Title: Interview with Ricky Mitchell Barton (April 12, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007056/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Ricky Mitchell Barton (April 12, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: April 12, 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: UF00007056
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 66

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LUM 66A P 5
April 13, 1973

I: This is Lew Barton recording for the Doris Duke Foundation,, American

Indian History Program. Today is Friday. .

S: The thirteenth

I: Of April. I am in my home in Pembroke, North Carolina. Have you

I'm with Ricky Mitchell Barton who is a columnist on the Carolina

Indian Voice and Rick. what have you got to say about this day+-

Friday the thirteenth?

S: I should have stayed in bed. It's been a bad day all around.

I: How do you spell your name?

S: R-i-c-k-y M-i-t-c-h-e-l-l B-a-r-t-o-n. Ricky Mitchell Barton.

I: How old ae you now?

S: I'll be fourteen in September.

I: What is the name of your column?

S: "Would you Believe" by R.M. Barton.
M. .j pPe'
I: Why did you use R.V. Barton, why didn't you call yourselfnRick Barton

or Ricky Barton.

S: I sort of took after one of my favorite writers, L.N. Boyd. His real

name's Lloyd but hardly anybody knows his first name.

I: What sort of things do you like?

S: In what manner?


I: To write about. what do you how did you come about starting

your column?

S: Just messing around. Bruce said he needed some fillers when ^

first started.
I;: Bruce is the editor of the Carolina Indian #Bae -Bruce Barton?

S: Yeah, that's my big brother.

I: I see.

S: And he needed some fillers so I offered my services and I ended:

up like this.

I: Well, you always liked to read books of iaeiur.. encyclopedias and

things like that, didn't you?

S: Yeah.

I: Tell us about that time you told me about being in the library and

when you were really small.

S: About when I was in the fifth, sixth grade I went to the college

library ankad to. A esing around, A nothing

and I seen this hook of how the atomic bomb works so I got it. It

was about as big as I was and ge I sat down. I could feel about

twenty eyes staring right on me. I got out of that place.

I: They thought that was a little unusua1iomebody of your age to be

interested in something danced, I guess, right?

S: I guess everybody thinks I'm a little shrimp. Most people think

I'm about in the fifth grade. I'm in the eighth.

I: I s that because you're small in size, you dink?

S: Yeah.

I: How tall are you?


S: Four-eleven.

I: Four-eleven. How much do you weigh?

S: About eighty pounds.

I: You got any girlfriends?

S: rat the moment I'm working on it.

I: You're working on'* ea.

S: Yeah.
I: Well, are(the smallest boy in your family?

S: In height I rank about third smallest, but in weight I rank smallest.

I: Maybe you should eat more.

S: If I eat any more I will bust.

I: Food just doesn't seem to put the flesh on your bones, does it?

S: Well, I eat a lot but then I have to take P.E. and I'm on the gym-

nastic squad and doing all those stunts-.that'll give you an appetite

put it in and wear it off.

I: You get lots of exercise then.

S: That's right.

I: Are you mechanically inclined?

S: I don't mind working with the engines--Iatake them apart and put

them together.

I: You've got three bikes you've just about pieced together two of those,

at least, haven't you?

S: Yeah, I got one for Christmas and it wouldn't run fast enough so

I built two others--they can flyin a sense.

I: You don't have a copy of one of your columns, do you?

S: No, not here I don't think.

I: Rick, if you don't mind, how Aout reading one of your columns to
give our listeners andreaders an idea of what your columns are like.
give our listeners and readers an idea of what your columns are like.


S: Okay. The title is "Would you Believe, R. N. Barton. "Would you

believe butterflies tas their feet?"

I: Taste eir feet?

S: Yeah. "Each United States president can design his own presidential


"In the average lifetime the hart beats 2 1/2 billion times.;A sparrow

has twice as many vertebrae as a giraffe. At the age)Mozart began

writing music. Reindeers have six stomachs. Seven hundred languages

are spoken in India. The highest I.Q. known is 210 owned by a four-

year-old boy."

I: All these things are interesting and news:to me. Do you have anymore

in that column?

S: Not in this one. I usually put about six or seven in each column.

I: Did you learn anything about this boy of four years old wh could. ?

S: Well, he's a little Korean' boy--he's really four ymrs old--four months,

le can speak four languages. He is advanced in trigonometry and geometry,

he disproved one of Einstein's theories; he's real smart.

I: He sounds like it. And how high is the highest I.Q. known among men?

S: 210, .

I: 210.

S: It's that little Korean boy.

I: Do you Emember what your's is or did you ever take an I.Q. test?

S: I've never taken an I.Q. test. I'd like to know though, puzzling

ain't it?

I: What subject# do you like best in school?

S: English, P.E., literature, spelling, all.of them's all right to me.

I: Do they come easy?

S: Most of them except that new math.


I: I've heard some ether complaints about new math. Uh, what's the next

hardest one?

S: That's the only hard one I've got. all the other ones are real

easy. Advanced trigonometry and stuff like that gets to you. It's

sort of like mystery story. C -ra

I: How do you feel about sports? Are youq ively engage now?

S: I don't really like football, baseball, stuff like that but I like

swimming, and gymnastics, tuff like that.
Li4 e-r e |
I: As I recall, you e verylactive when you wre very much younger.

Didn't you break your arm one time?

S: Yeah, playing rzn'.

I: Playing arzan you missed the limb you were swinging to and

S: The limb sort of moved it-seemed-like. it wasn't in the place it

was supposed to be. And my arm got all twisted up.

I: iow old were you then?

S: I was about six or seven, starting in the second grade of school--

it was fun though didn't have to do 1 writing. I broke my right arm.

I: Well, do you have many friends in school?

