Title: Interview with Betty Sampson (March 18, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007050/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Betty Sampson (March 18, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 18, 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: UF00007050
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 60A

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Barton interview w/
Betty Sampson

3-18-73 typist: SLW

B: This is March 18, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the Doris Duke

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

the University of Florida's History Department. Dr. Samuel L. Proctor,

Director. This afternoon I'm in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Sampson,
and Mrs. Sampson is favoring me
here in Pembroke, North Carolina with an interview. Mrs. Sampson, what is

your full name. please?

S: Betty Fay Sampson.

B: And who were your parents, will you tell us about them?

S: Lero and Delesse Locklear of Pembroke.

B: L-e-r-o.

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

B: Uh, huh. I understand you are .a student out at PSU and at present you are

doing your practice teaching, is that right?

S: That's correct.

B: May I call you Betty?

S: That's ... that'll be fine.

B: Uh, Bett, how .. how old are you?

S: I'm thirty years X eld.

B: And you married Mr. Herbert Sampson, and how many children do you have?

S: I have three children, two girls and one boy.

B: I understand that after being married for a while, you decided to go back and

do the rest of aiyour college training. How much college did you have

when you married?

S: I had two years completed.

B: You had completed two years at the time, uh, huh.

S: Yes.



B: And you are a Lumbee Indian, you and your husband?

S: That's right.

B: What made you decide and go back and get your college education, complete

your college education?

S: Well, I married and I had three children. And then my baby started in kin-

dergarden. I decided then that I'd go back to school and complete my

education. And I also tried to get a job and I ... I couldn't get the type

job that I wanted without four years of college, so that was one factor

that influenced me goin' back to school.

B: Uhm, uh. Wasn't it a little bit difficult though, you know, when you're out

for a while and you get a family and it makes it doubly hard to go back

doesn't it?

S: That's correct. It certainly is.

B: Would you mind telling us the children's names and their ages?

S: Bobby Ray Sampson, 8. Delora Sampson, 7. Delessie Lynn Sampson, 6.

B: Would you mind spellin' those names. I hate to ask you but the girl who's

typing this has to know.

S: B-o-b-b-y R-a-y Sa-m-p-s-o-n. D-e-l-o-r-a. D-e-l-es-s-i-e.

B: Thank you very much. These are details that we have to fill in. As you know

Pembroke State College for Indians is now Pembroke State University. And

whereas Indians chartered the institution it is now, it's fully integrated

and there are more white students than f other students out there at present.

Somebody told me yesterday I believe that there were about 290 Indian stu-

dents at most, and the rest of 'em that make up about two thousand popula-

tion, university population, are white and blacks, and I imagine we had,

last count I had we had about 54 blacks. Do you think we have more than that

at this time?

S: I really don't know. The figures sound about right from what I know.



B: Have you seen any change in attitude, any difference in attitude at PSU

toward Indian students and toward other groups, students from other ethnic


S: Do you mean toward teaching' of the students?

B: Yes, in sort of general, you know, ...

S: Classeoom.

B: General things.

S: You askin' me do I think the teachers make a difference in the\races?

B: Right.

S: No, I don't recall any incident in the classroom happening' of this.

B: Um, huh. I would like to ask you about life on campus and uh, geniality of

students toward each other and friendliness and so forth? Do you find any

difference here?

S: Well, the white and black sort ...mix together some of them. But the Indians

seem to ... the Indians seem to separate to themselves; they don't mingle

with the whites as much as the white and black does.

B: In other words you're saying that the whites and blacks seem to be friendlier

toward each other than either whites and Indians or blacks and Indians, is

this right?

S: Yeah.

B: In your own opinion, Betty, what are the reasons for this, or have you ever

stopped to think about it? Why the Indians are largely separated from the

whites and blacks. Have you ever stopped to think about this?

S: I really haven't thought about it that much. But m, the Indians have always

been a shy type of people and Pembroke is mainly Indian area, and the Pem-

broke College has always consisted mostly of Indian students, until re-

cently, and maybe it's just that they don't accept the fact of the college

bein' integrated.



