Interview with Herman Dial, March 21, 1973

Material Information

Interview with Herman Dial, March 21, 1973
Dial, Herman ( Interviewee )


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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behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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Side 1 7,

B: This is March 21, 1973. I'm Lew Barton, interviewing for the Doris Duke

Foundation's American Indian Oral History Program, under the auspices of the

Department of History at the University of Florida. I'm in my home in Pembroke,

North Carolina, and with me is County Commissioner, Herman Dial, who has fa-

vored me with an interview. Mr. Dial, will you tell us, uh, the various

positions and posts you hold and the work you do?
D: Will, I'm County Commissioner in Robinson County and I'm on the Board of Trustees

at Pembroke State University and, of course, I'm in the insurance Business.

B: So that our typist will be able to spell the name correctly, I'll spell it.

H-e-r-m-a-n D-i-a-l. Is that right?

D: That's right.

B: How old are you, Mr. Dial?

D: 44.

B: 44. And you've lived in Robtnson County all your life?

D: Right, all my life.

B: And you're a Lumbee Indian?

D: Lumbee Indian, and proud of it.

B: Uh-huh. Ah, how long have you been a commissioner?

D: Seven years.

B: Seven years. Ah, this is your second term, then AePn-

D: Right.

B: Was it a hard fight getting in office? Did it require iot of campaigning and

planning and.....?

D: Well, my first term in office was hard. I won by a close majority. The second

term I won by, I believe, ;-82 or 3%.



B: Are you the first or second person, Lumbee Indian, to hold the position of

County Commissioner?

D: I'm the second person.

B: Who was the other one?

D: Tracey Sampson.

B: I know you come from a well-knowned family, a family that has excelled in

education and other things. Your brother, Prof. Adolph Dial, over at Pembroke

State University, is that right?

D: That's right.

B: Ah, you father... Would you tell us about your father and your mother?

D: Well, my father and mother, uh, were school teachers. I don't know just how

long they taught, but he was, I would have to say he was a farmer, but he taught

for a few years after they married. Of course, at the time they married, she

quit teaching. She was a housewife from then on.

B: That was Mr. and Mrs. Noah H. Dial?

D: Right.

B: And, uh, how many children were in this family?

D: There's five in the family.

B: Five?

D: Five children.

B: Uh-huh. And Four of them are in the teaching profession?

D: That's right.

B: I think Adolph has branched out into other fields, as you have. He has some

position: at.-= Lumbee Bank doesn't he?

D: He is on the Board of Directors with the Lumbee Bank jA course, at the present

time, he has a leave of absence with Pembroke State 's working with Congress-

man In



B: This year, wasn't he a delegate from the Democratic Party, in this county?

D: Yes, he was a delegate to the national convention.

B: He's been pretty active. All of you have. Uh. You're married?

D: Yes, I'm married and have three children.

B: Uh, what's your wife's name?

D: Carrie Mae _Dial. I have three children. Brenda Gail Dial Strickland,

she is 25 and she's been working in City Schools for 2 years.
e gn "o i h a"y Srs for 2 years
I have a son who is 22 and he's at z1U' -f College working on his Master's


B: (interjects) Oh great.

D: And I have a girl, 7, and she's enrolled at Prospect.

B: Um-hmmm. Uh, this is where you received your elementary and high school edu-

cation? ,., /A Pir'vec ec

D: Right.

B: Well, that's the old stamping ground, isn't it? That's home to me, too. Uh,

Prospect isA quite progressive community and always has been. Uh, are you pretty

busy, these days?

D: At the present, I would consider the Commissioner's job; a full time job. It

doesn't leave much time for the insurance business or anything else. Course, I JIS+..

it doesn't pay a high salary, it pays a very small salary. B t, I guess, as one

of the two Indians on the Board of Commissioners, and almost -r he percentage
of population of Robjison County bein' Indian, we are contacted more than the

rest of the Commissions put together) by different needs. Therefore, I spend

probably half of my time working with the people in ztt a-S Commissioner

B: Well, that's, uh, that's certainly an enviable position, an enviable attitude,
too.. I know you don't mind working, and remember when you were you were first

campaigning, "Dial Dial for Representational-. ."(Dial laughs, then Barton laughs)



D: Right. I thought that was a pretty good slogan (laughs).

B: And, uh, evidently, the people are taking you up on this and they like you al-MZe

;%tb= c9h, you're always willing to talk to people and listen to their

problems. and so on, no matter how much time it takes.

D: Well, I appreciate you saying that.

B: Uh, you're also uh, one of the members of the Pembroke State University Board

of Trustees.

D: Right.

B: If I ask anything that you'd rather not comment on, we certainly wouldn't feel

bad. Uh, we're not trying to put you on the spot or anything like that, that's

not the purpose of our program. But there are some interesting things I'd like

to mention like is: Dild ,fin was voted to be destroyed,,you know, legally, I

mean. I understand your voice was the only dissenting one.

D: I believe that is correct. I believe the vote was 10 to 1, it's a twelve man

board, and of course, the chairman didn't vote. Course, we've had a controversy

over the building which raged for over a year and was climaxed just this past

Sunday by a fire which gutted the building. That's where we are at the present.