S: I'd say so--they seem to be friends.

I: Are there people from other ethnic groups in your school?

S: Yeah, there's about part 1/4 Indian, about 1/4 white, about 1/4

Negrop, and 1/4 a little rixed in, all mixed up.

I: Well, do you have any problems there?

S: No, I get along with anybody.

I: And there doesn't seem tobe any resentment in your schai?

S: Not towards me there's ot. But some of the boys,asome of the white

boys) le of act snobbist--act like there better than us.


I: Which school do you go to right now, Rick?

S; Pembroke Junior High.

I: Pembroke Junior High. How about the girls?

S: Oh, they're all right. I'm particularly fo4Rd of a couple.

I: Is that right. how do they respond?

S: On, they're particularly fond of me.

I: Isn't that a little egotistical?

S: I guess so, tthat's life.

I: What do you plan to do when you grow up?

S: Fly an airplane.

I: You want to become an airplate-K pilot?

S: Yeah, that's always been my hihest ambition,

I: Have you decided on any particular kd of pilot Job you want?

S: I'd like to beTsort of like ove h was the Viet Nam War

fighters that go around picking up people and refugees. I'd like

to sort of hip out in some way.

I: You'd like to be a military job.

S: Sort of.

I: How about the airlines, have you thought of that?

S: Not especially. I could do without that I guess. Do you like sort

of gymnastical stuff?

I: Um, hum. What do you like gymastically speaking?

S: Just about everything's that's done. see today there's this guy about

6'2" we had to sort of put his hands on ht back and dive over him.

But he weren't ready when I started to come and he kind of stooped

down and I hit the floor instead of the mat. It's dangerous but if

you know what you're doing it's all right.

I: You have to have somebody you can depend on, too, don't you?


S: Yeah, but he weren't ready .I should have waited I guess, it's

sort of my fault.

I: Coordination is all important, there, isn't it?

S: Yeah, if you don't have the proper sense of balance and don't know

what you're doing, you're going to break your neck.

I: That's a little bit dangerous then?

S: If you don't know what you're doing it is, but us little guys not

too big, about 4'11", 4'10", stuff like that, under 5 w're small

enough that we can do it quickly and we don't get hurt but those

big guys they do it. they're kind of stiff IaAA. **

I: They're heavy too, aren't they?

S:l like the two rr where this guy gets down and holds onto your ankles1

6.4ayou Bold mto his and youd sort of flip over.

I: Did you really know anything about atoms when you were in the sixth

grade, you were checking out those big atomic books and stuff like


S: No, just got interested so 0 f.

I: You wanted to find out did you find out anyding?

S: Sort of--it's kind of hard to explain like the atom bomb and the tip

Ofit is. it works on nuclear fission. When the tip hits something,

it causes the atoms to rub against each other real quick and when they

do, it lets off energy and they have so much in it packed in it, it

just blows up.

I: Well, that sounds like you've simplified that pretty well. Do you

find tint Mii n1 A an Indian a problem?

S:Not in the least, I'm proud of my Indian heritage. I don't know

about other people, but if they don't want to be idian that's their

tough luck.



I: Ah, but do people, do people.treat you any differently because you're

an Indian ?

S: Not now they don't. Never have and I hope they never will. I don't

see one bit of difference between the races, they're all human beings.

Everybody should be treated alike, but some people think because our

skin's different from theirs that they're superior and we're inferior.

But I don't think that way. I think everybody should give a, have an

equal chance in everything.

I: And you don't think skin has anything to do with it?

S: No, ha, ah, I try not to be prejudice ah, but sometimes I guess I am.

I: Ah, do you...what, what would you call prejudice, what do you

think prejudice is?

S: Like if I see a Japanesse guy walking down the road, I start calling

him names cause he's different from me. I don't like him. That's what

I call prejudice. He's somebody different that you don't like, even

though you don't really know him personally.

I: Ah, so prejudice then means to prejudge AV' _'

S: Yeah.

I: Without all the facts, and ah, you've never, you've worked on that so

you won't be prejudiced

S: Well, I try not to be. But sometimes, if other people get sort of

snobbish, and they get you mad, then it's hard to hold back your temper.

I: Does ah, do you think you have an inferiority complex because I i

S: To tell you the truth I've got a superiority complex.

I: (laugh) I'm afraid I have to agree with you.

S: Cause I always try to do better than everybody. If I see somebody doing it,



S: ...and I can do it, and if they do it good, I'm going to do it better.

It's the way I've always been.

I: Well...that's a good spirit to have. Uh...how do you work out on the paper?

Uh...the Bartons, just about all of them are helping with that paper,

aren't they...The Carolina Indian Voice ?

S: Yeah. Bruce is the editor, and Connie, my sister, and Gary, my other brother,

they do most of the typing. And I go in there and clean up the mess, and sort

of help out with the typing.

I: Um huh.

S: We go in Mondays, and Vednesdays, and Fridays.

I: And...and you do...do your column I suppose?

S: Yeah...I am about four or five columns ahead now. I'm just taking it easy.

Sort of.

I: Ha, ha, ha...I need you on my team...because if you...sure gather up all the

facts. How do you find these unusual facts? I know you've rambled through the

Encyclopedia, and things like that...are magazines...do you do a lot of writing

...reading I mean?

S: Sort of. See, I got this book...uh...Rip ley's Believe it or Not, and if I

have to I use it. But usually, I've got three sets of Encyclopedias, I've got

old magazines, old newspapers...if I can't find them in there...you never

will. There's plentCy of them.

I: Well, when you use this Rip/ley material...what do you do? Put it in your own


S: Yeah. I don't want to get sued...have to keep things in my style, and my




S: ...writing. Just sort of switch it around.