B: Well, how about you, Betty? You're a student there, and you're a Lumbee Indian

student having lived here in the Indian community all your life, have you

fully accepted integration?

S: Yes, I think that ... I think that everyone might as well accept the fact

that we're MSVa'have integration. I think students from Pembroke can learn

a ot from students like students from the North, or students becuase

mostly the ... the people around Pembroke they're farmers, or have been

mainly farmers, they don't, they haven't travelled much. And students,'comin'

from the North and other areas can ... can talk with the Indian students

down here and give them ideas and they could really help them ,if they could,

if they would only try, come in contact with each other, and try to talk to

each other, to learn these things.

B:That's a very good answer, Bett. I want to ask you one other thing--since as

one Lumbee Indian writer said in a Letter to the Editor in the Robtsonian

some time ago, he siad, "Pembroke State University is a white institution,

,gf a sea of Indians, and they're trying to build dams to keep the water

out." Or something like that. I don't know that I go along with that com-

pletely, but it is a fact that this is in the midst of a Indian community, and

AAi I wanted to ask you)therefore, do you think there is a lack of rapport

between the university and between the Indian community?

S: There's one professor at the university who seems very interested in the wel-

fare of the Indians, he se2ms ... he visits in the homes aot because I've

heard him discussion' it in class and he seems to want to get the Indians ..(l .

Indian community more interested in school and college life especially. I

heard him, I won't mention the ... won't mention the ... professor's name,

because I haven't asked him could I use his name he might ... might like

it. But I have heard him talk in class 'bout visiting' homes of the Indians

in this community and he really seem ... he really seemed interested in



them. And he also mentioned in class about a scholarship that was bein'

offered at Radcliffe College for students to get a Master's degree. And

I think ... the amount it $3600 and he ... he encouraged ...really encouraged

the students to take advantage of this.

B: That's very good. I believe I recognize the professor you're talking about.

And he certainly is friendly toward the Indian community, but I'm wondering is

this an exception rather than the rule? Is this the only professor you know

of who does this?

S: Yes, he's the only one that I know of that actually does visit in the homes of

the Indians.

B: Uh, huh. Well, I think this is good and perhaps if other professors followed

his example, do you think it would help at?

S: I think so 'cause just hearing' his remarks in class 'bout encouraging' Indians

really build up my morale It made me think more of him as a professor.

B: That's good, but perhaps in the future other professors will emulate him,

and perhaps they will see that this is a constructive thing to do. Now

how 'bout the Indian community? Is there something the Indian community

could do to close the gap if there is a glap, a gap between PSU and the

Indian community?

S: Well, maybe the ministers of the ...Indian ministers of the community could

bring this point up in church, maybe. That would be one way of doin' it. I

don't mean .. discuss this in their sermon on Sunday or anything like that but

maybetchurch meetings, and you know, organizations in the church, they could

discuss ... they could bring this up for discussion, you know, and maybe think

of some solutions for the problem.

B: Well, this sounds like a great idea to me and a very constructive one. And

we hope that something will be done constructive about ironin' out whatever

differences there are between the Indian community and PSU. I want to ask


you another question, Betty. As I recall you entered PSU at another date

and then came back later on. When you came back later on, did you find that

courses were harder and that you had to study harder and so forth?

S: Well,yes. But when I was in school before it j$ was Pembroke State College

and then the student enrollment was only about 1000. And too I was a

single girl then. I didn't have many responsibilities, now I'm a married

woman with three children and the university ... the college has grown from

Pembroke College to a university with about 2000 students. It has really

grown in size and the courses are ... they're ... they stress a lot of

research and it really takes a lot of time to do research. And so I guess

that would be one disadvantage to me is the ... alot of research work be-

cause it takes alot of time to do this.

B: I wanted to ask you about another problem. Which is not confined to the In-

dian community or to PSU but seems to be a universal problem. And this is

the problem of discipline. As a student teacher doing your student teaching

at present, do you find that discipline is a greater problem under today's

set-up than it was for instance when you were a student in school? Would

you like to comment on that?

