Title: Interview with Mrs. Woodrow Sampson (November 19, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007129/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Mrs. Woodrow Sampson (November 19, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: November 19, 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: UF00007129
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 142

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Full Text


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LUM 142A
Date: November 19, 1973
Subject: Mrs. Woodrow Sampson
Interviewer: Lew Barton
Transcriber: Josephine Suslowicz


B: This is November 19, 1973. I'm Lew Barton interviewing for the Doris

Duke Foundation's and the University of Florida's American Indian Oral

History Program. This afternoon we're favored to be at--in the home of

Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Sampson. Is that right, Mrs. Sampson?

S: Right.

B: You're very kind to give us an interview.

S: Why, thank you.

B: Uh, would you mind telling us something about yourself?

S: Well, what would you like to know?

B: Well, uh, lot's of interesting things. Uh, first of all, would you tell

us who you are, something about your parents, maybe, brothers and sisters,


S: Well, I was born in 1921. I came from a family of educators, uh, going

back to, uh, my grandparents on my mother's side. Um, my grandmother from

my mother's side was, uh, the first Indian lady teacher among the Indians.

Uh, my grandfather was, uh, one of the founders of Pembroke--what is Pem-

broke State University, now. My mother taught school. My father taught

school. One of my uncles, uh, was the first--instigation of starting high

school where I finished high school, who kept and, um, the first high

school teacher in his home.

B: You better tell them where that is.

S: And this is in Prospect Community, uh, Robeson County, um, oh, about five

miles from Pembroke, and, um, I have two sisters who are teachers, uh, a

brother who is a teacher, I'm a teacher. I was--my first marriage was

to a--an educator who was, um, one of the, uh, first, well, I guess, the

LUM 142A 2

first Lumbee Indian to receive a doctorate in education, and, uh, who

came back here and taught in the university up until his death, uh, in

'66--1966, and my second marriage is to a school teacher who's been in

it and soon will be ready to retire, and I'm a teacher, but I've said


B: Um-hum.

S: And I have one brother who is in, uh, insurance business, and that's just

about takes care of my education.

B: Uh, I wonder, did we mention the Doc's name, you know, Dr. Herbert G.


S: Oh, yes. My first husband was Dr. Herbert G. Oxendine.

B: Uh, he's one of the people who always inspired me more than anybody else

I can think about.

S: He was always interested in--very much interested in his race and especially

young people, and, um, he always seemed to see the need for an education

for, um, the Lumbee Indians, and he felt like this was a salvation for us

to, uh, get an education.

B: Right. Uh, would you tell--mind telling us the children's names?

S: My children?

B: Uh-huh. (affirmative)

S: Uh, I have, uh, four. Linda--Linda Ellen who is, uh, 27, I think, and she

is working in Washington. She's a graduate of U.N.C. and taught two

years in Richmond. She came back home and taught one year in our local

senior high school here, and then she went with, um, volunteer work with

the United Methodist Church, and from that into, um, Washington with, um,

what is it? Congress of American Indians? What is that called? National

Congress of American Indians, and she's been--then she took a year's leave

last year and went to graduate school and got her masters in administration

LUM 142A 3

of education from, uh, Penn State University. She had a scholarship there

and she's back in Washington, now, working again. Uh, my oldest son, Richard,

uh, graduate of the local high school here, he went into service and, uh,

was given a, uh, appointment, uh, through the army to West Point and he

stayed there one semester and decided that he didn't want the army as a

career, so he resigned from West Point and came back and, ur, entered the

University here. He has three years, uh, well, maybe a little better than

three years college, but he's working now as a foreman in one of our big

plants here, 'L Glass Com--Plant. Um, I have next is a daughter who is

21, Mariam, and she has about three years of college, un, very much interested

in music, in fact, that's her whole life, music, and my youngest will be

sixteen in December and he's a sophomore in the, uh, senior high school


B: Um-hum, did we mention his name?

S: And he's Herbert Junior, and that's the four children.

B: Are you happy about your children?

S: Oh, yes. I--I was sort of disappointed that, uh, maybe that Richard

didn't go onto college at, uh, and finish in the beginning, but, uh, finan-

cially wise, he's doing, maybe better than if he had a college degree, and

he's contented with what he's doing so, that's what makes everything happy.