I: Uh huh. Do you...you haven't run out of material yet?

S: No.

I: How much do you think you've got, to keep going?

S: About three years...more than...more or less.

I: Oh really?

S: I got enough stuff to keep us going. As long as the paper lasts, I will.
I: Ha, ha, ha...that does sound like a superiority complex. Uy...how is the

paper doing? Do you think uh;..it's growing?

S: Yes. See, there's about five...six hundred subscribers. But just think, the

Rob7sonian 's been in business a hundred years, and it only has seven

thousand subscribers. So I think we're doing pretty good.

It And uh...how do people respond to it...or did you know about that?

S: When we first come out, most everybody said, Wellthey ain't going to last

two months. They ain't no good. That's what they thought of us. So we had to
prove to them, and ourselves, that we were as good as the Rob/sonian, if

not better.

I: And you think you're as good asthe Robjsonian...which comes out every day

in Columbia of course?

S: Yeah. Yeah, but you see they got a bigger staff...we just got about...myself,

Bruce, Gary, and Connie.

I: Is Gary the cartoonist?

S: Yeah. He's uh...writes these little...quirks like, to get you to subscribe

to The Carolina Indian Voice.

I: Um huh.




S: He's a artist.

I: And do you think people are warming up to you now?

S: Yeah...most of them. Everybody...they see the paper, and they say, "Well, this

is good. I believe I'll buy it."

I: Um huh. Well, I...once in awhile...well, I try to get one article in each

week. I missed this week, because I was tied up with something else.

S: I think the best articles are on page two...the editorials.

I: Yeah.

S: See, that's where my column is.

I: Oh yeah...How does Bruce do in editorializing do you think?

S: He's pretty good. Most people are sending in a lot of stuff. It's kind of

hard to keep up with it. See...sometimes we've got these machines...headliners,

and typewriters. And the headliner 's not...some of the parts are missing.

Two or three screws are missing, and it takes about two hours to get one

headline out.

I: Um huh.

S: And that'll kind of slow you down.Go about twelve o'clock just getting the

headlines out. SO we use old headlines...cutting out the letters.

I; Uh huh. Do you uh...use your own...do you set your own type? I mean do you...

S: No...

I: Do you do your own page and even the ends up?

S: We...we do the uh...we type it out, and put it on these...sort of big sheets.

I: Uh huh...so you do your own composition? Who does that...Bruce?




S: Yeah...Bruce and Connie. And then they take it to this printing company.

I believe in uh...Red Springs...I think. They print it up.

I: They just photograph it and print it the way you've got it...right?

S: Right.

I: Um huh. Well it sounds very fascinating. Uh...can you think of unus...any

unusual problems you've had since this started?

S: Yeah. When it rains...we've got in the hall,tthis light, we didn't have it

turned on, but rain was leaking off it...

I: Um huh.

S: And the light was onl So we unplugged it, and it was still on. We couldn't

get it off. We had to wait 'till it quit raining.

I: In other words the electricity was flowing through the water to your light?

S: Yeah.

I: Keeping it going?

S: That's the way it seemed it was kind of doing. Water 's not a real good

conductor of electricity...it's not really.

I: Is that right?

S: See, we did this experiment with a light. A cord with two...we took one end

and stuck it in water, and another in, and the light wouldn't come on. We

didn't have a base. So we poured salt in there as a base, and it came...the

light came on.

I: Now that made it a better conductor of electricity?

S: Yeah. But don't worry...you stick your hand in something with electricity, and

I'll guarantee you'll get shocked.




I: Well, suppose you...suppose I touch one side of that line at a time up

there, would it shock me?

S: What do you mean?

I: Well, you know, a line has two...

S: Yeah?

I: ...two wires. Suppose I touch one of those wires...one by one...and I'm not

grounded...would I get a shock?

S: More than likely. I think you would.

I: On a hundred and ten volts.

S: Yeah. What would you rather get struck by...a hundred and ten, or about

three hundred?

I: I don't care to be hit by any of it. Now I don't want...what makes the

shock is electricity flowing through you...uh...I was sort of uh...uh...put-

ting you on a limb there I guess...about the electricity. Uh...a hundred and

ten wouldn't shock you if you touched just one wire at a time.

S: Wouldn't it? I thought it would.

I: You could put that in your column. That's why a bird can sit on one wire,

and it doesn't electrocute him. But if he touched two of those wires, he'd

make himself a conductor, and the electricity would flow through him.

S: Yeah...but if you get struck by about a hundred and fifty volts of electricity,

then it won't knock you back...it'll hold you there, and it'll just shock

you to death. But about three hundred...see, if you hit it, it'll knock you

back...it'll burn your hand.

I: I ------ with you...have you checked those facts

out, or are they facts...do you know they're facts?




S: Well, that's an old saying I've heard. A lot of electricians have told me

that. There's this guy...he's a...he came to the school house showing us

how the phone works, and stuff like that...and he told us that. So I

guess he'd know, but I'm not going to grab some wire to find out.

I: Well, here's one interesting fact...before we were born...you have a


S: I knew that.

I: And that's one you could put in your column. Most people don't know that.

S: Yeah, but when you're born, see, the meat sort of I guess covers it up,

or it dissolves.

I: It dissolves before you're born, doesn't it?

S: I guess so.

I: What subjects, when you're doing research...after you dig up your material,

what subjects do you like? Do you have any particular subjects?

S: When I'm hunting something, I usually go back to customs...ancient customs,

and stuff. Might be...such and such is superstitious about one thing,

and like the British seamen, they were a scared to go sailing on Friday.

So the British officers in the government, they were going to prove how

stupid they were. So they made this boat, they played the keel on Friday,

they built the hull on Friday, and they launched it on Friday, and they

named it the Friday. And the crew nor the ship was ever heard of again.