S: WEll, when I was in the classroom, say, when I was in the ...I'm doing my

student teaching in the fourth grade level now, and when I compare myself, when

I ... myself in the fourth grade and with the fourth grade students now there's

really a vast difference. Because when I was in the fourth grade it was more

of an authoritarian type of classroom. We sit and listen and the teacher did

most of the talking' but now things are differnet. Students are encouraged

to use centers--interest centers, and use dictionaries, get out of their

seats and go find information on their own, so naturally there'd be more

noise in the classroom than there was when I was in the fourth grade. But I


LUM 60 A

think that ... I think the new method is alot more ... I think the new

method is alot more conducive to learning' than the old method. I think

students are much more intelligent today in the forth grade than I was when

I was in the fourth grade.

B: But how about the matter of punishing a student; you know when I was down

in the grades and when you were down in the grades perhaps spankings

or paddlings whatever, and things of this nature were acceptable; at

least they were when I was in school you can't do this though at all now.

This is called corporal punishment, isn't it?

S: Uh, well, corporal punishment is not completely did away with here ... around

here in the schools. Uh, mild punishment is used, but I mean, it's not

excessive. For example, I mean, breaking' the skin on a child or anything,

or paddlin' him but um, I've had two courses at the University, Ed. Psych.

and another psychology course, and I was taught the use of reinforcers,you

know, tokens and things like this and they ... they really do work. These

...these things they help out alot. For example if you tell a child you

bring your assignment or you make 58 of 90 on the test, I ... I'm going to

reward you with something, and it could be just a piece of candy or a

pencil or somethin'but small children, they ...they really enjoy getting'

these little things. And if you use ... if you use the right kind of re-

inforcers to reward them for the good things that they do, and try to ignore

the ... the bad things they do, I think the classroom discipline will be


B: Well, I can see that the woodshed method is definitely out. And I'm with

you--I think it should be out. I want to ask you another question.

In as much as you were at the institution earlier and then went back later,

I wanted to ask you about changes that have taken place in the meantime.

Do you recognize a greater openness toward sexual matters than prevailed



when you were there before? Do you think it's more open now as it should be?

S: Yes, I think there is alot more discussion than there was before.

B: Do you- think it should be this way?

S: Yes, I think so.

B: You know there was a time when adults felt that children were to be seen and

not heard. And of course today's trends are away from this sort of thing, and

we adults are learning that what young people have to say is interesting

and it's important. And that we should do more listening. And uh, do

you think this is a great improvement?

S: Oh, yes, I think the student should have his ... should be allowed to exp

their point if they think something' ... if they think the teacher's idea

is wrong they should at least ... the teacher should at least have the

... the grace to accept their point; at least listen to them, you know. If

they want to discuss it they say I think my idea is correct, why not at

least give 'em time to discuss it and then if you think ...if yoi now that

you're ... the teacher knows that her idea is and the student ... her idea

is correct, and the student's isn't, then you can ...then you can get to-

gether then ... let the child discuss his point- and you discuss your point

and then show the child then where it's wrong and where you're right. But

sometimes the child can be wr--right, just as well as the teacher.

B: Very good. I want to ask you one other ... another question right here and

that is this: it seems to me that when a teacher or a professor grades a

student that professor or teacher is also grading him or herself because

teaching is a two-way method. And until something has been taught, nothing

has been learned. And vice versa until something has been learned, nothing

has really been taught. The attempt may have been made but it's a two-

way process and the process isn't complete. Do you follow me? Uh, is this



sort of thing referred to in your studies or is that kind of principle

ever brought out into the open or is the responsibility always placed on

the student rather than the teacher or on the teacher and the student?

S: Well, like you said, it is a two-way process. The teacher has to teach it

on the tvel that the child can comprehend or learn what the teacher is teaching .