He's the only one married, by the way, and I'm a grandmother as of three

weeks ago.

B: Um-hum, how does that make you feel?

S: Oh, I don't know whether Ifeel anyi-differently or not. (Laughs)

B: Uh, did we mention the one brother who, uh, who is not actually teaching,

but who is an, uh, who is actually attached to-a-university? He's on the

Board of Trustees. He's also, uh, Robeson County Commissioner

elective office.

LUM 142A 4

S: Yes, he's the one that's in--he's the one that's in the insurance business,


B: Um-hum.

S: And, uh, of course, uh, .

B: He gets around, doesn't he?

S: Yeah, my brother, Adolph, uh, he is on leave nowfrom the university here.
lose's ?()
Of course he's on, um, our Congressman, Charlie Rhodes' staff in some


B: Ur-hum.

S: And also he's writing, uh, co-author of a book on the Indian people--Lumbee


B: Uh, does his book have a title yet?

S: Uh, I don't think so. Uh, um, at least I haven't heard him say it.

S: Yeah, oh.

B: Uh, and that book sounds very interesting. I was talking with him the

other day, and he was telling me some of the things about it. He's been

working on it for quite a while, hasn't he?

S: Yeah--yes, he has, interviews and research and. .

B: Ur-hum.

S: and ____ -

B: Uh, did we mention your father's name and your mother's name?

S: Uh, my father was LUOy H. Dial, and my mother was, uh, Mary Ellen

Moore before she died--I mean, before she married. (Laughs) And, uh, I

didn't mention that her father, though, um, had to go to school with the

Negroes. That's the way he got his education because we didn't have Indian

schools and we were not allowed to go with the White, and that he got his

education with the Negro.

LUM 142A 5

(Moore ?)
B: And, of course, that was, uh, the Reverend W. L. esrr

S: L. T, yes.

B: Um-hum, uh, he's touched this university in so many ways, he's, uh, so

closely connected with the creation and then the first years .14( 1

many years thereafter he was the first teacher there, too.

S: Yes, and taught his first year, if I remember correctly, without any


B: Ur-hum.

S: And, of course, uh, I have a sense of great pride that one of the buildings

was named for him, and, also, this last--this past year the Science Building

at the university here, was named in honor of my first husband, Dr. Herbert


B: Well, you do have a lot to be proud of.

S: And also the, uh, athletic field at the senior high school is named for

Herbert, and he was the, ur, I think the first president of the Booster Club

there, long before we ever got football started, and the football field was

named in his honor.

B: Ur-hum.

S: So, we have, uh, have quite a bit to be proud of.

B: Uh, I wanted to ask you one thing about MIen Hall. Which building--could

we identify that building?

S: Uh, that's the Arts, uh, building, uh, Hert Hall, and there is the Music

Department, and, un, the, un, Arts and Crafts, and, of course, um, the

Auditorium where all the plays, um, they put on all the plays now.

B: How do you feel about, uh, Prospect?

S: Well, I'll always have a warm spot in my heart, I guess. It's home.

B: It's called PeM Community, isn't it?

S: Yes, it is. Uh, it's one community that always sticks together. When they

LUM 142A 6

decide to do something, they do it.

B: Um-hum, real cooperation.

S: Real cooperation and closely knitted community. They really stick together,

and when they set out to do something, you can bet your dollar it will be


B: Ur-hum, I'm proud that I came from that community too. Uh, you know, I

was priveleged to interview a lawyer--a young lawyer, uh, just a couple of

months ago who, of course, who comes from Prospect and that's,,uh, next

to Locklear. Uh, do you remember his first name?

S: Uh, is it Arnold?

B: Arnold, I believe.

S: Arnold, I think.

B: Ur-hum. He and I were talking. By the way, we sat down and started talking,

and I said, do you remember the Prospect brogue ? He said, oh yeah.

S: (Laughs)

B: I said, well, let's talk Prospect on this interview. So, we had a ball.

S: Yeah, I'm often teased, you know, um, today, ur, one of the teachers was

teasing me. He said, well now, you come from Prospect. And I said, you

bet I do. (Laughs)

B: I'll bet it's a strange thing that even-isn't it--that even among the

Indian communities, uh, there's just a little bit different accent.

S: Yes.

B: Just a little different dialect.

