um, um, the final analysis is he doesn't really

comprehend what you want him to and therefore you have wasted some of his Lime.

T: Umr huh. In many cases do you feel particularly in this area, that our schools

are lacking in um, preparation for college students and getting them ready?

I'm talking about perhaps the Indians. the um, in out case, the Lumbees

here. How do you feel our schools rate as far as um, when the student is ready

to go to college? Can he compete with those that have gone perhaps to bigger
you know
schools and maybe un, better rated and that kind of thing?

B: Well um, we um, statistics show that we um, we are low in the um, percentage of

college um, college students as far as the Indians are concerned in this area.

We have um, a very low percentage that's going to college. Some some um,

um, feel that it's because of the funds to go to school.

T: Um huh .

B: I I um, personally feel that this is not altogether true. Some of it is

um, the fault is in the um, education. the the um, lower educational


T: Um huh .

B: Um, I'm not condeming anyone of not doing their job or not givin the students

Page 9

what um, he should be givin em. But I feel that they are lacking that

we are lacking something in the lower grades. Um, we find that many students

um, eleventh graders inour public system today, that doesn't have. if you'll

give em. if you give em a National um, test, he'll rate fifth or sixth


T: Um huh .

B: And yet when he when he started to school in the first grade um, I .

his I.Q. Test, which is not very um very much to go on, but he'll rate an

average student.

T: It'll be as a guide .
B: As a guide. And when he a-d so,Asomewhere along the line between the

twelfth grade and the first grade um, something is lacking.

T: Um huh .

B: And what this really is, I'm not I'm not sure. Um, as we le. as you

have the. if you have the materials to work with um, most of the time you

come out with a pretty good product.

T: You say they were not .

B: And so therefore therefore um when I um, what I'm saying is if the child

is an average student in the in uw, in the first grade, then with the right

material, the right leadership and the right educational program, we should come

out with um, a fairly normal and um national .on the national level, a

pretty good. ..

T: An average. ..

B: average.

T: How do you feel about the fact that um, I think um, it's been quoted perhaps we

have in Pembroke University, twenty two thousand students. Um, and

"we know and this this started as an Indian school. And there's something

like um do you know the population of Indian students there now?

Page 10

B: Um, I'm not really .

T: I think it's something like two hundred somewhere between .

B: Um .

T: You see it's an imbalance to some people, particularly to the Lumbee people.

And it's um, they feel their school is being taken away. .

B: Right. Well I .

T: with integration and so on.

B: An educational program in an area like this um, I feel that it should meet the

demands of the um, students within the community first and then reach out, you

know to other areas and other states.

T: Um huh .

B: Um .well let's take it back in 1968, we had approximately 70 percent um,

70 per cent of the students at Pembroke State University, um, was Indian.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, and now we have something like two hundred two hundred and fifty

out of approximately twelve hundred students.

T: Um huh .

B: So um, you can see from this that the percentage of Indian Students compared

to the percentage of what I call ou ; rea students.
A /
T: Um huh .

B: Um, is much um, it's dropping rapidly. Eventhough the college is growing, the

the um the, enrollment has almost. .oh well, tripled in um,a

period of eight years.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, we are not we're not really meeting the demands of the community

and the students within this area.

T: Um'huh. .

B: So therefore I feel that um, something has gone wrong somewhere as far as

Page 11

our educational program at Pembroke State University.

T: The fact that, this has been a quote from somewhere, and I don't remember

exactly how it was put. But the f got it, the fact that the

institution of the capand gown name the University. Um, there is a

breakdown of z communicationswith the town. Do you feel any of this

or seen evidence of it or been able to um, be involved perhaps within any. .

anything that projects these feelings?

B: Well um, the the between the the college, Pembroke State

University, and the community and town um, we've had a some sort of

a gap. We hadn't communicated in um, I'm not really pinning this down to

one individual or a group of individuals. But we've had a gap between .

T: Well we need to pin it wherever you see it. And this is um, we understand,

your opinion. Right or wrong you are entitled to it. So .

B: Well to to um, to rea to really say that it's some an

individuals' fault, it's kind of hard to do because uj, it's um, there's so

much involved.

T: Um huh. S

B: I have um, my own which I won't express as far as the individuals

who have made this um, this gap widen as far as I'm concerned.

T: Um huh .

B: But anyway we have this gap between it, that that has been opened

between um, the community and the college. Um, and the reason that I feel

this way is we can take one instance and that is the. .. the Old Main/

movement.for instance.

T- ,I- _'__ _'_ you were fixin to mention that ___ _/_

B: Um, the community lots lots of folks in the community felt strongly

about this old building this Old Main Um, the University felt that

it should um, move um, remove the. .. the um, building and um, place

Page 12

a new building there. This caused quite a bit of conflict. Now this

could have caused part of the gap for say. we can say that the gap

opened a little wider between the community and the um, University.