And um, I ... I was taught in a course that report cards ... the school

"don't give report cards 'bout three times a year, I think, or something' like
that. But anyway that by the time the child gets the report card the

grade really doesn't mean that much to them, and that you should give 'em the

grade, you know, they should know the grade they made immediately, you

know, after ...say, after they've taken .a test. And it seem like this

you know, and encourage 'em, you know, during the ... or after the test.

Show them what ...what ... how they're doin', what they're doin' right or

wrong, and this will ... this ... this stimulates them more, you know, to ...

fr the next test, to prepare for the next test.

B: Betty, would you mind tellin' us something about your home life, where you

were born, how you were brought up, whether you were well off or not, how

many children there were in your home, and so forth.

S: Well, I was born in Pembroke, I stayed ... I lived in Pembroke all of my

life, except for the six months after I married, we lived in Virginia, and

I've attended Pembroke Elementary School, I went to Pembroke Junior High

School, then I went to Pembroke College. So I've never attended another

school except Pembroke school. And we ... I was raised on a farm; there

was seven children in my home. And we lived the average ... we lived an

average ... And we ... we come from a middle-class family. But uh, we all

worked, naturally on a farm you have to work. Since this is your only way

of payin' bills and eatin' and this was our only income was the farm. But

my father also did ... does well-drilling and this added to the income. So



we lived a ... we had a pretty good life. We got most of the ... we got

what we needed and lots of things ... what we wanted. So I really can't

complain too much about my life at home. About doin' without things.

B: Were your parents very strict on you when you were coming up? You know,

we like to make comparisons about home life and I know that among our Indian

families sometimes they are pretty strict in bringing' up children--es-

pecially the girls.

S: Oh, yes. Especially my mother. I think she was really, a really strict person.

I mean when she ... when she gave the rule, ...she ... she meant for you

all to obey it, and you knew to obey it. Of course though we always ... we'

always honored our mother and father. They brought us up this way--to obey

'em. When they gave ... when they told us something' to do because they didn't

tell us to do things that they didn't expect us to do, so we knew to ... obey


B: In your studies of sociology I'm sure you've noticed there are different

types of families, different family forms, and among Lumbee Indians the

type of family form which seems to prevail is the patriarchal type family,

which means that the father is the absolute head of the family. Was this the

case in your home, Betty?

S: Yes. My father predominated the home. He did. But uh, naturally father

was working' most of the time, you know, in the fields or doin' well work,

and Mom -' gave the orders you know, of what was to do. And uh, we knew...

we knew to follow her orders. We ... this was ... drilled ... might as

well say drilled in our heads when we were youngsters, four or five years

old or even younger. She told us to obey her, do as she asked us to do.

And we knew to. Or else we would get spanked, but I really can't remember

many spankin's because Mother just raised us to listen to her, and we

knew she was right. She n4ver. ...she was a good Christian woman. She never



told us anything to do that was wrong.

B: Very good. I'm wondering about your dating patterns when you were coming up.

Uh, some of the Indian families have a habit, or maybe they're getting a

little away from it now but there used to be a very strict habit of calling

"bedtime" when the .... when the boy came to court the girl. Perhaps

they would call "bedtime" about nine o'clock or ten o'clock at the latest.

Did this ever happen to you Bett?

S: Yes, one time. I remember one incident of this. But uh, my father always

told me that twelve o'clock was time for any girl to be home, so I knew

by twelve o'clock I had to be home so there was no need for 'em to call

"bedtime" on me. 'Cause I was usually home and in the bed by twelve o'clock.

B: How 'bout your church life? Were you taught to go to church regularly on


S: Yes, we all attended church especially when Mother was living. My mother

died when I was in the eleventh grade. And she raised us to go to church.

We went to church every Sunday. As a matter of fact I can't remember mission'

a Sunday when I was at home. I've missed more Sundays without goin' to

church since I've been t married in these ten years than I did when I

was at home.

B: Betty, do you have any feelings toward Old Main at all or would you like

to express yourself in any ifSC toward Old Main?

S: Yes, when I attended college before Old Main was the ... one of the ... ?