: That covers. aot of ground in a short while, doesn't it?

D: It does.
B: You've been out among the people more than anybody else on the Board I believe

It's fair to say that because you are active, you are so active, and, uh, you've

heard comments pro and con, no doubt about Old Main, those who want to save it

and those who want it destroyed. Uh, have you any idea, have you ever thought

about, uh, a consensus of opinion of which side weighs the heavo1est, uh,

heaviest in your estimation, you know from the contacts you've had and the

people you've talked to?

D: There is no doubt about it. I would say 90% or better of the people would like



to see Old Main restored. And it's my personal feelings had the fire not happened,

it would have been more expensive to restore it than it would today, because all

the insides of that building would have needed to come out. About all we could've

saved is the walls, and of course, the columns I believe that the building

could be cleaned up and restored at less money, than it would have taken from the

beginning. And I have reason to think that if the walls will stand renovation,

that the funds can be acquired.

B:; Oh, that's very encouraging. That's certainly very encouraging. Uh, how did you

personally feel about it when you got the news that Old Main was on fire?

D: Well in a time like that, it's hard to describe feelings, but, I think everyone

was hurt )Pe to the fact that it happened e don't know where the fire originated,

some people say arson, some say not. I wouldn't care to debate on, or, elaborate

on that. But, the fact is that the building is gone, and a big majority of the

people wanted to see the building saved. I think there's a lot of hurt feelings

in the community, and arot of people concerned about it.

B: Well, uh, it was my experience that the first person I heard weeping about the

destruction of the building, you know, the fire gutting the building, was a white

person. And, uh, do you think Old Main is thought of affectionately by all three

races.... people of all three races?

D: I think so, but I think there's more sympathy shown among the whites in Robiason

County since the burningethan there was before because it wasn't as close to the

white as it was the Indians. And, uh, once the fire started, I believe, it really

dawned on 'em just what we had lost. They hadn't been in the position to appreciate

it as much as we did because at one time, this was all we had in the way of education.

And I think any reasonable man would agree that there's something there that's

dear and close to the Indian people. And, of course, we intend to make every effort



to see that it i restored.

B: Uh, do you think that this fire changed the attitudes of any of the other members

of the Board? Of course, now that's asking you to make a guess, 'cause I know

you haven't had time to see them all to know about their attitudes.

D: If I had to take a guess, I would say yes. The Board will meet tomorrow afternoon,

which is the 23rd, at 3:00PM. And, of course, this was a regular meeting called

before the building ever burned. And, I'm sure this will be discussed, and I

believe the feeling of the majority of the Board will be different from what it

was at the last meeting.

B: Of course, you can hear all kinds of, uh, rumors and all kinds of conjectures and

reasons, but nobody really knows or has any idea who the alleged arsonists were,

do they?

D: Not to my knowledge.

B: Uh-huh. I understand that the governor has offered a reward o5,000. for the

apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire.

D: That's right. I was in the governor's office Monday morning, and he issued a

proclamation of $5,000to the arrest and conviction, to, uh, ever who did it

if there was arson involved. Again, we're not saying that there was, but it seems

that this is almost what it would have to be, because at the time the building

was condemned, the current was cut off. There was no power going to the building.

And I have heard it rumored, that there was kerosene spread over the floors. This

is a rumor.

B: Um-hmm. Mr.OXJNDINE_ the Fire Chief, here in Pembroke told me, I believe,

that there were about seven or eight spots where some fuel had been poured, which

had ignited. Uh, I,uh, guess we ought to get along and talk about some other things,

too. There's so many things to talk about. What problem do you think;is the most

pressing, right now? You know, among the Indian Community?



D: Well, of course, we're all concerned about Old Main, but we've said so much for

that. I would have to say the system of educational system of Roblson County,

by the way the Robhrson County BoW of Education is elected, with respect to the

way the city systems are elected. We have, in this county, 6 school administrative

units. Which 5 are elected from the city districts, __ Lumberton, St. Paul,

Red Springs,, / A and, of course, the RobMdson County School System. We have

3 charter districts within the county: Lumberton, Red Springs, and the Robqison

County School System. We have 2 systems that pay a special school tax, which is

Lumberton, and Red Springs. Each city administrative unit elect( their own

Boards of Education, they elected from their respective district. Rob&son County

Board of Education is elected at large. We feel that this is morally wrong.We

question if it's legally right if it was tested. And, of course, this thing is real

hot in the legislature, today. We have a bill introduced by Dr. Joy J. Johnson.

The bill is simple, it breaks double vote, pert e, just that simple. We have a

2nd bill introduced in the senate, Senator Britt, that would add four additional

members to the Board, by appointment from the legislature, that would run within

the county system. Of course, the 7 that we have now, run at large. To me, it

seems that this is coo"eit in what we have is not quite right. Therefore, they're

willing to give-us four to run within the county system, so we would have represent-

ation. Uh, we don't concur in this bill we do go along with Representative

Johnson's bill. However, I feel that if most of us had our choice, that we would

suggest merging the county into 1 system.

B: Uh, how does the state education officials feel about this merger, this proposed

merger? Do they feel that the 6 units should be merged, and have one system?

