Title: Interview with Mrs. A. R. Godfrey (August 3, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007122/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Mrs. A. R. Godfrey (August 3, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: August 3, 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: UF00007122
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 135

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Full Text


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behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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LUM 135A

Mrs. A. R. Godfrey (G)
Charlotte, North Carolina

Interviewer: Lew Barton (I)
August 2, 1973

Typed by: P. F. Williams

I: This is August 2, 1973. I'm Lew Barton recording for

the University of Florida's History Department and for

the Doris Duke Foundation on their American Indian

Oral History Program. Today I am in Charlotte, North

Carolina, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Godfrey,

and Mrs. Godfrey has kindly consented to give me an

interview. Mrs. Godfrey, would you tell us a little

something about yourself and your family?

G: My name is 6SA y Godfrey. I was formerly O _4.

Barton. I have three children: a daughter twenty-

nine years old, a son twenty-five years old, and a

nineteen-year-old daughter.

I: Would you give us their names?

G: The twenty-nine year-old daughter is Barbara. She's

married and she's now Mrs. Barbara Nixon. And the son

is still single. The younger daughter is Angela,

nineteen, she was married in June and her married name

LUM 135A 2

is Campbell.

I: Where were you born?

G: I was born and reared in Robeson County.

I: Who did you marry?

G: I married Allen Godfrey of Charlotte, and we've been

living in Charlotte for the last thirty years.

I: Gosh, that's a long time.

G: Yes.

I: Do you see any differences in the lifestyle of

people in Robeson and people, say, in Charlotte?

Have you lived in Charlotte proper all this time,

or in different areas of Charlotte?

G: We lived in the county part of the time and about half

of the time in the city. As for the first question,

I don't really see a lot of differences, you know,

in the rural communities. The lifestyles people

are pretty much the same.

I: Uh-huh. You own your own home?

G: Yes.

I: What does your husband do?

G: My husband's a salesman. He sells automotive supplies.

I: I bet he's a good one, too.

LUM 135A 3

G: He manages to make a living.

I: He certainly has a nice personality.

G: Thank you.

I: People say that with modern conveniences housewives

don't have very much to do these days. Do you

believe that?

G: Well, housekeeping's certainly a lot easier, but I

don't see that...if you have children you still

stay pretty busy, ,ut since mine are all grown I

do have a little leisure time to do things I

especially enjoy doing.

I: I want to ask you about women's lib,Awomen's liberation

movement. Is it very active in Charlotte?

G: Yes, I would say so, although I'm not a part of it

so I really don't know too much about it. I go

along with some of their views and some I don't.

For instance, the word "Ms.," I hate.41t I'm proud

to be Mrs. A. R. Godfrey and I don't want to be

called Ms. But I believe in equal pay for equal

work, and quite a few of their objectives. But

LUM 135A 4

the bra-burning, for instance, I don't go along with

stuff like that and trying to be a man in every way.

I like to be feminine and I like my man to be masculine.

I want the difference.

I: Oh, that's good. Guys are gonna love you for that.

G: I hope so.

I: I don't know about the women's libbers. I run into

some of them once in a while and we always argue

just a little bit. The eternal battle of the sexes,

just in fun. But, uh, what do you do for hobbies?

Do you have any hobbies?

G: Yes. I like to fool around with the guitar a little

bit just for fun.

I: The guitar.

G: Uh-huh. And...

I: Would you like to play some for us?

G: Not especially. I'm not very good. I do that in

private just for my own pleasure. My husband plays

some and he plays the harmonica, and we kind of have

fun with it.

I: That sounds like fun.

LUM 135A 5

G: Do just...try to do just a little bit of composing.

I: What do you compose, poetry or music, or...?

G: Iltry to compose music right now. I've just done

two songs so far. I'm doing the music, too. I had

just fooled around with the poetry before that, but

I'm trying to compose music now.

I: You had a very beautiful song that you were kind

enough to do for me before we started this interview.