But really as far as the educational program at um, Pembroke State University,

it's it's been geared on a national average for to meet a national


T: Um huh. .

B: And the community um, or we'll say our educational system on the sec .

primary -secondary level, was meeting was um, meeting the needs of

um, the community individuals. So um, really the college um, really

the college is grown out of the community in .to a certain extent.

T: You're saying it's then it's become um, sort of detached. .

Br From the community. .

T: from the community. Um, you;re saying that since it's a state supported

school and we agree .um, you know, that um, the state at first, was not

for saving Old Maine or keeping it. The fact that the Lumbees was able to

unite on this one issue. one big issue that would receive national

recognizition. Um, do you see that as a I'm sure you see that as a

victory but in just what area. Um,there's many ways that you might look at

it .

B: Well um, I .

T: I'd like, you know, your comments .... your opinion on it.

B: Well to er. to place that as a victory um, um, we would we would
have to say that we we um, we won the firstrof the victory. We haven't

won. really won the victory yet. Um, I feel like that the. the be. ..

the whole issue behind the Old Main movement that was politically pressured
As far as the administration A concerned at the college, it was a political

pressure that was really forcing the issue to tear the building down to

begin with.

Page 13

T: Um huh. You feel it was the administration on the state level that

was putting the pressure .

B:. Well, it was it was state and um, local.

T: Um huh .

B: It was state and local level um, that wasputtin pressure on the on the

moving of the building. Well um, at this time it was near um, the election

and so this gave it a a boost on both on both sides.

T: Um huh. .

B: Um. most of our political leaders, um, if we can get some. get some

glory out of something, he'll um, he'll get involved. Or if he can get

some votes by being by the involvement, well he'll he'll get involved.

So um, I feel like that the very fact of the election had some bearing

on the Old Maine Um, .

T: In other words you're saying it was a a right psychological moment

perhaps. .

B: Right. And .

T: An. it was kinda the right time.

B: Well um, it was a right it was the right time but yet um, it really .

it really hurt in the the outcome. I feel that .

T: In what way?

B: because because of the .. the um, political involvement um, had it

not been politically moved. .

T: Um huh .

B: we would have had much more done already than has been done because

after the election it kindly it kindly faded.

T: Um huh .

B: As far as the um, the help to restore the building. Um, now the out-

come of the the Old Main, I really don't. I really don't um, see

Page 14

any definite any definite um, progress right this moment. But

we hope to in the near future. Um, from that statement, you um, gotta

way you can you can understand it. I do have um, feelings towards

the Old Mainf. saving of Old Mainf.

T: Um huh Well I think everybody um, that was connected. no, I wouldn't

say everybody connected with the college but certainly, many of the students

did, that was not committed um, I'll say not allowed because I mean they

could have stood up against pressures. I'd like for you to comment on this.

Um, the students, although they had a student government, a student senate

and so on, um, they were advised to take a neutral stand on this because

they said that if you get involved. this was coming from the administration

S. if you get involved, you're likely to lose the the big thing,

the big auditorium, you know that um, and many people felt this was

unfair. Um, things that cannot be proven, um, professors that um, suddenly

come out and make a statement, that um, a casual statement, that they don't

see um, the logic of putting a nice some forty thousand dollar building

this side of the railroad track with the high rise and all this. And um,

the next thing we know, this professor has been um, asked to leave because

of um, insubordination. Many professors left last year because of different

phrases or labels like this. This went against the administration somewhat

because the administration had to go with the state. Is that what you're

saying .

B: Well um, .

T: which wasn't democratic. .

B: really. .. .

T: then rit?,

B: Right. wen you when you look back at um, um, at the whole incident,

um, the administration um, wanted the the new building. And so um,

they drew up the plans for a new building in the um, in the spot where Old

Page 15

Main( is. Um, not giving the community any any um, farsight

at all um, as to what was going on.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, we have individuals that have their own .

T: There again, a lack of communication. They didn't know what was


B: Right. um, we have individuals that when they when .

when they git out a certain hiding, they don't turn back. And um,

in our administration at Pembroke State University, we have this

type of people, um, such as um, English Jones. So, he had .

he had um, with the state help had made plans to move the building

and put this new building there. Um,not taking the community umder

consideration and um, I can very well see why because he's not an

alumni of Pembroke State University. He hadn't lived in the area of

Pembroke very much himself.

T: Um hh. .

B: So naturally he wouldn't have the feel of um what we call Old Main

that many of us do.,

T: True. .

B: Because um, my mother and dad attended school in that in the

building. Um, and I attended school there. And it was more or less

the center of education as far as the people in this community is

concerned. And so an individual, such as English Jones, and many of

your. many of your staff members at Pembroke State University,

doesn't really have a feeling for it as some of the people in the

community. And this will take us right back to the students. Um,

as we stated before, we have approximately twelve hundred students

out there and most of em are from out of the area.

Page 16

T: Um huh .

B: So therefore he wouldn't have a feeling that an individual in the

community would have towa the building..