D: Now, are you referring to our legislators or....

B: I'm talking about the state education officials.

D: They have recommended...they did a study, Dr. Pearc's report, I believe, is what

pi 5ells



it was called. This study recommends total merge, and I believe, this was over

a period, I've forgotten, but it was a given period of time, that Robinson

County merge into one system. And, of course, that they should pass a bond

issue of 12 million dollars to support it. And this was over a 10 year period of


B: Uh, there's been some talk in the press about an offer of a compromise on the

situation, something like adding additional members to the board of, uh,......

D: Well, that's right, and we do have such legislation introduced in the senate

by Senator Britt, but, in my opinion, this is not going to accomplish anything.

I think the real answer is for the legislators to merge into one system. I

think this is in the best interest of the children. This is what we need. Now,

if they want to compromise, I think we can compromise on breaking double voting,

and letting each system elect its respective board of education.

B: And, uh, I've heard it said that when you have six units in 0- countygof this

size, which is somewhere around 85,000.... ?)

D: 84 something...

B: ....84, 000 population, it's very inefficient and very expensive. Do you see it

this way?

D: Well, let's face it, we have six superintendents, we have six assistant super-

intendents. If we were to merge, if you want to look at the administration in all

six systems, it seems to me, I've heard something like the figure quoted, that we

could save approx. 30 to 40 thousand dollars a year in just administration.

B: Um-hmmm. And that's not counting the separate lawyer which is retained....

D: (interjects) That's right. A t., ct -

B: and other, possibly others How is the bussing situation in the county, how is it

is it doing?



D: The bussing is, uh...the bussing came up in the issue when we were negotiating
with the legislators on what to do in the RobQson County System in the

change in the election of boards. Of course, we checked this out with Dr. Craig

Phillips, and he said that the bussing applies to Robinson like it does to the rest

of the counties in the state. Um, we see nothing in the bill that, uh, bussing

could reflect on it in any way that would be in conflict with it.

B: Uh, has a....

D: At the present time, the RoblRson County School System administer bussing to the

other 5 systems, which doesn't necessarily have to be that way. Either system

coud administer their own bussing And, of course, the city systems contend

this is one reason why they don't want to break the double vote. Um, course,

this',is just a way of stalling as the way I look at it. It's their tactic of

delaying it.

B: Uh, the Indians have protested this more than the other groups, I suppose, and,

Uh, is this because some 60 or is it 65% of the Rob&ason County School.....(?)

D: (interjects) I believe you would find that around 80% of the Robihson County

School enrollment is non-white; 60 Indians, 'bout 20 Black, and 20 white.

B: Uh-huh. Well, that, uh, you can see from those statistics, uh, very easily how

the Indians would be affected, there.

D: That's right, yeah.

B: This makes it clearer than we've had in years, uh... I wonder why, wonder why, uh,

the rest of the people, you know, fight so hard to retain this unfair system of

things, or are there many reasons, do you think?

D: I believe it boils down to one thing and that is control. I think we have a hand

full of politicians in Robison County that hate to give up certain things that

they can control by handling the school system this way. Let's face it, if we have


six Boards of Education in Rob.son County, I'm afraid that some of the Boards

of Education are thinking of their little kingdom, or their little corner and

forgettin' what it's all abou Education.

B: Uh-huh. Do you think it would be fair to say, then, that whoever controls the

schools, controls the Indians?

D: I hate to agree with you, but I think that's right. I think that's right. LQ/tS4

B: Well, it's uh, it's certainlyjdistressing situation and, uh, I think it's like

no other. Uh, I see it from just one standpoint, uh, I could condemn it from just

one standpoint, and that is, taxation without representation) hnd a violation of

the one man, one VJ principle. Uh, have we made any progress in convincing

them, at all, you know, that this problem has to be resolved?

D: I think so. I think so. We have people in the county system, in the city system

that contend that they pay tax in the county system, therefore they have a right

to vote on their Board of Education and ours. But, by the same token,I live in

the county system and I'm a taxpayer in the city system.

B: I'm sorry. We were temporarily interrupted, there, by the telephone uh, if

you'll excuse the, could you continue, Mr. Dial?

D: As I was saying, we have people in the city system, that pay tax in the county.

They feel, therefore, that they have a right to vote on the county Board of

Education, in their respected district, and also, in the county system. By the

same token, I live in the county system, and I own property in the city system.

But I'm not entitled to vote other than in the county system.

B: So almost anybody who lives in the county system could be, uh, could voice a

complaint that they are losing something, aren't they?

D: There's quite a few that could, yes.

B: Well, I'm sure that makes it clear. Well, what do you think about the advance-

ment by the Indian people during the time that you've been in office?



D: Well, I feel that, ummm, I'm not saying this because I'm in office, but at the

time I went on the board, seven years ago, we had, in Robinson County, an all

white,uh, Welfare Board. Today, we have a majority of non-whites. We have 2

Blacks, 1 Indian and one white. Uh, we have as head of the tax, Robinson County

Tax Department, a Lumbee. Wejave, in the Inspection Department, men in the same

capacity as the whites do. And I can think of different places where, uh, in my

opinion, that we've come a long way.