S: Yes.

B: And Prospect is very distinctive.

S: Well, I think maybe that's because, um, well, for example, here in Pembroke

we--we do have, um, you know, teachers coming in as--almost as far back

as we can remember there's always been a few White teachers who come from

LUM 142A 7

other states, or other parts of the state, and I think maybe that had an

influence here. When they get Pembroke, urn, Prospect, you know, we didn't

use. .

B: We didn't have too many Whites, either.

S: Not too many, no. I guess we already had it when they came. (Laughs)

B: Ur-hum, it's kind of hard to get rid of.

S: Yes.

B: And sometimes I wonder if we should.

S: Well, uh, it doesn't bother me now as much as it used to, you know, I've

seen the time it would have made me mad had someone teased me about it, but

now, um, I don't know. It's, uh, I don't mind--mind it at all, now.

Sometimes I think that's, uh, part of being different from the--maybe the

rest of the community.

B: Yes, I--I think every community should be distinctive.

S: Yes.

B: And have its own pride and, uh, its own spirit and so on. Uh, you--you've

taught English.

S: Yes, for quite a few years.

B: And, uh, uh, it seems that, uh, among Black students, uh, they're being

encouraged, now, to hang onto their dialect and have two languages, uh, and

this is sort of what we have, isn't it?

S: Yes, uh. .

B: We have a language we speak among ourselves, and we don't, uh, we don't

polish it up, but we know what we're talking about.

S: Urn-hum.

B: And, uh, it's, uh, it's a little bit different from, uh, what you might

think of as a standard language.

S: The trend is, today, that, um, you know, you can't say that any, um, language

LUM 142A 8

or grammar, or dialect is wrong and any is right. Um, the thing is, you

show them that there is a difference and, um, there's nothing necessarily

to say, well, this is right and that's wrong, but show there is a difference,

and, of course, um, but a lot of times it does, um, maybe just what you do,

uh, speak has an influence on maybe your economic and social, uh, standings

as far asfinancial standings, which all three ties in together, but you

don't try to, uh, you know, downgrade anything and say it's right or wrong.

B: Ur-hum.

S: And. .

B: Of course, if you get into this, you get into, uh, trouble over cultural

differences, don't you?

S: Yes, um-hum.

B: Now, uh, your father, uh, of course, was the son of, uh. .

S: Marcus Dial.

B: Ur-hum, and Elizabeth.

S: And Elizabeth Harris, who was supposed to, uh, have been the daughter of

Brad Harris.

B: Um-hum.

S: And I guess you could tell them more about who Brad Harris is than I could.


B: Yeah, uh, well, maybe I could.

S: But we won't go into that. (Laughs)

B: He was--he was also a veteran of the Civil War, wasn't he?

S: Yes.

B: He was a Civil War veteran. Uh, sometimes people think that, uh, Lumbee

Indians didn't fight in the Civil War, at least on the side of the South,

but some of them did, and he's Pone who did.

S: Yeah.

LUM 142A 9

B: I don't know whether they put him down as White or what, but he was--I

know he--didn't he draw a pension actually?

S: Uh, I don't know. It--I was sort of young when he died. I don't remember

that, uh, too much.,..*

B: Um-hum.

S: About that.

B: He was a cabinet maker, too, at one time, wasn't he?

S: Yes.

B: And Commissary keeper, uh, what we would call the Commissary keeper.

S: Yes.

B: Or rMOCrer,,,

S: He also made coffins. (Laughs)

B: He was, uh, he was quite happy with tools.

S: Ur-hum.

B: Uh, how old is Professor Dial? He's retiring--well, he's not retiring, is

he? He's--he's simply giving up one position for another.

S: Who? My brother?

B: Um-hum. (affirmative)

S: Uh, well he's just, ur, uh, I think he's just taking a, uh, you know, leave

of absence for a year, or well I don't--I'm not sure how long, but for a

year. I don't think he's really retiring.

B: Uhrhuh.

S: Of course he enjoys so much, he might.

B: Uh-huh, ur, I remember plowing with him as a boy, and neither of us loved

to plow very much, but, uh, we did it every summer. Um, we had quite a bit

of fun. Uh, do you remember a mule we used to have. .

S: Called Moral?

B: That youffather had, anyway, named Nell?