I wonder if you'd give us the words or...would you

like to give the lyrics or would you like to sing it

or what? I'd like for them to hear that. I think

this was really good. You know, it starts off,

"You came down from Heaven/A mother to seek." Is

this song you wrote about some child you know or


G: Yes, it's a song I wrote, a lullaby for my youngest

daughter. When she was born I was so thrilled and

everything, I just felt that I had to express my

feelings and this is what I wrote.

I: What was her name? Which one is this?

G: This is Angela. Her name is Angela, which means

LUM 135A 6

"angel" and that's what the lullaby is about.

I: How does Angie feel about this?

G: She likes it very much. She took it with her to

school to show her teacher from first grade through

junior high.

I: Well, that's a great compliment because children

usually don't say much about their parents around

other children, you know. This is really a great

compliment to you that she was proud to talk about

it in school, and it's about her and, of course,

I can understand why because it really is something


G: We had hoped to have it put on a music box for her

to keep as permanent keepsake, but so far we

haven't been able to find a way to do that. But

I still hope that I can sometime, which she wants

very much.

I: Would you mind reading the lyrics, and then we'll

play it. We'll get you to play it because this'll

give the melody for it. If I don't foul up here

with this tape recorder.

LUM 135A 7

G: You came down from Heaven
A mother to seek
With the kiss of an angel
Still warm on your cheek.
You nestle so closely, and darling, I swear
That heaven's own fragrance
Still clung to your hair.
You're so nearly an angel yourself, I declare
A halo and wings are the things you should wear.
Above the sweet sound of your first lusty cry
I heard a soft rustle, like wings, then a sigh.
Could it be that an angel was:hovering nigh,
Reluctant, my darling, to bid you good-by?
You're so nearly an angel yourself, I declare
A halo and wings are the things you should wear.

I: Hey, that is great. That is good. That's beautiful!

Do you mind playing it, or just;playing some of it

so that we can get the melody for it. We won't be

able to transcribe it on paper, but those who listen

to the tape, will be able to appreciate it. Well,
we could transcribe it by writing the lead sheet

or something. I want to know what the melody is.


I: Hey, that is beautiful. Did you write both the lyrics

and the melody for this?

G: Yes, I did.

I: How do you feel about being a Lumbee Indian, or do

LUM 135A 8

you ever even think about it?

G: Well, yes, I think about it. Not as much as when I

lived around other Indians because I seldom see any

anymore except my family. But I've always been proud

of being a Lumbee Indian and I still am.

I: Does it cause any kind of problems at all?

G: Oh, not at all.

I: That's great.

G: My husband thinks it's something special being part

Indian, and almost everybody I talk to says, "Oh, I

have some Indian blood in my family, too."

I: Well, Indians are more popular today. I think we're

living in the most benevolent period for the American

Indian ever. People are really opening up their

hearts to the original American and to his descendants.

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing poems

and music?

G: Yes. Another hobby is raising African violets.

I: What are they like? I don't even know. I'm a guy,

I guess that's why.

G: Well, it's one of our favorite house plants because

LUM 135A 9

it will bloom continuously in the housed people

like it very much and it takes a little different

conditions than the average things you grow in a

greenhouse, so you more or less need to grow just

African violets, specialize, which is what I did.

An I grew them and sold them wholesale for about

three years and then I decided to switch to another

hobby, and I grow quite a few just for pleasure now

but not any more commercially.

I: Seems like some of the Bartons--I hate to say this,

being a Barton myself--they seem to be musically

inclined. Isn't there a sister who teaches piano

and organ who also lives in Charlotte?

G: Yes, that's Mrs. Alta Warriax. She is a good pianist

and has been teaching music...I imagine she's taught

music for about fifteen years.

I: Well, maybe I'll get to interview her also. I hope

so, anyway. I seem to remember that you used to have

a hobby entering contests, entering every contest in

the country. What kind of luck did you have at this?

G: Well, nothing spectacular, but I did win some pretty

LUM 135A 10

good prizes along in the days when you saw a lot of

contests that called for telling why you liked the

product in twenty-five words or less, and naming

things. I did pretty well, nothing spectacular,

but I won a diamond pendant one time.

I: A diamond pendant.

G: And a fifty-dollar bond and that sort of thing.