T: Um huh .

B: So right away um, I wouldn't expect, and anyone couldn't expect

the um, student body to support Saving Old Main. And too, they

were they were actually decieved on the idea of the idea of

the new building.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, to begin with, they were they were um, told um, and I

quote: that the only way we could have the new building is for it

to be located in this area." And um, yet we had we had seen

the the University buy property um, just um, a few hundred

yards away and there was more property that could be bought in the

same area that the building could be put on.

T: Um huh .

B: So th the students really were. .. were deceived on it. .. on the

on the um, the whole issue.

T: True. um huh .

B: And so this. this really placed a certain segment of the students
more or less behind the administration and too um, we can't forget

the fact that um, you don't buck City Hall. Um, in this I mean that

an individual .

T: But . But you did, did you not?

B: But an individual that um, is in school up here and has two years

or three years is um, is a few months away from graduation and will

get involved on an issue against your administration, well it's not

it's not really Practical. So that's what you .

Page 17

T: It's not practical but it doesn't seem quite justice if they are not

able to to be able to take a stand on their feelings where

there's convictions. .

B: Well this this is true. But it's um, you go back to your politics

in this thing. Um, we um, predominately um, democratic community,

democratic state, up until the last election. So um, thejemocrat

the democratic um, pressure would be inplace upon um, certain

individuals. And um, therefore um, they wouldn't go against the old

democratic trend of holding holding fast to the party and to

the um, to the beliefs of um, their uz, pleaders.

T: Um huh .

B: So this. .. this created a problem.

T: You mentioned in your work that you don't primarily you deal

with um, young adult males. Do you not? Do you have any. .

B: Um, well I have an adult class um, going at the prescense, a night

class at RTI, that's um, Robe son Technical Institute .

T: Um huh. .

B: which is um, driver's education for adults and um, I have been

involved with um, a voc. with vocational or trade courses for

adults. .um, through the Robeson Technical Institute. .

T: Um huh .

B: ..over at Magnolia School. But I'm mostly I'm primarily involved

in um, um, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students in um, the

public system.

T: Um huh. well this would be prediminately um, male students. .

B: Right. .

T: in a trade.

B: Right. We um, .

T: But you don't narrow it to that.

Page 18

B: Right. we. we um we don't have any .

T: You have so many .

B: We don't have any female in this in my particular program

at the present.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, we have um, um, a similar program under our home economics for

the female.

T: Ypu mentioned um, a little while ago about um, some people have a

theory that the reason that we didn't have more Indian students in

the college over here was because we have lack of funds. money.

Um, I don't know all the history behind in what they're um, you know,

really, they're working what they do, but I understand that you um,

have been connected or know something about um, the LRDA. Would

you tell us what this stand for and what they do and so forth?

B: Yes. The LRDA is the um, Lumbee Regional Development cooperation.

Um, this is a program that that was um, designed to um, help

the um, Lumbee Indians in the community, um, mostly the um, low in-

come um, individuals to get training for better jobs and to meet

the the standards of the working world, as we know it today.

Um, I've um, I've worked with this program um, indirectly, um, for

for the last year and um, it has it has done some .

some good, but um, it's limited in in the real um, in the real

sense as to where it's .it's not meeting the needs of our communi-

ty as much as it should.

T: Okay, let's hold just there for a minute.


Page 19

T: Mr. Brewington what do you think the main um, fallacy here perhaps,

of the LRDA and the reason it's um, is it lack of experience

or is it .

B: Um, the lack of leadership um, in the within the um, program.

Um, as you know, we had quite a bit of turnover in the in the

program such as your the leaders um, of your different programs.

Um, we don't.. um, we don't really have um, a trained program within

the TRDA ADministration that we need to um, to meet the programs' re-

quirements. Um, now what I'm say. what I'm trying to say is that

if um, if our leaders was trained and brought up to date um, in the

pro. when they begin in their program, um we would have a much

better program.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, now the fault the fault lies um, not on onu individual,

not on um, the maybe not the the um, individuals that's

working, it's the lack of um, the lack of of um, the know how.

to carry out such a program.

T: Um huh well then you're saying what um, what the Lumbee people

need most of all in-many areas is leadership.

B: This is correct. This is this is where we where we um,

really missed the mark is the is the leadership, um, because

of political .because of political um, appointees or political


T: Um huh .

B: Um, it. .what I mean by that is um, if you are if you are

involved in a certain in in a certain political realm,

um, you work with this this um, political structure then you

are placed in certain positions. And whether: you are capable

Page 20

or whether you're the um, the um, the the person that can do the

job, it matters not.

T: It's sort of like you scratch your back and I'll scratch your

back and you scratch mine. V/1 / -/

,T/ [^ ,- This is bad politics isn't it? en we have to .

B: Well. .it's um .

T: face that it's sometimes harsh reality though it exists but .

B: It's a shame. .

T: If we know that it exists, what can the Lumbee people um, .