B: Uh, maybe I should ask you about some more about your-personal biography. Uh, who

was, uh, Mrs. Dial, before youvrere marrid-&e

D: She was the daughter of Russ Lockler and Winnie C. Lockler. He was a teacher at

Prospect High School for a number of years. I don't recall how long. Uh, his

father was Mr. Anderson Lockler. He was one of the founders f Pembroke State
(Vo rrnm. I
College, or, at that time, I believe it was, Pembroke Indian O ALt-LSchool, is

that right?

B: Um-hmmm.

D: Well, uh, there's a building named, on the campus, today, in memory of Mr.

Anderson, and, of course, there's a building named in memory of my grandfather,

my mother's dad, William Elmore. And there was a building named, recently in

memory of my brother-in-law, Dr. Herbert G.ODEMDINE. And, this might be a little

personal, but things like this makes Old Main, going back to Old 11ain, it makes

it pretty dear to me.

B: Right I can understand that. Since we are talking about naming buildings, I'm

sure all the buildings on campus, which have been named have been well named. Uh,

this is an Indian chartered institution and I believe if I'm correct, that most

of the buildings bear the names of families, or individuals, are Indian namesT?

D: Most of them. I believe we have one is Wellands Hall, which was named for a Dr.

Wellands. He was president, at one time, of the college.

B: Dr. Ralph G. Welland?



D: I beleive that's right. Then we have one, uh, L/vermore was named in memory of

the late R. W. Levermore's daughter, Mrs. Mary Levermore. L /c e IK

B: That's the library building. '-,.

D: That's right. And I believe that's the only two buildings I can think of that's

been named after someone other than a Lumbee Indian.

B: I, sort of, have a pet, a pet, um, idea of my own that, uh, course, I'm sure

I'm not the only one who thought of it, um, but I've always felt that we should

have some kind of memorial on the campus for the memory of the late Hamilton

Welland, who is the father of the Lumbee Indian Education and the father of

Pembroke State University.

D: I have read and heard quite a bit about him. And, if I recall correctly, he was

in the legislature at the time that Pembroke State was founded, is that right?

B: Right. And introduced the bills that...

D: Right. And I think that during his time in legislature the first $500. was

appropriated for, uh, the first college that we had at Pembroke, which is not

on the present site. I believe it was about a mile west of sta Pembroke State

is, today. And, uh, I would like to think of something in memory of him.

B: That's great. Perhaps, something will be done, if we can.. &Ould you join me in

promoting that idea, not with antagonism, but as an idea, a constructive idea.

D: I certainly would. I certainly would.

B: I've, uh, I've, sort of felt that we have sort of neglected him in that respect

at times. I've never written anything publicly about that, uh, but I've thought

about it alot, and I understand he doesn't have any living relatives, that his

entire family is non-existent, now.

D: That's right, but from what I've heard and read about him, he has been a friend

to the Lumbees and, of course, the Indians were close to him.



B: Right. Ithink his association, his active association with them began about

1864, or even earlier than that. He was still active as late as 1914. Uh, so

he's certainly a worthy friend, and another thing, I think you'll agree with me

on this, and I think you will, is that, uh, he came at a time, he befriended us

at a time when we had few friends, if any.

D: That's right. Had it not been for him, I wouldn't say that there wouldn't say

that there wouldn't be a Pembroke State, today, but it might have come along a lot

later than it did.

B: Uh, do you have any, do you have any ideas for any changes or any improvements,

at all, as far as PSU is concerned?

D: Yes I do. But I have some reservations as to, uh, making any comment on it at.

this time.

B: Uh-huh. I understand. Uh, I wanted to ask you another question which, uh, you

may not want to answer, but, uh, you may. so I'll ask it anyway.

D: Go right ahead.

B: Uh, we have been, uh, cognizant of a lack of rapport between the Indian community

and PSU, for some time, and of course, uh, this is more or less understandable.

But, taking the constructive approach, do you think that, uh, anything could be

done on both sides to establish a better rapport between the Indian community

and the institution?

D: I am aware hat there is a breakdown in communication between the community and

the administration at Pembroke State. There's several things in my mind as to

why this breakdown occurs. I don't think at the time that Old Main was con-

demned, and of course, the people in the area wanted it restored,and the vote

was so strong against restoring it. I don't think this helped the situation,

any. Uh, I do now, uh, at that time, that the president of the college, Dr.

Amos E. Jones, Cairman of the Board of Trustees, I believe, at that time, Mr.


LUM 58A O /

Mr. Harry W. Lockler /I n my personal opinion, I think they pushed the issue

too far.And, Uh, course, this didn't bring the community and the college to-

gether and I thought this was real bad in my opinion. I feel that, if it was

their conviction that the building should be torn down and replaced, that they

could've atleast been more diplomatic about it. And, if you recall, I believe

you were in the meeting, at the time, that we discussed Old Main as to what to

do about it, and, of course, like I said earlier, I believe the vote was about

10 to 1 to demolish the building. And, if I recall correctly, I believe I

offered a motion that we leave Old Main for a given period of time and let the

people in the community see what they could come up with in the way of support,

with funds to restore the building. And, of course, it was voted down, and I

thought this was real bad and it hasn't helped the relationship between the

community and Pembroke State, any whatsoever.