Nothing spectacular. I even won a pair of cowboy

boots one time and another time a yo-yo.

I: A yo-yo. Mep .didn't you win a pair of skates one

time or something?

G: I won a pair of skates and I won a wristwatch one

time and a few cash prizes, not over,twenty dollar

cash prize. And something like a twenty-five

dollar bond, fifty dollar bond.

I: Well, that's a lot of fun and it does challenge you,

the nature of contests today. And these were...some

of these were national contests, weren't they?

G: Yes, they mostly all were national contests. There

were a few locals that I entered and won. And it

was easy to win in the locals than in the nationals.

| | | m md

LUM 135A 11

I: Well, these statement contests are based on skill,

skill with words, aren't they?

G: Yes. There's no luck involved except that one judge

might like your style a little bit better than another,

but it's not at all like the sweepstakes contests you

have where they draw numbers and it's all pure luck.

I: Uh-huh, no chance involved here at all.

G: You have to be original because usually the first

thing that pops into your head is the first thing.

that pops into somebody else's head, so you have

to go deeper than that and really try to be original

or you don't stand a chance of winning anything.

I: I wonder how these contests are judged. I mean...

G: Well there are agencies that just do that sort of

thing. That's their business, and the companies

that give the contests hire an agency to judge them.

And then, of course, when the agency picks the

winner the company awards the prizes to whomever...

I: VWThe people, then, whooconduct the contests have nothing

at all to do with the selection of the winners, do they?

LUM 135A 12

G: So I understand.

I: All right. Isn't the Reuben H. Donnelly Corporation,

is this in New York City, do you remember?

G: I can't remember now if it's in Chicago or New York,

but that is one of them. It's been quite a while

since I've done this because you don't see so many

of these contests anymore. It's all sweepstakes.

I: Uh-huh. This is a corporation set up Just for the

purpose of judgiAg contests, isn't it?

G: Yes, it is.

I: Well, I think it's a great shame that we're getting

away from that trend because luck, I guess it gives

more people a chance to win, but it isn't challenging.

It doesn't help you to develop in language skills

and that sort of thing. Don't you think so?

G: Yes,tat's true. I don't have any interest in the

sweepstakes at all. I feel the chance of winning

is too slim.

I; Did you feel a definite challenge when you were

entering these contests?

G: Oh, I did and I really enjoyed it and I was as proud

LUM 135A 13

to win a yo-yo as I was to win the diamond pendant.

It was just the thrill of winning, that they chose

mine o4'e a lot of the others, you know.

I: Right. Throughout the nation, that's something.

That must give you a great sense of personal pride.

G: Yes.

I: What did you do in your, I hate to say younger years,

but we all were younger at a certain time than we are

at this moment. Even today we're a little older than

we were yesterday. But what did you do when you were

in your...were you in your teens when you...I seem

to remember that you joined the military service.

Which branch of the military service was this?

G: The WAC. I was one of the first to join the WACs,

the first group when it was formed during World War

Two. And at that time it was Woman's Auxliary Army,

WAAC, and later it was made a part of the Army and

became W-A-C.

I: Uh-huh.

G: And I served about a year in the WACs and it was

a great experience. I wouldn't take anything for it.

I: Where did you serve?

LUM 135A 14

G: I had my basic training in Des Moines, Iowa, and I

-served in Orlando, Florida, at the air base there

and at Camp Polk, Louisiana, and at Charleston,

South Carolina.

I: Well, you were in on the very ground floor of this.

You know, this was a new idea at that time and it

was a controversial idea, even. People said, "Well,

you can't imagine women being in the Army or the Navy

or the other armed forces." But it worked out all

right, didn't it?

G: It must have since they went ahead and formed branches

of all the armed services, and I think it must have

worked out to suit everybody.

I: What they did at first was form auxiliary groups and

then later they made them regular parts of the armed

forces, didn't they?

G: That's right.

I: Well, you must have some pleasant memories about some

of these places. Some people don't take easily to

discipline. Did that bother you particularly?

G: Well, it bothered me some at first but I soon adjusted

LUM 135A 15

to it. It's kind of a different life altogether, and

you kind of expect it to be different in all respects

such as discipline and all the rest.