B: Um, it's a shame that um, we live in a society where this is um, um,

is the is the um, policy. Now to to change this we would

have to change the whole structure of the country, because this is

not only in our area or among the Lumbees but this is true um, on top


T: Doesn't this make you feel somewhat frustrated? Here is an organization

S. the name is money is appropriated for the Lumbee Indians.

But yet it still seemingly under the white man's control.

B: Um .

T: Is it pulling the war again or is the Indians out of um, .

B: Well um,. .

T: Have it um, how do you see that? I mean um, .

B: I um, well it's kindly kindly um, bothers you. it kindly

bothers you that this happened. But when look at if we if we

look at it from the from the very beginning of it, it's actually

our fault as far as Lumbees are concerned. It's our fault to be in .

be taken in. I. I'll say ... with this kind of um,. um, .

T: Sort of a sham isn't it?

B: Rea yeah it well it. ..

Page 21

T: camouflage. .

B: Under under this kind of under this kind of um, um,

power structure.

T: Right. Do you think this is controlled um, I heard several

Lumbees just to mention the machine/ from the Lumberton, you

know, it's kind of um, /I- tofT._- comes the

double voting thing. .

B: Well it .

T: .comment on that. I may not have any direct relationship with .

B: Well it's um,. .

T: .the principle is there I believe it's still the same um, the Lumbee

is not getting his fair share of representation according to the White

Man anyway or at least to the predominately white people of that area

I'm gonna have to say anyway.

B: When ,. when we take our leaders. our Lumbee leaders, in the

community that have a program um, as this, that um, the funds is available

and they should be used for Lumbee Indians and most of the ones that

um, like I said before um, from the low income bracket or the unfortunate.

ANd yet um, they um, take orders and it um, and advice from individuals

um, from the White segment that has has caused these Indian people

to be under the situation that they were under to begin with. So, really

what we're saying is um, if our leaders um, are still gonna be controlled

by a machine. a White machine. with .. and use our Indian

money to the advantage of this machine, well we're we're really

not accomplishing a whole lot. So until we realize the fact that the

only way that the the um, unfortunate Indians is really going

to come out from under the the abomination. the domination

of Robeson in Robeson county um, is to fight the system in

Page 22

which placed them in there to begin with.

T: Um huh .

B: So, this is this is the only way that the um, the um, the poor

Indian is really going to see apy light is to .is to fight the

system that placed them there.

T: But if you keep the poor Indian indebted eightt on he's .. he's not

maybe sometimes got the spirit or even the will to fight.

B: Yes. .

T: Does this not happen or even .?

B: Right This is this is this is one of our um, big problems

um, is um, if you keeping. .if you're keep 'em in debt to you, then

you more or less control him. ANd um, um, the minute that you see that

he's um, coming out from under this um, .

T: Out from under the thumb. .

B: thumb of the of this individual well, you place him right

back in debt where you really he really never. he'll never see

the light. Um, and um, this is this is why I I strongly

believe that the Indian people in Roberson County can make a statement,

the only way and the only thing that they are going to get under the

cir. under this sit. ... um, this system, is what they take. And

this is kindly um, the feeling of of many of um, the Lumbee

Indians here and this feeling has grown stronger and wider to um, in the

area is why is why we have what we call the Carolina Indian Organi-

zation and um, what we call the Tuscarora Group.

B: Right.

T: Do you think th& aeT I know that sometimes a person is

Page 23

held down for so long and regardless um, is the answer always drastic

action or val. valid point meaning. .r

B: No, I um, I'm against um, I'm against violence. Um, now when I say

what we take this can be. ... this can be um, can be used politically .

T: Um huh .

B: um, socially and economically. Now, we um, as far as I'm concer-

ned, one of the biggest moves the Lumbee Indians have ever had in Robe /on

County was when we opened the Lumbee Bank.

T: Um huh .

B: Now this move. .

T: Tell us about this?

B: This moved um, this moved some of um, your dominated Indians from under

the fingernail of the White domination in Robe/son County. In other
words, when he he um, needs um, money he doesn't necessarily have

to go to this um, White individual and beg for it. He has he has

a choice.

T: Um huh .

B: Now in many cases um, some of our um Indians are so that they're

so attached and has been brainwashed to um, the fact that um, you .

if you move to the .to the um, Lumbee ank, your business um, you. .

um, you're hurting yourself. Because you're gonna have to come back to

me sooner or later and I I um, I'm gonna refuse j'. And um, in m

many cases they feel that um, he he has been under so long feels

that this is true.

T: Intimidation. it's an intimidation right isn't it. .

B: Right. ..

T: of his survival. Um, & talked about the um, the Ltfmbee Bank

I know they had their grand opening, I believe that it was this week.

Page 24

B: Yeah um, last um, last wednesday.

T: Last Wednesday. Um, I think. .how many do they have on the Board

there? I think one of our one alleged there was a Charlie Roe?