B: Old Main did become a national issue and, uh, of course, both political parties

came in and supported Old Main, uh, I don't know exactly what the tally is,

(laughs) I've never tallied them up. I understand that the Democratic Party

actually wrote the restoration and preservation of Old Main into a plank of

it's platform. Uh, have you heard about this? .....

D: No, I haven't. I haven't heard about that. As I recall, the only strong

opposition to restoring Old Main was in the administration. I will not say the

only opposition, but the only strong opposition was in the administration.


B: Uh, I would like to ask you about another matter, another related matter, and

that is to bridging the gap between our public schools and the university. Uh,

it seems that, uh, the level in our public schools is not all that it should be.

And, also, that uh, entrance requirements are a little high for some of our

Indian students. Uh, do you have any comments along those lines?



D: Well, I'd like to say, uh, as I said earlier I have a son in Radcliffe College

working on his Master's Degree. Now, his major is going to be math and I was

talking with him over the weekend, and he thinks if he had had a stronger back-

ground that it would be much easier. And things like this is why I say that we

should be able to elect a Board of Education and, of course, employ a superin-

tendent from the Robinson County School unit. I think, after all, I'm more

concerned about my child than anybody else, and I don't see why a man, or how a

man in the city system, that's controlling the power in the county system,

could have the interest that we do. And, uh, I think it's just too political.

That's the only way I know to put it.

B: Uh, I think, uh, there has been an effort, since 1964, uh, there has been

concern about changing the level, educational level of our public schools as

far back as, I believe I'm right in saying 1964. Because I remember your brother-

in-law, the late Dr. Herbert G. Oxndine, who was then Dean of Faculty at PSU,

was so concerned about it. I believe I'm correct. Correct me if I'm wrong.

D: I believe that's right, if I recall correctly, uh, Herbert offered his services

at Pembroke Junior High. He was dean of the college at that time, he offered his

services to go there as principle of that school.. Of course, I got from re-

liable sources that the superintendent of the county Board of Education said

that they could not afford to be told what to do, therefore they chose to keep

what they had, which in my opinion, is a step backwards.

B: In other words, they turned down a PhD. to seat an MA., is that right?

D: That's right.

B: I remember there was quite a bit of controversy over this, and I know, I knew

your brother-in-law personally, he wa a friend of mine and he's the man who

encouraged me to go back to college after I lost my vision, and without his

encouragement, I wouldn't even have attempted it. Uh, but he, I'm just one of



so many people he helped, you know. He was that kind of person.

D: I feel that he was close to the people and he was very much concerned about

the people. And, uh, sometimes I think maybe he overplayed it. That could be

why he's not around today, you know?

B: Right. It's very possible. I believe, if I remember correctly, correct me if

I'm wrong, was it maybe a cerebral hemorrhage that was responsible for his

death, or something along those lines?

D: Well, he had a heart condition, for some 2 or 3 years and, uh, I think that's

what was fatal his heart condition.

B: Well, many of your, many of your personal, uh, of your family members( m

""D WCI uh, have married teachers, or taught, or have married teachers, or,

your family has always been associated with schools, and, uh, of course,this

gives you a good background because you have this first-hand knowledge, and so

forth, this first-hand interest and desire to see first-hand education for all

the people in the county. O specifically think you'd go along

with that statement.

D: Well, I always pick at my wife about her and I being the low ebbs of both

families. There's five of us in the family, of course, four of them are teach-

ing. And their companions are all teaching. My wife, there is four in her

family children, and of course, they're all teaching and their families are

all teaching and their companions are all teaching. You see, my wife and I are

the only ones in the two families, that's not in the teaching profession.

B: Well, you certainly haven't done bad for yourself.

D: Well, thank you. (laughs)

B: You, uh, you've certainly made up for that in so many other ways, the fact of

the matter is I'm glad you're not teaching to be able to be doing what you're




D: I appreciateyour saying that.

B: Uh, if you had the power to change anything at all, in the county, uh, this is

sort of an ambiguous question, but I'm wondering if, uh, well I think you ans-

wered that question, in a sense when you said double voting. If you had the

power to change anything, at all, what would you change?

D: If I had the power to change anything in Robinson County, my first priority would

be merging Robinson County into one system. Of course, we're concerned about

double voting, because the other systems won't go along with merging. I think

if you're going to Ct you think of it from an educational stand-

point, merger is the answer. And, of course, uh, breaking the double voting

is a substitute that we would take for out merger. Uh, I can see so many things

that tie in with the educational system. This past year we spent, I say we, the

county, state and federal government spent $5 million in Robinson County in food

stamps, and the social service department.

B: $5 Million?

D: $5 million. Uh, in my opinion, there's a breakdown in educational system,

somewhere, or this wouldn't happen. There's so many things that education

'//AIE ON until it affects us in so many ways, they're just too

numerous to mention.

B: Are you a member of Prospect Methodist Church?

D: Yes, that's right.

Side 2

B: This is side 2 of the interview with Mr. Herman Dial. Uh, we were interrupted

by the end of the tape, there. We were, I started asking you about, uh, whether

you were a member of the Methodist Church, and you answered in the affirmative,



D: Yes.