I: Did you have a sense of pride in your country and that

sort of thing where you weolee?

G: Yes.

I: Patriotic?

G: Yes. I know patriotism is not very popular today, but

I was. That was my main reason for going into the

service, as I felt that I wanted to do my part for

our country just the same as the boys and men were

doing, and I thought it was a wonderful opportunity

to serve my country and that's why I did it.

I: Well, women's libbers ought to hear that! Would you

give us your address, where you livechere in Charlotte?

I forgot to put it on the tape earlier.

G: Our address is 3214 June Drive.

I: J-u-n-e, as the month June?

G: That's right.

I: This is a little bit personal, but your husband or

you last night said something that sounded great to

LUM 135A 16

me. Oh, it was your husband, Allen. He said that in

the years that you've been married....how long has it


G: About thirty years.

I: Thirty years, and in all that time you hadn't spent

a night away from each other.

G: That's right.

I: Hey, that's quite a record. How about your church

affiliation? What denomination do you belong to?

G: We are Baptists, and....

I: Missionary Baptists?

G: Missionary Baptists, and we're members of Sharon Forest

Missionary Baptist Church. And as a matter of fact,

we help found it. We were there from the beginning.

I: Well, that's great. Do you help them sing or do any-

thing like this in church?

G: My husband and I both sing in the choir, and he teaches

an adult Sunday school class and I was Sunday school

secretary for a while. Unfortunately we're not as

regular in our attendance at church as we once were,

but we hope to get back into it more full-time than

at the present.

LUM 135A 17

I: Well, that's great. How about your cooking? Do

you do anything special with cooking? Do you like

to experiment?

G: I'm not the world's best cook, and...

I: You're being modest.

G: I like to cook desserts more than anything else and

do more experimenting with them. I like to take

recipes and change them around and try to come up

with something different or originate a new one.

I: Well, maybe someday you'll discover something like

Colonel Sanders did.

G: I doubt it.

I: And get rich and famous.

G: That would be nice.

I: Say, this is quite a home you have here. This is

a brick home, isn't it?

G: Yes, it is.

I: How large is it?

G: We have three bedrooms, living room, dining room,

bath and den. That's seven, I believe.

I: I was talking to your husband about his work, and I

said it must be a challenge being a salesman on your

LUM 135A 18

own. And how long has he been a salesman for this

auto parts company?

G: About twenty years.

I: Well, you just have...this is one field where you

definitely have to prove yourself, you know, and

you're dependent upon yourself, your own skill and

everything. He gets along so well with peopleend

I'm not surprised that he's a very successful sales-

man. He wouldn't think of himself too successfully,

but he's that modest. But he is quite a guy. I know

you're proud of him.

G: Yes, I really am,

I: By the way, do you have any relatives who live in


G: Yes. I have three sisters who live in Charlotte. I have

a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, who lives in Charlotte.

And Mrs. Alta Warriax lives in Charlotte. And also

Mrs. Thelma McCracken. Of course, all my husband's

relatives live in Charlotte or in South Carolina.

He was originally...he grew up at Waxaw and then

they moved to Charlotte and they...as children,

they all live in Charlotte, so he has a large number

LUM 135A 19

of relatives that are all around.

I: By the way, I ought to inject the spelling of these

words here, but I've been so fascinated with the

interview I forgot it. This name you mentioned is

w-a-x-a-w, right? Waxaw?

G: That's right.

I: And you mentioned Mrs. Warriax, this is w-a-r-r-i-a-x,

is that correct?

G: That's correct.

I: Thank you. You know, when you move from one area

into another, language is something that's affected

for we're all affectedby language. You know, every-

body speaks differently no matter...even from town

to town almost. So we sort of pick up the language

of the people we're around, so do you think our

people generally pick up sort of a second language

when they move out, or...I think everybody tries

to conform to some extent and I think we should.

But what was this you were saying about retaining

something original?