B: CHarlie Roe. .yeah one of our um, um,

T: He's a Senator.

B: Senator. .

T: Um huh .

B: um, from um, NOrth Carolina is um, is one of the um, well he

was one of the the main key people of getting the Lumbee Bank.

T: How many Indians representation do they have on the board?

B: I believe we have six now.

T: Six.

B: Well um, most of most of um, our representation at the Lumbee

BAnk um, business are well known businessmen

T: Um huh .

B: And is very capable of carrying out um, the duties of um, of the bank.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, this this Lumbee Bank has a a real real signi-

ficance um, some some significant views of um, that I I um, .

I really don't um, I really don't. don't understand quite how it

came about. Because um, as we know, most of the Indians in this commu-

nity are poor. But yet they scrape enough of money from under the rug. .

T: rm huh .

B:. to um, buy the shares in this bank to open it.

T: Um huh .

B: This surprised um, not only me as an individual, but many in the community

to um, that we could do it.

T: Um huh ..

Page 25

B: I took um, it took a lot of doing and um, took a lot of togetherness

to really put this thing together.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, this is one of the one of the real um, um, um,

real pictures of what the Lumbee Indians can do by getting together

working together and fighting for one goal.

T: Um huh I believe um, it was sometime last year, I was in a

meeting and I recall you were there expressing some of your views

of. .. I think I was there with Mr. Lew Barton perhaps we were'

covering some news stories with him or something. and um, it

concerned the Mayor of the local government and so on. Um, could you

comment on how you see our government our local government

here now and maybe perhaps in the future? Do you see any improvement

or .?

B: Well I I'll um, as you know I was on the um, town board there. .

as a town counselor um, for two years and I was really concerned

and um, the activity of um, our little town here.

T: Um huh .

B: It's um, predominately Indian. Um, it's um,. our um, whole gov-

ernment. .. town government is actually controlled by Indians. And

um, we have we have some problems in there. We've had quite

a few. And um, I really didn't know um, the problems that we did

have until I served on the board. And by getting an inside view of

it um, after I um, leaving the board up, I knew some of the

things that should be done and could be done and um, we really wasn't

doing. And um, I got involved in trying to work with the town to

change some of these um, wrongs that we had in within our .

our twon. And um, we had a a few we had a few um, com-

Page 26

plaints that we felt that should be um, looked into and um, some of

our. some of the concerned citizens in town um, challenged the

town government on 'em. And this brought up quite a bit of

of um, controversy, among them. between the government

and some of the town citizens as to um,. um, the um, way

our funds were being distributed in certain departments.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, I feel that we haven't got a whole lot of problems but we have

got some and um, I think that the um, easiest way to um, get the

most from our town government is through a a town manager.

And um, this .

T: And and you're saying there's this is different from a

Mayor. Is that right?'

B:' Right. I feel that that as a part time mayor and he must

be a part mayor um, because he's not paid a salary to meet the needs

of um, an individual, to um, carry out the office. He's got to

work someplace to in order to make a living.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, you've got to have. .

T: In other words you feel to be a Mayor or a Manager is a .of

Pembroke is a full time job?

B: Is.a full time job. Um, now it's been run as a part-time mayor ever

since um, the beginning of our little town.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, and it has grown as the college has grown. Therefore it has got

.it has grown to the point that we need a full time manager.

This way the your governing body can make the decisions and the

manager can carry out these these um, um, decisions and will

Page 27

be right on top of all of our problems that we have. Such as our

streets, our water situation, um, our annexation and um, many of

the other problems that we have.

T: Um huh .the your & i5 -/- A& /S ^j S. ,

whereas you feel that you caret backing from other citizens or have

you .

B: Well we .

T: discussed it with anyone?

B: We have .we have um, what we call a Concerned Citizens Group.

Um, it's not very big. We have .We have um, quite quite

a few. We have enough to to um, give our. give anyone a

um, feeling that we have some. we have. we have the backing

as far as the town is concerned.

T: Um huh .I've lived here aiS close to some five years and
Sorne (^e ice
I've gone s+et become tuned in to a place that takes slow

some fast and some never become tuned in or I sort of felt I had a

Otu nY-A ) b g cgfihg from the western part of North Carolina

where you know when it's some Cherokee Indians up there and I find

some similarities of. especially speech patterns and different

things like this. Um, but um, I wanted to ask you, have you .

as you as a young say a young boy eighteen or nineteen you are in

this area, right?

B: Right.

T: And I know you've seen times change. Um, you ve seen that the Lumbee
Indians have made progress, Ij ( that he speaks with pride. .

that he's proud and he should be. But yet sometimes um, he displays

4 I'm I'm saying this and you disagree with me if or agree

or whatever. a feeling of .defeated kind of attitude sometimes.

Page 28

Do you feel that do you ever sense this or do you feel this

k1\ back?