LUM 142A 10

S: Yes. (Laughed)

B: And she seemed to be an educated mule because, uh, uh, at noon time--when

noon time came she wanted to go to the house and get some fodder and hay

and stuff for her dinner, and she didn't wait to get to the end of the row,

she just turned out and went across the field. (Laughs)

S: Yes, I remember her quite well. I remember her throwing me one time.

B: Were you riding?

S: Yeah, trying.

B: I can still see, uh, Professor Dial in my--in my memory, uh, hanging onto

the reins and trying to keep her from trampling down the cotton and stuff,

and, uh, he just was no match for her. Nobody was really. She was really

a stubborn mule.

S: Yeah.

B: And she would clamp the bits in her mouth, and. .

S: But you know what I remember about you? You were always reading.

B: (Laughs)

S: You'ld have to look for you and you might be in the cotton barn, or the

hay loft somewhere with a book reading. (Laughs)

B: And that's for sure. Uh, he plowed Nell and I--I mean, he plowed, uh, the

mule and I plowed the--the mare, you know, the black mare.

S: Yes.

B: She was jet black and very sensitive, and I'm sure that Nell must have been

very happy when I stopped at the end of the row to pull a book out of my

pocket and start reading.

S: Yeahr

B: Trying to write poetry or something.

S: Yes.

B: Uh, I think Nell must have been politic, herself.

LUM 142A 11

S: Um-hum, could have been, and I always remember you could stay out a week

of school and come back and read the French just like, uh, you had been

there all the time.

B: I was always reading something on the side, but it was not as organized as,

uh, as it should have been. Uh, I was getting something, anyway.

S: I've often said that I thought that your name and your sister's name must

have been on every book in Prospect library, because I think you checked

out every book that was in there.

B: (Laughed) We didn't have a terribly large library.

S: No.

B: But, uh, it was--it was a pretty big task to read all the books.

S: Yes.

B: I think the things we didn't read, probably, were the encyclopedias.

S: Probably. (Laughed) That's the only thing you missed.

B: The dictionary. I don't know where--do you know where we all got that

reading, your family and mine?

S: Oh, I don't know.
B: W bookworms.

S: Yeah, I guess we have. I guess we all enjoy it. I really don't know. The

person that I know that loved to read, and especially history. She loved

to read history.

B: Um, she passed away just. .

S: Uh, in June.

B: In June.

S: Um-hum.

B: Uh, this was very tragic. She was, uh, connected with, uh, you know, church

work, uh, social work and this sort of thing. Everybody loved her.

S: Yes.

LUM 142A 12

B: And, uh, everybody called her Sugar because she was. She was Sugar.

S: (Laughed) Yes, she was known as Sugar. Very few people knew her name.

B: Urn-hum. She was--she was very sweet.

S: Ur-hum.

B: She encouraged me a lot and, uh, I always remember her with, uh, great

admiration--respect, of course. She was--she was wonderful in so many ways.

S: Yeah, she was a firm believer in education, too.

B: Un-hum.

S: Um-hum, yes.

B: Do you remember anything much about your grandfather, though, uh, Mr., uh,

Mr. More?

S: No. I must have been, oh, seven or eight when he died. I was quite young,

and I'm--I remember, you know, seeing him in the pulpit.

B: Ur-hum.

S: Uh, preaching a few times, and I remember him coming to-visit us, and what

I remember about him most, you know, is when he was sick. He was sick for

quite a while, and my mother going up to the house everyday to see him, and

then we would go back at night, and I remember this about him more than

anything, other than, you know, what I've read, and what my parents have

told me about him. I feel like I knew him all my life.

B: Uh, your mother, I've heard you speak of, uh, Mr. Hamilton McMillon, who

was the father of PSU.

S: Um-hum.

B: And the father of Lumbee Indian education, actually.

S: Yes.

B: A great friend of, uh, Indian people, and, uh, your brother, Adolf, and I

were talking the other day about him--that he was a friend of the Indians

at a time when it was extremely unpopular to be a friend of our people.

LUM 142A 13

St That's right.

B: And we were .


B: Redsprings was named in honor of the,--m, Indians, as I understood some of

Mr. Hamilton P .7 writings, you know, he said, you know, uh. Red-

springs, uh, were mineral springs.

S: Uh-huh.