LUM 135A 20

G: I think we should keep up with what's going on and

learn new things and new ways, but I think we should

-retain some of the original expressions and ways of

doing things as part of our history. I don't think

they should be forgottenand I think it's important

to learn to live in the world we're living in and

communicate, but I do think we should hold on to

some of the old ways of doing things as part of ou.


I: Uh-huh. Sort of as a keepsake, right?

G: Yes. You know in different communities even in the

same state you find different accents and different

colloquialisms, and I think this just makes the world

a lot more interesting. I'd hate to think that we

all spoke just alike and didn't have any peculiar

expression of our very own from our section of the


I: We sure do have some different ones back home.

G: Yes, I can listen to a person talk a' just a few

words, and I know whether they're from where I grew

up around in Robeson County. I can tell by the

LUM 135A 21

accent. And of course, a lot of the colloquialisms

are the same, but I find a few that are strictly

Mecklenburg County and I know some of Union County

and some of Robeson County.

I: Uh-huh.

G: Of course, they have a lot of colloquialisms in

common also.

I: I got on the bus in Lumberton yesterday, and- two

ladies got on in Pembroke, as we rode through-Pembroke.

And they both knew the bus driver by some coincidence,

and they started talking and, you know, you could

notice the difference right away. And somebody was

talking about Pembroke, you know, they didn't know

I was from Pembroke. Said, "Why, I called over at

Pembroke and tried to get some information, but they

don't know anything,-over there." And right away, I

said, "They know as darned much in Pembroke as they

do in Lumberton and maybe a lot more."

G: Did you get a reply to that?

I: No, nobody said a word. Everybody just froze up.

So they knew right away then that I was from Pembroke,

I guess. But I sort of wear it on my sleeve, I guess,

LUM 135A 22

or on my shoulder. I don't know.

G: I'll tell you, I've learned that...I'm not responsible

for anybody else and I've learned to, you know, if I

hear somebody make a derogatory remark sometime, why,

I think it doesn't do any good and maybe creates.some

hard feelings if you kind of take up for a section of

the country or a group of people. So I've learned to

just let it pass because I know people have all kinds

of feelings. I don't always agree but, you know, it's

hard to know sometimes whether you should speak up,

/nless they ask. If they ask my opinion, of course,

I'll tell them, but if they don't I find that you

usually can't change anyone's mind anyway, so I just

don't say anything most of the time.

I: Right. That's a good philosophy, but I'm just a little

bit different and I have to root a little bit for the

home team, I guess.

G: I can understand that.

I: But if I lived away as you do...I haveilived.away for

a while on occasion, but usually I go back. I always

go back.

LUM 135A 23

G: I'll tell you, I never... living in Charlotte, I never

come in any contact with any anti-Indian sentiment

at all. Everybody seems to think they're something

special and you're treated just like everybody else,

so I don't run into any discrimination whatsoever.

And so I really never even think about being any

different from anybody else that I'm living around.

I know that I am, and as I said before, I'm proud

of my heritage but I just feel like I'm an American

and that's that.

1L: Uh-huh. Well, it's good to feel that way because

you do have to adjust. You do have to live in a

world with other people, so that's a good philosophy.

G: I find that most of my friends would be surprised if

I spoke up about discrimination because they don't

discriminate, or at least I haven't run into anybody

that does, And they don't understand it. Even my

husband wil4-accuse me of having a chip on my shoulder

if I said anything about it because he doesn't realize

that...you know and I do, too, that where the population

is mostly Indian that they are discriminated against

a certain extent. But I've been from around that,

LUM 135A 24

you know, so long that it really doesn't...I just

don't run into the problem.

I: We find that discrimination, this sort of thing,

begins after you cross the Robeson County line.

I hate to say anything like this about my native

county which I love very much, but this happens to

be true. And as you say, this is certainly true.

Where there's one kind--I hate to say kind" of people

but it's the best word I know--and where there is

a little difference, people do have a tendency to

discriminate particularly when the numbers are large.

For example, when I was in the Navy our home base was

in Norfolk, Virginia. People there felt terrible

towards sailors but they took soldiers and marines

to their hearts. But they looked on us as though

we were dogs or something, Jt seemed to me at that

G: I-heard...you know, my husband was a sailor also and

he said some of the restaurants or what-have-you would

have "No Dogs or Sailors Allowed" written on the door.