I: Ha, ha...so that superstition didn't pan out did it?

S: No...only it might be true.

I: Roy...do you think you're superstitious?




S: as. to

I: Do you think most Lumbee Indians are superstitious?

S: Some of them are...couldn't say most of them. A lot of old people are.

Scared of what's called 'bugers', and stuff like that. "Haints."

I: And totems.

S: Yeah.

I: Do you know what a totem is?

S: A book I reckon.

I: Well...uh...it seems to me that you've got a ticklish position to maintain,

editorially, on the paper, and of course I'm not expecting you to.be up

with Bruce on this, because that's his department.

S: Yes...sort of, but ....

I: ---------'-'--- I wanted to ask you...you know we have two factions

among our people besides the Lumbees...we have the...uh...we have the so-

called Tuscarora Indian... I j

S: Yeah... a+ C^ Ir J^i \c^Ip Or

I: And we have the ECIO IndiansA..they're Tuscarora too, but they've...one

is a branch of the other. And so uh...right now, all the Tuscaroras are

soured on the main Lumbee...it seems. And uh...so you have to write about

Lumbees, and you have to write about Tuscaroras, and so isn't that a very

ticklish position for a paper?

S: Sort of, but it's like this...if there's...if I'm...like I was a Souw",

which I'm not...and there's this Cherokee guy says, "Well, I don't like




S: ...your name." Well, see, I ain't going to change my name just because he

don't like it. If he don't like it...that's just tough. Let him live with

his name, and let me live with mine.

I: Um huh...so you...you don't think much of the controversy over names?

S: No. One name is as good as another I guess. I'm just proud to be a

Lumbee, and they should be proud to be a Tuscorora. They shouldn't be

trying to rub off something of them on us. They are they, and I am I.

I: Well, that's uh...do you ever...does the paper ever get in to any hot

water because of this. They do have to print both sides of the news.

S: Well, so far we're doing all right. Haven't had'any nasty letters so far

I don't think.

I: But you did get a window knocked out there once didn't you?

S: Yeah. See,. there's.. .I believe there's sort of two groups of Tuscaroras.

There's one group that-4l Brooks leads, and they're sort of apm and

violent. And the other group...I don't know who leads it, but you don't

hear much from them. And-9i4e Brook's people come by one night...uh...

waving in truck loads, and cursing, and swearing, and all this. And

somebody gave a rock a good size tote...toss...and knocked out a good

size window.

I: In The Carolina Indian Voice?

S: Yeah...at the office.

I: Wonder why the Indians are against Indians...that...does that make sense

to you?

S: Not really...it seems to me that if the Indians would stick together, they




S: ...could get some things better for them, but the thing is, the Indians

will fight the Indians, because one Indian don't like the views of another.

So they just fight 'til.there won't be any more Indians, and the white

man is going to have peace.

I: That's a short and crisp analysis I guess. Uh...do you think Bruce is

brave enough to face up to all this unrest, and struggling amongst the


S: So far. He's not a coward, what you might say, but what's the difference

between a coward and a hero. It depends on the circumstances. If I was

walking down the road with a girl, and about two or three boys about

twice as big as me got to picking on us...I'd just turn around and walk

the other way. Would that make me a coward?

I: No...I wouldn't say so.

S: But see if I'm walking down there, and somebody about my size, and about

one of them...see that way the circumstances are different, and the other

way, I'm out-numbered, I'm out-sized, and I!m not crazy.

I: Well it would be crazy to fight a group that big...wouldn't it?

S: It'd be sort of heroic I guess, but it'd be.ldumb;. *

I: Um huh...there's a thin line I guess between foolhardiness and heroism.

Is that what you're saying?

S: Sort of...in a word...yes.

I: So it all depends on the point of view?

S: Yeah...and the circumstances.




I: Well uh...do you think people are uh...begining to have more confidence
in the paper?

S: Yeah. When we first came out, you see we went to get some ads. They help

pay for the production and everything, and light bills and stuff. And

this one paper...this news...uh...but I won't mention any names...but

anyway....they said that they wouldn't buy an ad 'til they seen the

paper. So we had to do without them, and go around until we got enough

ads and stuff...to make us a good size paper. So then when we took it to

them...they did get a ad.

I: You saved them sort of for last...is that right?

S: Have to...'cause if...can't just waste my time by all day sitting here

trying to argue with you to buy a ad, wheh I can be around talking to

other...few willing people.

I: Uh huh...then you help sell the ads?

S: Well...

I: Of course that is the life blood of the paper isn't it?

S: Really it is, because...if we didn't have the ads you see...we couldn't

get the printing done. That's the...really the only income we have so

far. But if we keep expanding....

I: Except your subscriptions of course.

S: Yeah but...they...five dollars and twenty cent a year see...that's not

much...'cause five dollars don't last long these days. And you see, there's,

I believe there's three different stock holders.

I: Do you know who they are?

S: I believe Bruce has four shares...I think. Howard has about...Howard




S: ...and Brenda, his wife, I believe they have three, and Carlin has one.

I believe it's like that.

I: That's Howard and Brenda Brooks, and Carlin...what's his last name?

S: Yeah. Carlin Cummings.

I: C-u-m-m-i-n-g-s?

S: He works at...with The Pine Needle in the college, so he knows how to get

things lined up and everything. So he comes around when the going gets

tough, and sort of pulls us out of the mud.

I: Uh...so the Barton kids are having a ball with The Carolina Indian Voice

it sounds like, 1W,_ ?

S: Yeah...so far. So far we're doing all right, but see, where the office is,

there's a few college kids...it was divided into two places in the back,

and they kind of messed it up, but we took over that, and we're going to

try to change it in to...we'll have more office space...