B: They're supposed to be, uh. healthful, and all this, and he considered it

to be a contribution of the, uh, the Indians here, so he called it Redsprings.

S: Mmm

B: And, uh, this was quite interesting, I think, and, of course, Mr. McMillon

was of the belief and conviction that our people were direct* Iinef/

descendents of Sr WheC k 9af's lost colony. Uh, do you want to talk

about that any?

S: Um, I was thinking about in American literature, the other day, you know,

we were reading this, and, uh, I was telling the children how. of course,

uh, the children now don't remember, ou know. the word uh,

being used referring to, um, to us as and I was telling them about

it and how we resentedtit at the time.

B: And we changed to. .

S: Uh, we resented it because it was used in a negative manner, and, probably,

two thirds of the people never knew, really, what the word CrV&0 )

meant, and being used by the White man, it was, uh, didn't go too well, but,

uh, I was explaining to them that, you know, that we, uh, might be, uh,

descendents of *White's lost colony, and I told them about how the word

( lIff came about, and how we were called _____o_ at one time

in a slurring way, and really, it, uh, was something to be proud of.

B: Um-hum.

LUM 142A 14

S: But it was just the way that it was used, and most people, and a lot being
uneducated, never knew why we were called d, of course, the

White man wasn't using it in that sense anyway.

B: Ur-hum.

S: And they, uh, found this quite interesting because, um, today we don't hear

the word, and they never knew this, and this was quite interesting to them.

B: I guess the difference could be, don't you think, that, uh, well, comparison--

you could think about, uh, northern people. They don't mind being called


S: Uh-huh.

B: But they don't like being called Damn Yankees.

S: Uh-huh (Laughs) That's right.

B: But it--but today, it seems that they're--they're fond of the name even

"when you put the Damn to it.

S: Oh, yes.

B: You know, it's, uh. .

S: And it's just, uh, like, you know, the Negro now.

B: Um-hum.

S: He, uh, would have resented, a few years ago, being called Black, and today

this is what he wants to be called, Black.

B: Um-hum, or if you call him Negro, but don't mispronounce it.

S: No, don't call him Nigger, (Laughs) But they prefer Black, um, to anything

that you can call them. Anyway, the ones that I have in school, I know they


B: And I think this is almost universally true.

S: Uh-huh.

B: I don't think, uh, the Black race likes to be called Colored, uh.

S: No, no, and there's one thing about, um, them too. They're becoming very

LUM 142A 15

proud of them, uh, selves. Things that, ur, they used to, um, be ashamed

of, I guess, well, for example, now, instead of trying to straighten their

hair, they take on the Afro hair style, and it's, uh, one of the things

that they're trying to hold onto now, instead of doing away with it.

B: You know, I was privileged to, uh, lecture over at / r' College,

uh, two weeks this sum--this past school session, and, uh, we had some

very gifted Black people over there, and very well educated, and, uh, we

had a lady, uh, who unfortunately I can't remember her name, but she told

the entire history of her people in--in Negro Spirituals.

S: Um-hum.

B: And she was so impressive. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole

time. Uh, she was so sweet about that thing, and the way she told the whole

thing, uh, it was so dramatic. She was the most gifted girl in,4uh, then

another girl, who was, uh, in drama, she asked me to play Summertime for

her on the guitar, and kind of accompany her. I never practiced with her,

but I think we did okay. (Laughs) But, uh, it was quite inspiring to meet


S: Yes, I. .

B: Do you think our people have a different attitude now, uh, along similar

lines. .

S: I think. .

B: Now they're proud.

S: I think that things that we at one time, um, maybe were made to feel small

about or inferior, that now we're, uh, proud, or we're becoming proud of

these things, and at one--well, I think maybe this was due to, um, lack of

education, on, uhi ,the Indian peoples' part. They were not educated, and

they were made to feel so inferior by the White man that, maybe, we tried

to act and try to go for White, those that could, and, but now, um, .

LUM 142A 16

B: It's the other way around, isn't it?

S: It's the other way around. We, uh, we don't feel inferior. We, uh, ur, feel

that we're up there just like anyone else, and things that we at one time,

maybe tried to hide, or do, we--we're proud of it now.

B: Um-hum.

S: And this is good.