B: And then, I wanted to ask you, uh, if there is some special work, uh, among

the Indians and Blacks in the county that the United Methodist Church is do-

ing, now.

D: Yes. We have a grant from the United Methodist Church, I believe the Black

and he Luee in Rob Cson fromed a caucus from this grant. And it was

in thel$20,000., I stand to be corrected, but I think that is right. And,

course, we have, uh, Herbert iard, L. Herbert Lord employed, he's employed full

time. I believe the funds come from the, uh, well, I won't say positive, just

where the funds come from, but I know it's from the United Methodist Church.

And Herbert has done a wonderful job A voter s registration. Of course,

he's involved in other programs which I couldn't mention, but he has done a

wonderful job there, and I think that we'll feel the results, some people

will see the results in the future, just what he has done, in the line of voter


B: Well, this money is, uh, we can all, as you can say, we can already see the

effects of it.

D: I believe we saw the effects of it in the last election. We had an Indian, a

Lumbee liStSk, Bobby Dean Lockler, a-Lumboa, elected in the Red Springs district,

to the Board of Commissioners, County Commissioners, 2 years ago, and I'm sat-

isfied that some of the work was done, with this money, was the result of his


B: Um-hmm. That's great. Do you see any progress being made among our Black

brothers of the county?

D: Well, I think the Black are together. I would say maybe morso than the Lumbees,

politically. Uh, we have fewer people among the Blacks that can call more shots

that are Black, than the Lumbee is. Um, I can see where the Black and the



Lumbees are working closer together, today, than ever in the past, and I

think this is what is going to take to change the power structure in Rob1hson


B: Uh-huh. You mentioned a bill, uh, awhile back, in this interview, uh, intro-

duced by Dr. "SJohnson? Is he a Black?

D: Yes. He is a Black, and he is in the House of Representatives.

B: I see. And, uh, how many terms has he served?

D: This is his second term. Uh, he has a bill that has been introduced. And the

bill is simple, just breaking double voting in the Robinson School System. Uh,

just about that simple. And, of course, recently,, uh, a represent tive,

Mr. Frank S. White, deceased. We had a Lumbee appointed in his place He was
'Eg: Uhlwnsil 6< y----~"-I--x-'-` 1"1------*---- ----.-.-.-- ^Y-
S 4 t-)0 41 r... Cas
sworn in Monday. Um, Mr. Henry Ward O24ndine. We feel that he will do a good

job in there. Now, there's a possibility, that if Mr. Oxindine and Mr. Johnson

was to decide that they wanted to ask for the bill that is in the committee,

that it could come out favorable. We have reason to think that it would. If

it does, we have M&".* legislators from this district. I would think the

two of them could bring the bill out if they would ask for it, and I believe

the two men could see the bill through the House. And, of course, in the Senate

It would be left up to Senator Brith what to do with it. If it was defeated,

we'd at least know where Mr. Brit stands.

B: Yeah. Wave mentioned the name of Mr. Ox(ndine, haven't we(?), we mentioned

his name earlier.

D: Right.

B: Unfortunately, uh......

D: I would like to add that Mr. Oxntdine is in law school, and he will finish in

May. And we feel that this man could...the potential.s3 real good for him.



B: Unfortunately, Mr. Frank White passed away several weeks ago, is that right?

D: Two weeks ago.

B: And Mr. Oxfndine was appointed to fill the vacancy.

D: That's right. The unexpired term of Mr. White.

B: I see. Uh, we've had, uh, we've had quite a few changes within the past

six or eight years. Do you think we've had more change, in that period of

time, than we've had in twice the amount of time, or even more?

D: As a member of the Board of Commissioners, I'm reluctant to comment on that.

What do you think,

B: (Laughs) Well, we've certainly had some changes and it certainly is encour-

aging. Uh, what bothers me personally is, that, uh, the lines seem to be drawn

a little too close for comfort, if the burning of Old Main is any indication

of this, and, you know, the demonstrations we've had, in the past few years.

I'm sure that you feel that, .ofImany of us do, that watevEriis accomplished,

should be accomplished through legal channels.

D: I'll agree with that, I'm against violence. We've had some recently, but I

don't want any part of it. I think we should make every effort to do what we

can through the legislate to change the school system and, of course, if we

can't do it, I must say, then)that by the time that this tape is used in any

place, that we would be in court. And we did agree, last night, that unless

something by April 20, that we will be in the Federal Courts with the case

and see just what will come out of it.

B: And that's the double voting case.

D: Right.

B: And that's certainly interesting and timely. I'm wondering about the churches.

Uh, I suppose you're familiar with the entire county. I read in a book, several

years ago, that you're not very interested in religion, but, uh, I think, per-



haps he was misinformed. 6)_8ffOC fPVZihk

D: I think the Lumbees are very religious. Uh, sometimes I think we're too rel-

igious. To me, uh, just like this double voting issueit's a moral issue.

And, after all, this is what your churches should be concerned about, more or
less. We have pastors or preachers in Rob;son County that don't want to get

involved, because it's not directly in the church. And I think this is a way

of making the church stronger and showing growth in the church is to get out

and where you see some evils in the community, is help correct them. This is

the way you bring the church together, in my opinion.