I: Um huh.

S: But it's kind of messed up back there. There's all kind of signs painted

all over the place. If we ever get it sort of straightened up, and get

expanded big enough... We started off with four pages, then we went to

two because we had enough stuff. We're thinking about going to eight some

time in the near future...or we hope to.

I: Um huh. You mean you started with four pages, and you went to...?

S: Six.

I: Six. You........you said four...well...

S: Oh, did I...excuse me.




I: And then you've gone to eight?

S: We're planing to go to eight.

I: You're planing to go to eight...I see. And uh do people give you...uh...stop

in and talk to the paper, and tell you the way they'd like it to be running?

S: Well, I wouldn't know about that, but Bruce would. See he's the editor, and

he's the boss man.

I: Well, what kind of editor would you call him...pretty hard boiled boss, or...?

S: No...he was a easy going I guess. He don't rush anything. See, since it only

comes out once a week I have plenty of time to write my article, clean up,

help out with typing, do whatever...he's all right, he knows what he's


I: Your sister Connie...this is Mrs. John Brayboy...right?

S: Yeah.

I: B-r-a-y-b-o-y. And she enjoys it too?

St I guess she does, $he does...if she enjoys it a lot...she helps out...

I believe all the Bartons sort of...like it's sort of like a challenge to

face up to the Robesonian. They've been going a hundred years...come out

everyday. And we look like a little puny kid coming along...coming out

once a week.

I: Um huh.

S: And if you'll notice, since we've been coming out, the Robesonian has sort

of been putting more Indian stuff in their paper.

I: Is that right? Well, that's kind of like the uh...elephant and the ant,

sort of, isn't it?




S: Yeah.

I: Sort of like the ant said to the elephant..."Let's not step on each other

big boy."

S: Yeah...they could sort of smother us I guess if they really wanted to.

But we haven't did anything to hurt them so far.

I: Is that right?

S: But when we get big enough all the -------say what's going to happen.

I: Do you ever...does Bruce ever criticize them editorially?

S: No. See, he thinks that if we watch them, and see we might be able to

learn something from them.

I: Oh ho...that's a good way do to a thing I guess.

S: You can't pretend they're not there, because they are. Have to face up to


I: And you say they have seven thousand subscribers?

S: Yeah, I believe so, but they've been going a hundred years. We've just been

going since January...we've got about five hundred...so we're catching."

I; Well, that...that's good, considering how news-papers get off to a start,

because people are suspicious of new newspapers. I think you're doing

extremely well. I understand that the governor of this state is also a

subscriber to your paper. Is that true?

S: I believe so. I'm not sure)see. We got this thing we have to put labels

on the paper and send them out.

I: Um huh.

S: See, you don't have time to read them, and set there, because you have to




S: ...do it fast, so you can get over with... But I believe it's him.

I: Yeah. Bruce told me this. Uh...how big do you think the paper will

eventually get...in subscribers and so on?

S: Well, I...we was hoping on getting a thousand subscribers. See that would

be five thousand dollars right there, just in the subscribers.

I: That would be five thousand dollars...five thousand dollars in subscriptions


S: Yeah...and see then if we get enough expansion, and get about twenty pages

maybe some day...

I: Um huh.

S: See, then it'll be a bigger and.better newsCpaper, and people will want,

sort of keep them on there terms where they want to come and buy the next

page or so.

li Well I guess Bruce is about the hardest working one on the staff...wouldn't

you say?

S: Well, I don't know, he gets sort of frustrated sometimes. He don't

understand some things, and the r------ -see he knows how to paste

the things on, but he's kind of slow, and Bruce can't do it. He don't...he

doesn't understand how.

I: Is he learning?

S: Yeah, everybody is learning some ng new out there.

I: Sounds exciting.

S: It's all right.




I: Do you think that all of you...you'll eventually iron out all your

problems then?

S: I hope so. If we're lucky we will.

I: And you're in junior high this year...uh...and you already said you want

to be...

S: An air plane pilot.

I: An air plane pilot. And uh...do you have any hobbies?

S: Just reading, and...right now see...over there at the house...there's this

housing project, and I can go,over there and get the scrap wood they don't

use. And I sort of make little dog houses, play boxes, and stuff. It's

sort of like carpentry...sort of helps cool off your anger.

I: Um huh. Sort of work off your frustrations huh?

S: Yeah.

I: By the way you uh., ..at one time you were very much interested in Siamese



LUM 66A End of Side 1 Bridges


I: Have you got any now?

S: Just one but, see, we won't be able to raise one 'cause we had to

get her spaced because she kept going out with tom cats and we

couldn't afford to keep-

I; Uh huh. 7 that word is "spayed" s-p-a-y-e-d.

S: Yeah, maybe. I can't pronounce it I don't think.

I: Why did--I noticed that a newspaper carried a story about you and

your cats once. It carried your picture with the cats. Now you

love all animals or just cats?

S: I love anything. Animals, cats, dogs, just about anything. See,

between me and animals there's a sort of understanding I guess.

And I get along pretty well with animals, and they get along well

with me.

I: Uh huh. How about your swimming in the summertime? Do you go

swimming in the Lumbee?

S: I go swimming at Trussel, at the Five Lakes, Martha Lee's--that's

the Lumbee.

I: Uh huh, All that's on the river, isn't it?

S: Yeah, except Five Lakes. That's just sort of like a great big pond

where they dug out to get some sand.

I: Oh yeah.

S: And the rain filled it up.

I: Oh.

S: The deepest part is probably about five foot deep so you don't have

to worry about stepping in holes or nothing. And it's all sandy

bottom. It's a nice place out there.