I: That's true. And there's a joke they always told, and

LUM 135A 25

this is a little risque, I hope you'll excuse it if

you think it is. But this sailor said he went to a

home to see this girl and he was standing out in the

yard talking to this girl, and her father came to the

door and said, "Daughter, you come in this house, and

bring the cow with you." They don't trust sailors

and they don't trust anybody where the numbers are

great, I guess.

G: I think it's because they feel threatened about losing

their identity, maybe when, you know, so many sailors,

they feel the sailors are going to take over. Or so

many Indians they're afraid the Indians will take over.

Or so many blacks they're afraid the blacks will take

over. Don't you think that has something to do with


I: Yes, I'm sure it has something to do with it. We have

a peculiar situation in Robeson County, as you know.

Mrs. Godfrey, I have a book here which was given to

me, or lent to me, by the Health Department and it's

called Health and Related Statistics, Robeson County,

North Carolina. Would you like to look at some of the

LUM 135A 26

actual figures of the population? We have many

charts and graphs in this book, and I think it's

very helpful. It was prepared by the Robeson

County Health Department and the statistics were

furnished by that department and also by the

North Carolina Board of Health. For example,

we have something on the population by race.

Would you look at that chart there and give us

the figures for 1960 and 1970? If you would,

give us the 1960 figures first and then the 1970.

I think you'll even be interested in this.

G: Let's see here.

I: In 1960, there were 36,552 white people, 26, 256

black people, 26, 294 Indian people, making a total

of 89, 102. In 1960, the white people formed 41%

of the county's total population. In 1960, the

black people formed 29.5% of the county's total

population) nd Indian people formed 29.5% of

the county's total population. Now, in 1960,

there were 0.8% less; or fewer, white people than

ten years previously. And these-figures are based

LUM 135A 27

on official U. S. Census reports. Now let me repeat

that in case I made an error. There were 0.8% fewer

white people in 1960, say, than 1950. And there

were 16.3% fewer black people than in 1950. And

there were 1.6% more Indian people than in 1950.

So the "vanishing American" really isn't vanishing,

is he?

G: It doesn't sound that way.

I: Not in Robeson County anyway. Well, let's go over

the figures for 1970. Now, we're given the figures

and the percentages for 1960. Let's look at the

differences today. In 1970, there 36,262 white

citizens, forming 42.7% of the totals, the county's

total population. Now, in the same year there were

21,876 black people, forming 25.8% of the county's

total population. There were 26,704 Indian people

forming 31.5% of the county's total population.

Now all three of these races together in 1970 gave

a total of 84,842. So you can see that we've lost

somn of our people. Remember we said a while ago

that in 1960 there were 89,102 and in 1970 there

were just 84,842. Now, don't you think these are

LUM 135A 28

interesting statistics?

G: Yes, I find them very interesting. But let me ask you,

how did you lose that amount of the population? Did

they move away, as I did, or what?

I: Yes, generally that's true. Now, more black people

than anyone else leaves Robeson County. This is

called by the Health Department the "out-migration.."

More black people leave than anyone else, and more

Indians leave than white people. Fewer white people

leave. The white people in Robeson County have a

tendency to stay put. So you can see, though, that

these very important statistics are changing and

the population picture is changing. And when the

population picture changes, the political situation

changes and other things change. But the birtlate

is pretty high for Indians and black people and it's

decreasing for white people. But there are other

factors which offset this, the out-migration and

things of this nature. In 1960, we lost 290 white

people and that is a loss of 0.8%. We lost 4,380

black people, which is a loss of 16.3%. But we

gained 410 Indian people, which is a gain of 1.6%.

LUM 135A 29

And of course, if you want to think about the total

number of changes, it adds up to a loss of 4,260

people for the entire county. And that's 4.8%

change. Now, I can remember when Robeson County

had a hundred thousand people. But they are

changing dramatically and the Indians are dramatically

on the increase, and our black people are slowly

being reduced in number. I just thought I'd men-

tion these statistics because I know you are

interested in your home county.