B: Well um, personally I um, I don't feel a defeat, um, because we are

making progress. Um, as you looked at our .look at our educational

system from the beginning, we have grown quite a bit. We have come

a long ways in education.

T: Right .

B: Um, as you know we have a little. .

T: Got a long way to go yet.

B; Right. we um, we um, as you see notice that little

um, wood structure of a school down at the boardd of Education. .

T: Um huh .

B: Is on display. I happen to be a one of the fortunate people

to go to school in that little building.

T: Um huh .

B: I walked four miles to go to school in that little building..

T: Primarily what did your parents do to as for a livelihood

in this area?

B: We were farmers. Um, my father was a farmer when I at my young

age and um, during my teenage life um, he became involved in um,


T: Um huh .

B: And he was a he was a linesman until he retired.

T; Um huh .

B: But back in those days he was a farmer. And I could .. I could see

and I noticed the difference in our school and say the White school.

Well this is a comparison this little school, is a comparison

to the school that White children went to at Philadelphia, which they

Page 29

couldn't move. It's a brick structure.

T: Um huh .

B: Two story um, still standing in the same location .

T: Yeah I know. .

B: And this is a comparison of what the Indian had with what the White um,

students had.

T: Um huh .

B: We walked to school and yet they had a bus.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, yet we um, see it down there on display as to what our schools

was back in the olden days of Rob/pson County. And yet I'm um, I'm at

a young um, fairly young age of forty one. .

T: Um huh .

B: And I was a I was a a student in that school. So really

we're we're deceiving ourself and other people by having a

display down there of what our of what we've grown from, of our

schools today and what they were then. Um, .

T: When you're on the bottom it's not much way you can come up But

B: Right. So what .. what I'm what I'm saying is the school that

I'm teaching in right now is um, approximely um, in about the same

condition as the school in Philadelphia SaEeEmmM---

T: You're talking about Philadelphia commun. .

B: Philadelphia High um, elementary school at Philadelphia.

T: That's about how miles from Pembroke. .?

B: This is about um, seven miles from Pembroke.

T: Um huh. .. this is the White school.
B: So really u, really we um we have grown in our in as
B: So really um, really we um, we have grown in our .. in .. as

Page 30

far as the Indian schools are concerned we have gone up the ladder.

But what hurts is the fact that our schools has moved up th, ee blocks

three steps the um, some of our schools in the area

such as um, Lumberton High School which is a city school, under the

city system but yet they control the county system um hey have

moved up to um, a much higher bracket. They've moved up maybe five

steps we'll say. Well the National average have moved up ten steps.

So what can .... what are we really saying? Is we we have

grown. We have come a long ways but we're much further down the ladder

then we were in the days of the old. the little wood school.

T; Um huh ..

B: As far as the National level is concerned.

T: Um huh .Robe on County Education is still on the bottom ag

B: Right. Um, we're we're .

T: Economically, educationally um, .

B: We're really um, way down the line as far as the educational program

is concerned. So, this is this is um, this is really um, where I

S. .where I feel like we have a complaint as--n0f1s Indian people.

T: Yeah.

B: We um,. .p

T: This ii what we wanted to be-ftae. This is the ;point of this study

this program and we want to express that.

B: We um, we look at um, some 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was

adopted that we would have a equal opportunity, equal education,equal

rights. and yet um, when you look at it in our area, we are not. .

we are no better off. Now um, one. .one could ask, well.whose. .

whose fault is it? Well um, it could be it could be my fault to

Page 31

some extent because I haven't demanded the the opportunity

for Rob on County Indians that they should have.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, Our educators are bound. er, our Indian Educators. are

bound to a system because um, of um, ec. um, economical problems.

He has um,completed four years of college, he has a teachers certificate,
he build him a home, has a fairly nice car. He's living fairly

well comfortable. This is the segment of the .your educators and

um, when he buck if he bucks the system um, well what's gonna


T; He has to .

B: They drop him out of the system, he loses that big home, he loses the

prestige that he has as an individual and he's back duwn on the lower

end of the pole. So really he um, what he says is um, I'll play shut

mouth because I've got to eat.

T: Um huh .

B: And if I If I if I um, .if I claim that I don't know

this is taking place within the system I'll um, I can live and get

along well. My children, I can push them through the um educational

system on a little higher level,as I said before pick the teachers

and um, um, he'll. he'll have a fairly decent life. So what

what really hurts is that individual out 'here with a fifth grade

education,seven children, that works that works at some of our

local plants, at a dollar and sixty five cents an hour, um, and um, the

only way that he's gonna get a raise is by um, this the ur, increase

the federal increase. So, and and um, he doesn't reall-

he doesn't really have anything to look forward to and what he um,

what he really what he really has in mind is as soon as that child

Page 32

gets to be eighteen years old, he can get a job in that plant and

they'll have two pay checks.

T: Um huh .

B: So, um, really the person that has has hurt these individuals

on this lower levels are our educators.

T: Um huh .