I: How about fishing? Somehow you never did get started fishing much yet.

LUM 66A Bridges


S: I never been fishing in my life. I wouldn't mind it--do it Tom

Sawyer style. Just cock your leg up and stick your pole between

your toes and grab a book. When you feel something wiggling

all you got to do is pull it in.

I: Put your book down and pull your fish in.

S: Yeah.

I: It sounds relaxing.

S: I might do it some of these days.

I: Did you--have you got any idea as to how many books you've read?

S: Well, that's just about asking like how many stars are in the sky.

It's hard to say, but this year we had to do twenty-seven book

reports the whole year.

I: Uh huh,

S: And I finished mine before Christmas.

I: Uh huh. That's good. Well, what makes you like to read these

things? Do you--have you ever really thought about why you like

to read?

S: Well, it's interesting, entertainment. It keeps your mind busy.

See, you have to keep your mind and body alert and strong because

if you don't you're going to get slow and sluggish. And I don't

want to be like that.

I: Didn't you almost drown in the river once?

S: Yeah, but I guess that was my fault. I was kind of careless--just

walking out there. And they had been digging for sand. That's a

common practice now. It's a cheap way to get it, and the river

land's public.

I: Uh huh.

LUM 66A Bridges


S: So I was out there walking out there, and they told me to watch

out for holes, you know. I wasn't paying it no attention. I was

out there just having a good time. And the water was about up to

my waist, and all of a sudden the water was above my head.

I: And you couldn't swim then. Have you learned to swim?

S: Yeah, I learned to swim last summer, and I haven't been swimming

but once this year but I reckon I can still swim.

I: Oh, gosh. You've been already this year and this is just April.

S: Yeah.

I: Was it chilly?

S: No, it was real warm that day. It was one of those scorchers sort

of. It was hot enough to go. It was sort of, you know, now were

having hot spells and cold spells. It was during a hot spell.

I; Well, there's a little controversy about the name of the river,

too. Some people say the Indians called it Lumbee. Other people

called it Lumber Have you got any ideas on that?

S: Well, it really doesn't matter to me because a river's a river.

And I believe that the Lunbee or Lunber or whatever is supposed to

be the crookedest river in North Carolina or the United States, one.

See, it comes in one side of the state, curves and crooks and twists

and goes back the other side. It has to make a complete circle.

I: Are you talking about the county or the state?

S: I'm not sure which it is, but it's a pretty crooked river.

I: Well, it sure is.

S: And stumpy and snaky.

I: This is supposed to be the only county in North Carolina that has

LUM 66A Bridges


I: alligators.

S: Yeah, the--about a year ago in the Robinsonian there was this

picture of these two little boys. They had caught and tied up a


I: They had caught one.

S: And tied him up. I don't know if I'd want to try that.

I: Were they Indian boys?

S: It didn't say. I believe they were white, though.

I: Uh huh. So they must be pretty plentiful around here in the


S: I reckon so, but the only time I ever go in the swamps, you know,

just go out there looking. It's sort of pleasant out there in

the swamp. As long as you know what you're doing.

I: How about boating? Do you like to go boat riding?

S: Yeah, it's all right, but just let me get out there in the deep

part and dive off and swim around some. I wouldn't go and get in

a boat and just set there and ride on top of the water while I

could be in the water. It's a big difference.

I: I guess you just never had a chance to really learn to fish.

S: No. Nobody in our family ever went fishing that I know of.

I: Well, I'll tell you the truth, the reason I don't go fishing is

because I don't have anyA If I go with anybody who is lucky, they

don't--they're not lucky anymore so--so maybe that's why.

S: Well, maybe you go when the fish aren't biting.

I: So maybe that's not very hafdy either, is it?

S: I don't know.

I: 'Cause Indians are supposed to like to go fishing and swimming.

LUM 66A Bridges


S: There's an old saying that an Indian can walk through the woods

without, you know, being scared of snakes. Do you believe that?

I: I don't know. What do you think about it?

S: Well, I don't know, but we was walking down the side of a ditch

bank and there was a rattler somebody had run over part of its

body. And I'm a Indian--maybe he thought I was white or something,

but he sure hissed at me. I wouldn't want to mess around with it.

I: So you're saying, then, this is perhaps just another superstition,


S: Yeah, maybe so.

I: I think the Indians respect, generally speaking, respect snakes.

And they know the ones, usually, which are poisonous and know the

ones which are not.

S: I believe the only poisonous snakes in North Carolina are the

rattles and the copperhead and the adler, I think. There might

be a--yeah, and the mocassin. He's pretty plentiful around here.

I: Is that the water mocassin?

S: Yeah, there's plenty of snakes--plenty of green snakes. You don't

have to worry about them. If they bite you, it just sting a little


I: Well, the Indians say that the mocassin is the only snake that can

bite you under water. Have you heard that?

S: A mocassin can't bite you under water.

I: He can't?

S: Well, he can open his mouth, but he'd get drowned.

I: Is that right?

S: See, snakes sort of have in their throat they don't have nothing

LUM 66A Bridges


S: to block it off so a snake can--really doesn't have to eat but

once a year. They unhinge their jaws and they can swallow an

animal way bigger than them, and they just digest it real slow.

I: Uh huh.

S: They have a slow metabolism rate.

I: Is this a certain kind of snake or just any snake?

S; I believe it's a python, I think.

I: Uh huh. How about a chicken snake?

S: A granny snake--well, you don't have to worry about them. That's as long

as you keep out of your chicken coop, I reckon. 0o k( o>

sort of r animals.

I: Uh huh. Did you say you have how many siamese cats now?

S: Just one. We had about---

End of Side 1--LUM 66A

LUM 66A Side 2 Bridges


I: How many siamese cats do you have now, Rick?