Old Main was one of the four building's that courses was taught in and I

remember takin' Math, English, no, not Math, English, History, Speech,

and Geography. I remember takin' all four of these courses in this one

building. And ... Religion, Literature, I took all of these, courses in

this one buildin'--Old Main. That's besides other courses, I don't even

remember, you know, what I took. That was ten years ago. But um, I really



... I really enjoyed the ... really enjoyed taking classes in the building.

We had lots of pine trees then. And um, it was ... it wasn't air conditioned,

but it was rather comfortable me) It was. I don't know about the rest

of the students, 0 how they remember it, but I ... I really ... I really

love Old Main because it's just ... it's a symbol to me ... for our edu-

cation--for Indian education.

B: In the past few years the Indians have moved steadily towards more political

control and uh, they're also striving for better economic conditions. Do

you think any changes are taking place or can you recognize any improvement

that has been made along those lines?

S: Well, for one thing, Indians ...the Indians are speaking' for themselves now.

More than they have in the past. They're .i. they've ... they're beginning' to

stick together ... Wounded Knee is one example. I mean if you want something'

there's no way to get it if you don't ask for it, and I think they're really

beginning' to stand up, know, for their rights.

B: Do you think this is what we ought to do?

S: Yes. I do.

B: How 'bout methods of going about this, Betty? Do you think we should follow

the established channels as closely as possible or do you favor a little

militancy where it seems to be necessary?

S: Well, they're ... they're procedures to go about getting' anything. And

I think you should go through the right channels to get ... if you want some-

thin' did, I think you should go about it through the right channels. And

then if you go through the right channels and you don't get ... if you don't

get whatever you ... you're entitled to, or what you think you should get, then

uh, try some other way, but massive destruction or ... or riotin', some-

thin' like this, I ..don't ... I don't go along with this because I don't

think you should tear up other people's property. I don't want anybody


tearin' up mine. But uh, peaceful demonstrations, I think, they could

prove successful.

B: Betty, what is your church affiliation? Where do you usually go to church at?

S: Now I go to the Church of God in Pembroke.

B: Church of God in Pembroke. Who was it you married? Would you tell us

something about your husband's folks?

S: I married Herbert Sampson. He's the son of Libby and Leroy Sampson of


B: Uh, as I understand it, is he not a grandson of Mr. Herbert Lowry, a very

well-known policeman. I think he was policeman in Pembroke for about

thirty years/ is he ... was he not?

S: That's correct.

B: And I remember him very wellcause he had ... he had only one arm, but

he was one of the best policemen this county ever knew, don't you think?

S: Yes.

B: And um, most people liked him and respected him, and this is is his grand-

father; this is your husband's grandfather, isn't it?

S: That's correct.

B: Uh, do you have ... well, you've almost stated as much. You have some sen-

timental attachment then for Old Main?

S: Yes, I do.

B: And do you think this is true of most Indian students?

S: Yes, bec--, you remember when the petitions were goin' around to Save Old


B: Uh, huh.
S: I forgot how many names were signed, but anyway, Old Main was saved. Awas,

enough names on the petition to save it, is that correct?

B: Well, that certainly helped. It took lot more than petitions, but uh, there

were some ten thousand signatures on the petition as I recall in all. Uh,
/ 2,


what do you plan to do when you get out of ... when you get out of college

this year? Do you plan to teach next year here in the county system

S: Yes, I hope to.

B: Well, I certainly wish you greatest success, and uh, do you see...if you ...

I want to ask it this way .... if you could change anything about PSU, if

you had within your power to change anything at all out there what would you

change? Have you ever thought about that?

S: I ... well, maybe the entrance exam. This is ... I think this is one hold-

back to the Indian students. Maybe if we could ... maybe if we lowered the

... the score rating, you know, maybe more students would go to college. I

think this is one drawback that keeps them from goin'.

B: In as much as Indians did charter the institution, do you feel that they should

have special considerations in this respect?