B: By not standing up for what he really knows and what he really believes

and what should be changed in our community.

T: And our educators are bound to our communities so to speak.

B: Right ..

T: And it seems like they I by the system and ipts sometimes the
system that knows the least. about education. It seems that way.

Do um, um, do you agree with that?

B: Yea. well I. Yeah I'll I'll I'll um,. .

I'll agree with that. Um, we um, we find that that um, it's

easy here to um, sit in the boat and ride comfortable than to rock it.

T: Um huh .

B: This is this is this is what this is what has took

place in Robe on County.

T: Is there an element of fear or of apathy or of both?

B: Um .

T: It has I don't. can't buy the fact that it's not caring. .

B: Um. well, they care they care because um, this is. .

T: Like you say they they have to exist.

B: This is really it's shown itself that they care because we can, .

we can look at the Pembroke State University. Um, as you know count. .

the county. has been controlled by the predominately Democrat.

T: Um huh .

Page 33

B: for there for many years.

T: Um huh .

B: And um, during the last elections we had um, a Republican Governor.

And um, before the election. .

T: Let's see. that was how many years has it been since we've

had a Republican governor?

B: Um, seventy. it's been seventy two years I believe, um, since

we've had a Republican governor. So. .

T: And our Gover or. the Governor of this state now is. .

B: Is um, Jim -seh oeer, a Republican.

T: Um huh .

B: And so um, um, our Pembroke State University had a tendency to lean

toward the Democratic machine.

T: Um huh .

B: Because it was dominated um, on your board and in the in the um,

educational program from top level. So um, whatever they ask for or
whatever they wanted they got. So by the change from one party to another

um, we um, have seen a little um, change in in um, attitude and

the trend of of working a little bit with the community now because

of this. We had a a segment of individuals, not very many, bhat

changed their party affiliation um, in our community. And um, this. .

this group of individuals that worked for the Republican party was more

or less um, known in the county or in this area as um, agitators.

T: Um huh .

B: Until the election was over and the Republican party won as far as the

Governor was concerned. So right away um, the attitude of our admini-

stration at Pembroke State University has changed a little bit.

T: Um huh .

Page 33

B: Um, we have children out on saturday that's in programs such as

swimming. .

T: Um huh .

B: basketball, volley ball and many other little programs that has

took place in the last few weeks that we haven't had in the last eight

years. So I um, personally feel that um, they begin to see some of the

power changing and so, the community being involved in. of um, ,

under a Republican move has started to make showing him some

faith like in a .

T: Um huh in the college and schools is to serve the community.

B: Right. This is a .

T: This is seems like a we voice this for so -long but um, it hasn't

happened 'til like you say, recently we began to see the signs more.

B: The um, president of the college made the statement to me that um, he

was only interested in the growth of Pembroke State University. I .

I um, I like to see anything advance. But when you when something

grows out of it's area then really you are not meeting the needs of the

the founding of of an institution. So this is what took

place (Actually col e would've met the needs of this area

and this community much more I feel that if it would've never
had grown as large as it is today.

T: Um huh Well one thing. ..

B: And if it had've grown this large, had set up a program to meet the .

the needs of the individuals in the community.

T: Um huh Well, we know that the college started out as a normal

school. That is um, to train teachers for Indian schools, right?

B: Yeah, um, with .

T: And It's still primarily um, on a educational basis field. more

Prge 34

people in the Educational Majors.

B: Right.

T: But yet we hear through the News media and the Time magazine and
this kind of thing um, and even in applying for jobs, that the teacher

mar is flooded. We have Ph.D's driving taxi cabs and this kind of


B: Well, this is true. this is true in um, in some areas that. .

that it has a flood. an um, a a. .overflow of education,

we11 say, on the streets.

T: Um huh .

B: But in this area um,

T: This this is not in this area, really.

B: Not in this area we. we find some of our um, top educators making

this type of statement, or this kind of statement. But in this area

it's really we're really not we're not over powered with


T: Um huh .

B: We may have we may have um, quite a few that has a degree or

maybe has a teachers certificate but um. .. that um, are not in the

not in the educational program. But in many cases they don't

want to be in that educational program because of what we uv, um, .

T: Some of the prob. .

B: talked about before is that the kind of system that we have.

So, they move to other areas such as um, um, Chemistry laboratories

and um, we lose we lose many of our good um, educators to um,

a lot of our um, out of state and out of the area um, companies.

T: Um huh .

B: We have um, we have am many um, um, what I consider top educators

Page 35

that have completely been turned off of education because they didn't

want to be involved in the in um, this political system that we

have in education. .

T: Um huh .

B: today in um, Robe)son County.

T: Um huh and of course it's the .. our children that's getting

the runt end of things.

B: Right, well the children are the ones that are getting. that are

being um, neglected and deprived.

T: Because mainly it seems like wwe have some disadvantaged adults, um,

in their thinking perhaps, .

B: Um,any any um, any educational system that don't meet the demands

of the students involved it's missed the mark,

T: Um huh .