S: I just got one, but we had about four or five, I guess. We had

Snoopy and Rusty and we still got Frisky and Blanch. That's

about all--and Sissy.

I: Uh huh. I think you told me once that they had personalities.

Each cat--each Siamese cat has a personality of his own.

S; Well, they do, really, because Snoopy hissed on one of those

lonely type people.

I; Uh huh.

S: And he didn't mind your rubbing. He just didn't get--don't get

carried with it, 'cause right then he'd just peacably get up and

walk away.

I: He didn't like it too much, did he?

S: No, he didn't--I guess he didn't really care for it, but now Frisky,

she's totally different. She'll come up to you, jump in your lap,

get to purring all around you. She loves for you to rub her.

I: She's more affectionate then than the other cat. What was his name?

S: Snoopy. No, not more affectionate. She just likes to be rubbed.

Now Snoopy, he's sort of like a dog. He's real sort of--he's sort

of like a one-man dog, but he's a cat.

I: Uh huh. Let's see, in other words there was just one person that

he liked to fool around.

S: Yeah.

I: And nobody else. I've heard people say that cats can swim. Do you

believe this or do you know anything about that?

S: A cat can swim and the only time--see, a cat don't like to get a

fur wet. Any cat, they--cats sort of like to keep neat and clean.

LUM 66A Bridges


S: I guess it's below their dignity to get in the water, but if they

really had to, they could get in there and swim like a duck I

reckon. They're good swimmers.

I: This is something strange, too, for your column, isn't it?

S; No, I guess everybody knows cats can swim, I guess.

I: No, I don't think so, Rick. Not many people know that.

S: Which animal do you think is the strongest swimmer?

I: Oh, Im not sure at all. Do you know?

S; A polar bear. He swims with his front paws and uses his back legs

as rudders.

I: Is that right?

S: He's real strong.

I: Does he swim upstream or downstream?

S: He swims in the ocean. There ain't no rivers over there in the

Antarctic. They all froze. He's a pretty good swimmer, though.

And strong and healthy--bigger than a grizzly bear.

I: Okay. Well, what do you think about politics? Have you got any

ideas about politics? Who's your favorite politician?

S: Right now, well, in the last election I wouldn't have voted for

neither one myself 'cause neither one had a good argument on their

side. Neither one had anything about stopping the war. But now,

McGovern got carried away, see. He was like Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson said that the only way to keep peace was have a

small army where people wouldn't be afraid of you. And he was

going to just about wipe out the whole Armed Forces, but then

like Washington said, "To preserve peace, one must have strong

power." And if he would have did that, then Russia--we'd have

LUM 66A Bridges


S: been easy prey. And right now I believe Russia could whip us easy.

I: That's certainly an interesting thought. Now I believe Andrew

Jackson said, "Speak softly and carry a big steak," too, didn't

he? He's another one who advocated strong forces.

S: Yeah.

I: How about the war in Vietnam? It's over now supposedly.

S: Supposed to be, but I don't know. Things are pretty hot over

there. See, neither side wants to give in, and the communists,

see, they got plenty of time. The first weeks of negotiations,

I believe, was on what kind of table they were going to use in

the negotiations. So a communist, see they know they're spreading.

And so they really got the advantage, and they're not scared I

don't guess.

I: Well, do you think we made a mistake to get in that war in Asia?

S: No, I believe if you want to help somebody that you should help

him. And see, I'm not a communist but if somebody wants to start

a new religion or something, let them. Don't try to stop them.

Just let them do what they want to do and you do what they) want

to do. But now when they get to pushing around little guys--

little countries and you're friendly with the little country. And

he helped--that country's asked you to help and you know you could,

you should help them because each country should have the right

to decide for their own self what kind of government they want

and all this. Don't want to have another Hitler.

I: Uh huh. Well, now Gary is good at drawing things and doing cartoon

work. Have you ever tried your hand at that?

S: Well, I guess I--the most things I ever draw is cars and trucks,

LUM 66A Bridges


S: you see. I'm sort of fond of fast cars and motorcycles and stuff

like that. It's kind of hard for me to draw people, but nowadays

they have this abstract art. I think that's a bunch of baloney


I: Why?

S: Have you ever seen one of their pictures? It's kind of odd to me.

I: It looks like a splash of paint against the wall or something?

S: Yeah, it seems like I could do that--just get a handful of something

and just splash a couple of handfuls of different colors on there

and you got it. That's like some of it looks. And I've seen one

picture by Jean Augsendine. It sold for $500.00, and it was just

a bunch of chicks.

I: Uh huh. 'And this Jean Augsendine is a Lumbee Indian?

S: Yeah, he's a artist. He painted in our gym--the name of the team

is Mustangs. And he has blue mustang up there snorting around.

I: Uh huh.

S: But he's a pretty good artist.
I: Well, yo4 not old enough, I guess, to think much about Old Mane

and things like that--problems that the Indians have politically

and otherwise, sociological problems or maybe I shouldn't say that

because now you've surprised me pretty often. What do you think

of Old Mane and--

S: Well, it seems to me that when they did fight for it and got it,

they should have did what they was going to do then. But they

just let it sit there. They have no trespassing signs all over the

place. If they're going to make it into a museum, why don't they do it?

LUM 66A Bridges


I: Well,--

S: It's just sitting there and rotting. Some of the pillars before

it got burnt down, the termites had eaten one of them up.

I: Uh huh. And that was the woodwork.

S: Yeah.

I: Well, I've heard somebody say that whoever burned down Old Mane--

that it just gutted the woodwork. That they had to put new woodwork

in it anyway, and perhaps they did them a favor. Do you think that way?