B: Uh, I'm sure that the great Methodist leader, who's nationally known, and V\}
spoke here for a week or so, several years ago, Dr. E. Stan y Jones1 wes-e

e A"Pt ',I ,^ .He was told that there were some eleven, twelve or thirteen

churches in Pembroke, or right on the outskirts, he remarked, "If this makes

sense, I don't have any." (Laughs)

D: I'll buy that and the same way by the school system in RobVson County. If six

school systems, makes sense, for the population of 84,000 people in Robason

County, I just can't see it. We're in the process, now, that all Boards of

Education are requesting the Commissioner to hold an ii.U -admS bond

issue. Well, I feel that a bond issue is necessary. But I personally would

be against a bond issue, until we decide what we are going to do with the school

system. I thought if we are going to merge, where would the money be spent?

Where would be the right location for a new high school?...or, any school?

Uh, I'm afraid that this is one of their tactics of passing a referendum for

a bond issue. Once we spend so much money in certain areas, and that you could

go to the extent that it wouldn't be feasible to merge, you couldn't afford to.

There'd be too much busing.

B: Uh, to get back to the, uh, school situation, and PSU, and so on, uh,



it's been my impression, as a reporters of sorts, that people are reluctant

to discuss public issue, who are teachers, quite often, and sometimes students ...

Do you do you, have you detected this?

D: Well, that is right. I think we have alot of teachers that are reluctant to

speak out on issues, due to the face that it might jeopardize their positions.

And this is bad. Of course, uh, I'm a public servant and I don't mind speak-

ing out on public issues. And I feel that any man should have the privilege to

if he wishes to. But I can, I can go back twenty years, and call names to where

menzhave taken a stand against the system as it is, and, of course, they're not

around anymore. I'm thinking of one man, now that's in Tennessee. He wasn't

able to get a job in Robgtson County. Of course, it was to his gain. He's do-

ing real well. But, still, it's bad that this is it has to be this way.

B: It, uh, at one point, during this Save Old Main campaign, uh, it was very

difficult to get expressions out of University students. They seemed to be

fearful of making a stand, one way or the other. I'm wondering if that was

fear or maybe indifference. I know in most institutions of higher learning,

you do get alot more expression on issues like this.

D: I think maybe with the students from out of there, they don't know the sit-

uation as well as I, we do, and they would be more reluctant to speak out on.

The people in there that are enrolled at school at Pembroke State, can see

where it can affect their destiny, once they come out of school. And I think

for this reason, they're reluctant to speak out.

B: Mr. Dial, somebody said, the other day, that it's time now for a great leader

to emerge for the Lumbee. And the time is right for this. Uh, can you

visualize any individual who would be able to lead all our people, uh, you

know, sort of a pop leader? Talking about a single leader being able to do




D: I would like to think of, and you may not agree with me, I would like to think

of somebody among the Lumbee as a Martin Luther King was among the Blacks.

And I think there's a great need for it. That somebody could speak out for the

people and the people would abide by his decision. And this is the only way that

we're going to get the job done. Uh, I'm reluctant to say that we have maybe

two, at least two and maybe three)factions among the Lumbees, today, and, of

course, we have maybe a leader among each group. And another thing, and this

is bad, I think we need to sit down and iron out our differences. Nobody's

going to solve our problems, nobody's going to fight our battles. This is

what we've goy to do ourselves. And, uh, last night, there was two groups)

the Lumbees, and of course, we have small group, they call themselves

the East Carolina Indians. This is the first time that the Lumbees and this

other group had set down and talked together. It was a warm meeting, I think

it was well worth it's time as something that should have been done a long

time ago. And, these type meetings, the people where they have their differ-

ences, to sit down and iron them out t______ i problem. And I don't

say that any one man should call the shots for the Lumbees, but we've got to

have someone, or a small group of people, that we can place enough confidence

in, to take the ball .

B: Right. Uh, it's very difficult to ick a man.. Ove you found a lot of sus-

picion towards public officials, toward leaders in general?

D: I think, in general, not just among the Lumbees, but, any race, there's a lot

of suspicion among public --If.BSofficials. I think it's just.......

B: (interjects) Kind of expect, they ask for the best but kind of expect the


D: Right. I think it's just a part of the human race, not just any particular




B: I wanted to ask you about LRDA, if you know, if you're closely related to LRDA)

"Iad if you think it's serving a good purpose, and so forth.
D: I'm not close to LRD9 I'm not on the Board of Directors, never have been. Uh,

I don't know enough about LRDA make any comments, constructive or in any way

of criticism. I'm just not that close to the program.

B: Uh-huh. Uh, we, as you know we, the Rob4son County Historical Drama Associ-

ation is planning an outdoor drama, which will tell the story of Henry Barry

-hBaer. Uh, the story is being written by Randy Umberger with the assistance

of the nationallyknown playwrite, Paul Green. Uh, are you, are you enthus-

iastic about this or what is your feelings?

D: I think it will put the Lumbees on the map, so to speak. Uh, it can be real good,

I think it will. Uh, this is another thing that I'm not very informed about.