B: And um, um, really um, this is this is where we're. .. we are

at in Robe on County now.. This is whay we need much more of what I
call Career education in this area, um, then um, we have now.

T: Um huh .

B: And yet um, but yet we should push in our educational program to

give um, your higher education to as many as can qualify.

T: Um huh .

B: Now um, this um, college entrance exam has eliminated many of our

Indian_ children.

T: Do you think that tlis=should be done away with or perhaps let them

come in on what we call the what they have now, the C.O.P.,

College Oppurtunity Program, and they study like for one semester

if they pass then they go on through? Research has reported that these

people make as good a grades, but for some reason or another, some

Page 36

people just cannot, um, I won't say can't pass the test, but it's

just hard for them to sit down and thke a teat for fear or lightning

up or things like that.

B: Right. Well I real. .um, I think it should be changed and um, put

em on um, let em start on probation.

T: Right.

B: But at in the at the same time you've got to have an

administration that will accept this kind of program.

T: And be pro student. .

B: And as you know as you know um, you can you can um, you

can be negative towards um, um, a type of program. And if you have the

right if you have the the right position you can um, you

can defeat a program um, without um, without showing. What I mean is

your educators in in your. in-the-college institute that has

this type of program um, your professors have to agree on this type of

program in order for it to be successful. Because they can very well..

they can very easily um, discourage um, this individual to the point
that and um, necessary, deprive him. of going through.

T: Um huh and this is he might as well get out. .whi

B: Right.

T: while he can still get out with some some dignity left.

B: Yeah.

T: I was goinna ask you while ago, // LA C '

know the situation and you know that it can be changed and almost in

minute to minute I guess that's why we call this contemporary history

um, a new concept. History as a young .a young man did it disturb

you or frustrate you? What was your reaction when you went ten miles

Page 37

from here to the county seat M, '7 ,-"A, / "J A(CA

"7 )," S ,L.0- to Lumberton. They know you and they

know that you were a Lumbee Indian and that you couldn't go into a

let's say, a restaurant that served Whites and buy a hamburger or
you couldn't use the restroom that the Whites used.

B: Really it did. um, .

T: How"d this make you feel? I meandid you .

B: This really didn't um, I didn't really have um, much of this kind

of problem as I said before. We were farmers. And about the only time

that um, we went to town was two or three times a year.

T: Um huh .

B: This was during tobacco season when we went to sell the tobacco. Um,

my father would um, take us all to the tobacco market on the last tobacco

sell and um, we would sell tobacco and we would stop at a country store

and get ice cream and um, big candy. So really um, when I was a um, a

young um, tot, I um, this really didn't disturb me a whole lot because

I wasn't I really didn't know.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, in many in um many cases um, some of the Lumbee Indians here

um, were in much was um, in a higher bracket, we'll say, and um,

they were involved inhis type thing. But really um, until I was sixteen

seventeen years old um, I um, I wasn't really concernedor I didn't have

excess to this activity. Now um, when um, when we went to the movie;

um, which was very seldom, we came to Pembroke because this was our town.

T: Um huh .

B: Um, we were um, not necessarily told that um, we couldn't .. we

couldn't go to Lumberton or Red Springs or Maxton or so on to the

movie, but we just we just wasn't carried there, um, because of

Page 38

the um, our our parents knowing the situation they didn't get

us involved too much in this kind of thing, um, until I was sixteen

we didn't I didn't I didn't really have um, a knowledge of

all that was going on. The first indication of this wasm, after'

I became a teenager and um, we um, had a we had a car and this

lady was sick and I took her to theae'ggmHBB doctor in Red

Springs. And um, I drove upbefore the Doctor's office she went in

and um consulted with the doctor. He gave her a prescription. She

went to the local drug store there in Red Springs and got a to

get her prescription filled. Well then a small kid um, a youngster

I followed her in and she got the prescription filled and walked

over to the soda fountain and asked for a coke to have a to get a

to take some of the medicine. And um, the um, the individual

says if you'll walk around and come to the back door, I'll give you one.

And really this was the first time that I realized that um, this was

going on. And um,. .

T: What was your immediate feeling if you can recall?

B: I didn't understand it at that time because um, really I had. as

I said, I hadn't been involved.

T: Well in hearing you speak it um, I can feel bitterness-. Do you feel

thag even today?

B: Today I um, I've never forgotten it and I um, I never will. And um, I

have a um, a feeling towards the town. Not because it had. .

hadn't changed but because of this one incident. because of this

one incident if I would run out of gas in my automobile this-afternoon

in Red Springs, I would walk to Pembroke or out of town to get gasoline

and take it back because I don't spend my money in Red Springs. Yes

I'm a I'm proud to be a Lumbee Indian and if I had one wish for

Page 39

the Indian people in Robe/on County I would wish they would unite for

an Indian cause and follow as much so as lead.

T: Thank You.


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