S: Yeah, sort of, but those bricks--some of them the mortar's cracked.

And when it gets cracked, see, it's not strong. And you can tear

it down real easy. Some of those walls are kind of shaky.

I: Were you sentimentally attached to Old Mane.

S: Well, I wish they could have saved it and preserved it, but now

they got it burnt up and nobody's doing'anything about it. The

Indians say, "'hell, don't mess with it. We're going to preserve

it. We're going to do this. We're going to do that." They just

have a big mouth, and they're all talk and no action--some of them.

I: Huh. How'about other problems among the Indians? Have you ever

thought about the Indians having problems?

S: Yeah, we've got plenty of problems like they want to--a few years

back--well, it might be still going on, but they kept taking like

they'd take me and send me to. a school miles away while there's

one right behind our house sort of.

[The missing part of Side 2 ends here and picks up on Page 24 at this




S: They take a -------- district -------- Red Springs,

and Lumberton. They want to get the Indians and whites and coloreds all

mixed up together. But...a person should be able to go to a school of his

choice. And if there's too many in one school...just tell them to go to

another school because they don't have any room.

I: Um huh. So you don't object to going with white and colored)do you?

S: You mean a white person goin a colored person" .

I: Uh uh...I mean going to the same school with white and colored children...


S: No, I don't mind it. All people are people a ---------------------acts

like they've got a little bit of sense.

I: But you think a person should be free to send his children where he wants


S: Yeah, if he can afford it, and nobody else objects. I don't see why they


I: Um huh. Who's your favorite character in history?

S: In history?

I: Um huh...your very favorite.

S: Kind of hard to say. I say Crazy Horse.

I: Crazy Horse.

S: Yeah...he was named after his father, you know, sort of, but...it's kind

of...his father was Crazy Horse...was a medicine man...so one day they

were...he was a little novice...a novious, or something like that...and

.they were trying to break some raw mustangs, and he jumped on ones neck.




S: And he just did hold on, and they thought the horse had went foolish,

so they said he can ride a crazy horse, and that's how he got his name.

That's one version. There's another version that says...he had this

dream about wearing a...having a blue eagle...so he took a eagle and

painted it blue...stuffed it and wore it in his hair, and he went into

this place, and they had this real bad battle...and he just did make it.

Then when he got back they psuedqgamed him,,tha after his father.

I: Um huh.

S: So the facts are hard to get really. It depends on who's writing and how

they want it to come out.

I: I wonder what he's remembered most for?

S: Crazy Horse?

I: Um huh.

S: His fighting ability)I guess.

I: What do you think of uh...the Lumbee hero, Henry Barry Lowery?

S: Well, he was tough. He had a...see he had sense, horse sense, and he knew

the swamp...and he was sort of like a backs wood Daniel Boone.

I: Um huh.

S: He knew all the trails and everything...cause whoever got after him he

better know which way is north, and which way is south because you'd get

all lost. Cause out in those swamps...it's so dark you can't hardly tell

where the sun is at. And unless you know a little about woods and stuff.

You can get out there in the middle and say,;,"Mow which way do I go from

here?" You'd go one way, and homes in the other.




I: Do you think he did his people good...did good for his people?

S: Well, sort of...but...I guess he...he did what he thought he should do,

but other people think he did wrong, you know.

I: Um huh.

S: In avenging his father and brother's death. But I don't know...I'd sort of

like to know whatever happened to him myself.

I: Um huh...nobody has ever collected the reward on him have they?

S: No. I guess if you could find his body and dig it up, and prove that it

was his...you probably could get the money. But the thing is the Indians

around here won't-tell you. Either wise they don't know, or they won't...don't

want you to know. If you ever found out, and you were to tell...to the

police or somebody...you'd be sort of like an outcast...really.

I: They wouldn't have anything to do with youT

S: No I don't believe they would...cause that's sort of like a old hero around

here. Like Daniel Boone...and once you get there messing with somebody's idols,

then that's just itybea-y...you better look out.

I: Well, Rick, this has been an interesting interview, and I...I guess a lot of

people will be reading this...or hearing this. I'm wondering if you have any

message, or any advice, or anything you'd like to give to young people about

your age?

S: Well, there's an old saying, "If you want to do something...do it best." So

if you just shoot for the stars...and maybe you'll hit the moon.

I: That's good advice. Rick, do you remember the story about Aladin and His Magic


S: Yeah.




I: If you could rub a magic lamp, and you would have the power to change

anything about Robeson County...what would you change?

S: Well, that's sort of a hard question...cause there's a lot of things that

needed...need changing around here. Really, if '-could...I'd go around, and

all these...ever seen some of these old houses people live in?

I: Uh huh.

S: I mean no electricity, no running water...I'd give them a brick home, couple

acres of land, cows, horses, I'd give them something to live off of, and I'd

...see, I'm sort of sympathetic...I don't like to see anybody suffer.

I: Um huh.

S: But most people...they just...in 1929 this...this guy got trapped in a cave.

And a bunch of people crowded around there to see him die. See, a bunch of

people like to see somebody else get hurt. See, most people they don't want

you to die, but if you're going to die or get killed, they want to be there

when it happens. See, but I'm not like that...if I want to...if I could

change anything...I'd change most people's suffering around here...because

-aeHs we-- County --------- a hundred county in the North Carolina,

ranked somewhere around...way low...about bottom...about ninetieth, or

ninety eighth...or something like that...we're real low.

I: And you'd do something then about the economic conditions?

S: Yeah..,and help people out if I could.

I: Um huh...well, that's great. Well Rick, I want to thank you for this interview,

it's been most interesting, and uh...I'm sure appreciate it.

S: Well I enjoyed it.

I; Thank you so much now. ot' END OF INTERVIEW

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