My brother is on the Board of Directors, and, course he's been very active in

it. But I don't know a whole lot about the, uh, outdoor drama. But, I feel

that it's good for the area. It'll bring people in there. I think it's, uh,

good publicity for the Lumbee. And I don't think they could have picked a
Lowr ry
better, referring to Henry Barry bgneT, I don't know of any drama in this

area, that they could have chosen a better man, as star of the cast.

B: Uh-huh. Well, uh, it seems to me that we were making progress in a number of

areas. But, is there one accomplishment that you think is more significant or

more important than any other in the last five or six years?

D: You mean one that has been made, or one that should be made?

B: One that is, has been made.

D: Has been made?

B: Uh-huh.

D: I think the greatest accomplishment we've made in the last five years is, uh,

and I'm not patting myself on the back, but when we got 2 Lumbees on the Board



of County Commissioners. Because, after all, they are the heads of gov't in

RobqDson County. They are the purse strings. Any time you control the money,

you do have some say-so on what goes on in county government.

B: Right. Um, What is your feeling about the Lumbee Bank? I understand that this

is the first Indian-owned bank in America.

D: I think this is one of the best things that ever happened to the Lumbee. Um,

I can recall years ago, that there was certain places in the Pembroke area

that you got money, or if you didn't get there, you just didn't get it. You

had no choice. Uh, I can see where he Lumbee already has opened up the other

banks. They're more liberal. A man, today, just doesn't have to do business,

the farmer doesn't have to do business on time from fall to fall, he ca walk

over to The Lumbee or he Ba*Sl-Union, or any other bank in the areaA operate

on a cash basis. Any time a man can operate on a cash basis, it's to his

advantage. Um, I would hope that the Lumbee will do real well, and I don't

see any reason that it won't. The end of their year will be sometime in this

month. And, it looks like they will CMb a profit the first year. And, I

would think that the first year with any bank's operation, if they can break

off even, that they can consider they've done real well.

B: Um. Well, there're so many things that we could talk about. I, we have a

sort of a new problem I believe it's in the form of drugs. Particularly,

marijuana, coming into the area, for the first time, perhaps. Do you ever

remember hearing about pot, or marijuana, before, you know, recent years?

D: No, I can't, not in this area. I would say in the last two or three years,

is the first I've heard of it in this area.

B: Do you think it is becoming a problem?

D: I don't think it's as grave as some people think it is, in this area. dB-, it

could, it could, we could become more concerned about it, than we are now.



t in, out in the outer fringes of Rob son County, they say it is really a

problem. But I don't see it as that big a problem, now. It could be a threat,

something to be concerned about.

B: Well, when you get an early start on a problem, I guess that's advantageous,

isn't it?

D: Right.

B: Uh, there was a time when Robtson County was entirely dry, legally, _

1 C i don't think it's ever been dry. But, um, now there are several

towns which have package stores, and this sort of thing. And, I believe, isn't

there one town in Robeoson County that sells beer and wine) 1ltvJ

D: Well, you can, any of your chain stores, today, could, uh, could sell beer or

wine. We have, as the Board of Commissioners, we've been approached recently,

within the last sixty days on holding a referendum to vote on a beer referendum,

county-wide., And, of course, we haven't see a lot of concern by the people in

the county for a referendum. And, we had 2 or 3 requests made, and at the

present, we've denied these requests.

B: There just wasn't enough interest.

D: Right. And we have suggested, tt 3 would take 20% of the population, Maybe

I'm wrong, of the registered voters, to request that we hold a referendum.

What I'm saying, if 20% of the registered voters, would request that we would

have no alternative, we would have to hold a referendum. And, of course, this

is the path we've chosen. If 20% of the people want it, and they get up a

petition, we will hold a referendum. If not, we won't.

B: Well, are you, being on, one of the Commissioners, I'm wondering if, uh, you

have any way of knowing, you know, the effect of the taxes, tax revenue that

is being brought in by the different stores.




D: Well, we don't have that much in Robtason County, no that wouldn't amount

to alot. If we were to bring beer in the Robson County, it's my understanding

that the county would receive about O- ldiuudLmd iUaf.

B: Mr. Dial, this has been a very valuable, a very meaty interview. And you

certainly contributed much to our store of information about our people. And

I'm wondering if, at this point, if there are any subjects, or any issues, or

any thing like this that you would like to bring to the public attention.

D: I guess if I had to sum up my feeling in the Robtfson situation in that I

would still go back to the educational system. Uh, which creates a welfare

problem, I think if our people were better educated, we would cut down on

the money that's spent in our social service department. We have law

enforcement in the county, of 33 deputies. I think it would cut down on the

sheriff's department. And, I can see where if we could upgrade our educational

system in Robitson County, it would be better, economically, or any other way

you want to look at it.

B: In other words, you think education is the answer to not just one problem,

but to many.

D: I think it is. I really do.

B: Well, I certainly have enjoyed this interview. And, you've been very kind-to

talk with us. And, you certainly haven't hedged on anything. As always, you're

open and honest and sincere, and I want to thank you for the Doris Duke Found

ation. Express our appreciation and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors

and whatever you seek to do in the county. You're great at it.

D: Thank you, sir, and I appreciate being over.