G: Yes, I find it very interesting.

I: Well, these are very interesting statistics and on

another tape I will give all these statistics because

they are official and I think they are important.

In other words, you don't base everything on dtatis-

tics, but statistics can lie, people say, but they

are very important. And so to give a complete pic-

ture of Robeson County, I'll give all these statistics

later on on another tape.

G: Let me ask you something, Lew. Speaking of the

census, do you think that the count of the different

races was accurate?

LUM 135A 30

I: Well, I think it was accurate for whites and blacks,

but the U. S. Census reports on Indians in the county

have always been notoriously inaccurate. The Indians

always claim that there are many more Indians than

are enumerated as Indians. We had, perhaps, a very

accurate census enumeration in 1950 because in that

year the census taker didn't just look at you and

put you down according to the way you appeared to

be. He came out and asked you. Everybody was asked

to list their own race, and so, although that wasn't

absolutely accurate it was certainly more accurate

than in other years because this was sort of a do-

it-yourself census. But many Indians have always

been enumerated as whites, and this is very dis-

concerting when you're trying to deal with official

figures like this because you never know exactly

how many Indians you have. Sometimes our people

are listed as whites for one purpose by people in

public office, and sometimes they have been listed

as Indians for other purposes,-and maybe even blacks

on occasion, or non-whites or something like that,

depending on the particular thing the people want

LUM 135A 31

to prove at the moment or want to show at the moment.

So this makes for great uncertainty in enumerating

the Indians of Robeson County. I sort of resent

this because I don't think you should use people

in this particular way. I think if you don't know,

if you're in doubt, you don't have to depend on

appearance, you can ask them what they are. I know

sometimes it's very difficult to identify Indians

as Indians. For example, I went past a lady's home

who lived in the community with this family, and

we stopped at this house some time ago and I asked

her, I said, "Are these Indians or are these:white

people?" She said, "They're white people." But

the lady and her children came out to the car and

they started talking to us......... .........

Side Two of the interview with Mrs. A. R. Godfrey of

Charlotte, North Carolina. We were interrupted at

the end of the tape. I was telling about the time

another Indian and I went past this lady's home and

she and her children came to the door and we didn't

LUM 135A 32

know what race they belonged to, and I asked her, "Are

these Indians or are thesewhite people?" And she

said, "They're white people." But they came out to

the car and after they started talking, we knew right

away that they were Indians. We knew by their accent,

by their language. We also knew because they told

us some of their relatives, and they were related

to people whom we knew very well. So this is always

a problem, the problem of enumerating Indians accurately.

There have always been those Indian people who claim

that we form much more than one-third of the county's

total population. But of course, this situation is

exploited by people in public office on occasion, not

all of them but some of them, depending on what par-

ticular thing they want to prove at the moment. If

they want to get in on a certain program and this

program is geared toward Indians, then you're gonna

have more Indians than you would have had in another

situation. If it's geared toward black people, they'll

pad it a little bit in that direction. If it's geared

toward white people they'll pad it a littlefin that

direction. And they can get by with this sort of thing

LUM 135A 33

simply because you can't always identify an Indian

as an Indian simply by looking at him. You have

to know his relatives, you have to know his last name,

you have to know something about...well, his language.

People in the county know an Indian by his language

because it is definitely different from that of the

other two races. But good gosh, I'm doing all the


G: I would like to say that as I grew up in Robeson

County I was always under the impression that the

Indians greatly out-numbered the whites and blacks.

I: This has always been the claim among our people.

I've always heard this and I've always believed

this. But of course, they want to...the other races

would like to have as large a number as possible.

That's natural and I suppose it's natural for us

to feel that way. But it does make for great inac-

curacy when you're trying to compile official records,

and I'm sure that many a person trying to make such

an enumeration has felt like tearing his hair out on


G: Well, the only way you would ever get an accurate one,

I think, would be as you say for someone to take it and

LUM 135A 34

not go by appearances but ask each person, interview

what race they belong to and that way you would get

an accurate count.