S: Well, we ... we are a deprived race, and um, and like I say, farmin' is a

... is the main income, or has been until maybe three, four years ago, and

the fees ... academic fees are one problem for the Indians in the Pembroke

area. I think ... money problem, payin' their fees to go to school, and

the entrance exam, is two main holdbacks for the Indians here.

B: I take it then that you feel that this ... any alterations in these con-

nections would be greatly in favor of the Indians.

S: Yes.

B: Very good. Are you going to teach your children, or are you teaching and

bringing up your children in any significant ways, or in any ... any sig-

nificantly different ways than the ways that you were brought up or are

your teaching methods, your rearing methods primarily the same as your


S: Well, primarily yes. But I think I'm more lenient with my-, children

than my parents. I think I ... I let them get away with little things that

my parents wouldn't let me got away with.


B: There have been some complaints or at least some discussion about the popu-

lation problem. And people generally look at Indian families as bein' too

large. How do you feel about birth control? DO you think birth control

should be pracriced in the Indin community perhaps more than it has been in

the past?

S: I think so. I think ... we should try to control the population because

...you can look at the forest now, and even the ...what was farm land and

look at the houses that's goin' up on this land and to me pretty soon we

won't have enough land to have gardens for the family.

B: Um, huh. Very good. I'm wondering if ... if you think the university's

establishment here and its growth, do you think this is a good thing for the

Indian community, generally speaking?

S: Yes, I think ... I think it ... it helps.

B: How do you feel about the Indian pageant which is bein' planned? I don't

know how much you know about this but Randy Umberger is writing a script

called "Strike at the Wind" and the Robison County Drama Associaiton is going

to present ts historical drama in time. Do you think this will be a

plus thing for the Indian community?

S: Yes, I do.

B: We certainly hope that we'll have great success and great cooperation on

this because it has been in the planning stages for about three years or

more now. What do youthink we should do about this problem of double

voting which is in the news so : much today? Do you think we should try

to get that solved or do you have any ideas along those lines?

S: No, I don't like the idea.

B: In other words, Betty, you believe that the "one man, one 1 vote" principle

should prevail and you believe that representation ..."taxation without

representation" : is tyranny the same way that the Founders of the U. S.

Constitution felt? Is that right?


S: Yes, I think that each person should be allowed only one vote.

B: I certainly appreciate your taking this time to talk to me this morning.

I know how very busy you are. You're right now ready to prepare your

lesson plans for tomorrow and you do have to work very hard, and you've

been very kind to take this time out and give it to the Doris Duke Founda-

tion's Oral History Program, and we're very grateful. Are there any other

comments you'd like to make before we sign off.

S: No.

B: Well, in the interest of your preparation for your course tomorrow that

you've been hinting about, and I don't blame you, I ... will conclude

this tape at this point and I do want to thank you because you've been very

helpful and you've contributed much to the program, and thank you so much,


S: You're welcome.

B: Just as we concluded this interview Mr. Bill Paul came to 1 my home and told

me that Old Main was burning down. I left my home with him and went out to

the front of the building and learned that it has been burning since six

o'clock this morning. There were fire trucks there from at least five

fire departments throughout the county, but all the woodwork in Old Main

has gone up in smoke and all that's left are the bricks. This is a very

sad ... very sad situation. I understood from some talk on the campus

that in front of the burning building that it was set with early this

morning, or some time like this, it was set by some arsonist and that they'd

used fuel oil to ignite it. I don't know how true this is ut as we

watched, even the front part of the framework the wood work went ... went

down. We saw the front of the building, the fire come through the front of

the building through the letters "Pembroke State University". We saw the

fire come through, and the letters blacken and finally go up in flame as

we stood helplessly by while other people, hundreds of other people also


watched. I talked to Janie Maynor Locklear who is one of the key figures

in saving Old Main and she was also ...she was very much broken up about it.

.i also talked to Brenda Brooks sho was also instrumental along with me

and many other people in saving the building, and she was also very broken

up about it. I'm very broken up about it too. So I'll conclude this

tape at this point.


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