I: Yes, well, that's what was done in 1950. I believe

we mentioned that, and of course, I assume that this

was one of the most accurate census reports ever taken,

because in that year it was sort of a do-it-yourself

census and people were asked to list their own race,

which they did. It used to be assumed that if an

Indian had a chance to list himself as white that

he would just about break his neck to do so. But

within recent years we've found that the trend is the

other way. It's actually in the other direction

and this is another thing about prejudice. You see,

this was a thing brought about by fear, you.know, about

being overrun and this sort of thing. But the

Indians never have rushed madly toward becoming white

or becoming black or becoming anything else. Actually

they want to be enumerated as Indians, and they've

always been known as Indians and they cling tenaciously

to this. And I think this was a great surprise to

LUM 135A 35

many people. Certainly it was a surprise to the Ku

Klux Klan in 1966. You know, in 1958, the Ku Klux

Klan came through and we had this nttle of Hayes'

eeld when hundreds of rounds of ammunition was

fired by the Indians at the Klansmen and the Klansmen

took to flight. Well, the whole thing started sort

of as a mistake because the Ku Klux Klan being from

the neighboring state of South Carolina came into

Robeson County thinking that there was a.lot of

race-mixing going on, and they were gonna do some-

thing about it. And they proclaimed wide and near

that they were going to teach the Indians a lesson.

And the papers were full of this. But when they

were disastrously defeated, psychologically anyway,

nationwide by our people because the press releases

were devastating. And this was the beginning of the

fall for the Klan. After they did this, I think

they realized theirmnistake and eventually they

did come back. They came back in 1966 and we

have newspaper accounts to prove this. And they

had a different tactic this time. They were very

friendly to ie Indian people and, actually, they

LUM 135A 36

invited all Indians to become members of the Ku Klux

Klan, which is perhaps the most exclusive racial

organization in America. Or one of them, anyway.

And perhaps this is unprecedented in their history.

But they did invite the Indians to join in the Ku

Klux Klan, and they probably assumed that the Indians

would be complimented by this and would rush madly

to join the Ku Klux Klan. So, on a night after much

haggling about them coming back into Robeson County,-

and after a couple of court orders had been issued

forbidding them to come to Robeson County for fear

that there would be bloodshed or something, they

decided to come to a neutral place, that neutral

place being Fayetteville. They came over there on

an appointed night, ready to sign up the Lumbee

Indians. Lo and behold, when the time came, not

one of our people showed up to join. And that

surprised even me because, you know, you always

have somebody on the fringe or you assume that you


G: Well, that's a relief to hear of that. I'm glad...

I: Yeah, I was never prouder of our people than I was


LUM 135A 37

at this moment. This was...this was great judgment

on their part. So our people are not as naive as

is generally assumed, I'm glad to say. I was very

pleased. I was all ears to hear if anybody was

coming over there to join the Klan that night. Not

a darned soul showed up.

G: That's really good news.

I: It's funny, the whole thing's funny--or it would be

funny if it were not so tragic. And of course, I

have no personal feelings against the Klan. I've

been to Klan meetings, you know, just out of curiosity.

They didn't know that...and I was invited to join when

they passed the literature around because they assumed

that I was white, too. But I was sort of sneaking in,

and I don't do this very often because if they did

happen to discover that you were non-white, I don't

know what would happen if you were one person among

several hundred Ku Klux Klansmen. But anyway, these

are interesting things, aren't they?

G: Yes, they are.

I: I certainly appreciate your willingness to give us

this interview, Mrs. Godfrey. It's been a very

LUM 135A 38

enlightening one and a very interesting one as well.

Are there any things that you would like to add before

we close it?

G: I really can't think of anything except to say that

I've enjoyed talking with you and I hope it proves

interesting to somebody.

I: Well, I'm sure it will. There is an interest in our

people nationwide, actually. Since 1958, I've had

enquiries from every state in the union. I've tried

to furnish some sort of information just as a courtesy,

but it's helped me because it helped me to gain more

knowledge of our people. Well, for the Doris Duke

Foundation and for the University of Florida's Histry

Department, I want to thank you very much for this very

enlightening interview.

G: You're quite welcome. I enjoyed it.


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