B: And I think this is something that, uh, that may puzzle some of the people

connected with the university because, uh, there were people who, uh, when

it was Pembroke State College for Indians, who actually wanted for Indians

off there, they thought it was discrimination.

S: Um-hum.

B: And, uh, that's when we lost it, uh, then it changed, and so, some of those

same officials today say, well, I don't understand people. This is what

we wanted and now we don't want it.

S: Yeah.

B: And maybe it's after you lose something that you realize how valuable it

was, or how. .

S: This is often true.

B: But, uh, human nature is, uh, uh, often--often puzzling, I guess.

S: Yes.

B: But, uh, I've always been very proud of, uh, my Indian blood, and wished

I had more of it.

S: Yes, I am too. You know there's been, uh, there has been times, many years

ago--not so many years ago, either, where--that if you could get away with

not putting Indian on an application or anything because you felt like that

you would be discriminated against, you know, you wouldn't.

B: Urn-hum.

S: And, of course, now you're proud to put it there. Of course, they.almost

LUM 142A 17

to do away with putting race on anything anymore.

B: Ur-hum, well I'm--I'm not sure I--I go for that idea. I--I. .

S: No, I'm, uh, like a teacher I heard say one time, she was filling out her

form for the teachers'-English teachers'--North Carolina English Teachers'

Association, and, of course, on there, you know, it--it said race, and she

put the human race.

B: (Laughs)

S: So that's just about the way I feel about it.

B: Well, that's nice. I would like people to think of me as a--belonging to

the human race first of-all, but in as much -as you have to identify with

somebody. .

S: Yeah.

B: Uh, and I'm always a rooter for the home team.

S: Right. Yes, I think we have a lot to be proud of.

B: If you had, uh, if Alladin should suddenly appear and say, uh, if I give you

a wish, uh, I'll let you change anything in this world you want to change

about Robeson County, what would you--would you change?

S: (Laughs)

B: Just--if you had just one thing to change.

S: One thing? Oh, dear. Let's see. It would have to be a wish that would

include many things.

B: Um-hum.

S: Uh. .

B: You're a practical woman.

S: (Laughs) Well, you know, uh, there's not as much discrimination now as there

has been, but there still'is, in all phases; employment, education, and every-

thing. I guess that's the one thing I would change, is, uh, discrimination.

B: Do away with it?

LUM 142A 18

S: Yes. Equal rights for everybody.

B: Mrs. Sampson, we've got--you've got a very distinguished husband, and he's

here, and also Mr. Bill Boll. I just wish we could include them on this

interview, don't you?

S: Yes, I wish you could. (Laughs'

B: Uh, you mentioned something about the Church and religion among our people.

Um, I know your grandfather was, uh, well, he was a religious leader, and,

uh, there've been--we were talking about educational leaders. There've been

many, uh, uh, church leaders and this sort of thing, too, haven't there?

And you were saying that .

S: Yes, well, the Indian people as a whole are a religious people, I think.

They've always--always have been, and I think, maybe, um, the Indian people

are more religious than any other race. Am I right?

B: I think so. Uh, you know, sometimes, uh, a book comes out, or somebody who's

supposed to be an authority on the American Indian, and, uh, Indian survivors,uh,

and the descendents of Indians, and so on, and they say, uh, how those Indian

survivors are just not too interested in religion, but that just doesn't

apply to us, does it?

S: No.

B: I guess we've got more churches than anybody.

S: We certainly have.

B: (Laughs)

S: Especially.in this area we have. I--we have more churches.

B: Uh, the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association has some forty odd churches alone,

doesn't it, and that's all Indian.

S: Um-hum.

B: Uh, how about the Methodist? Uh, you belong, of course, to the United

Methodist Church?

S: No, I did. Uh, before I married, but I'm a Baptist now. I belong to the Burnt

LUM 142A 19

Swamp Association. (Laughs)

B: Well, welcome to the club. (Laughs)

S: Uh, the, un, United Methodist is not just Indian.

B: Uh-huh.

S: Well, they do have this one, um, oh what is that called, the Lumbee, um,

Lumber--what is the church, um, Methodist, um, group? They're all Indians.

You know, the James Harold, and all those belong to. What are they called?

B: Uh, I'm not sure, but I know--I know. .

S: But there is.

B: That they do have a Methodist. .

S: Uh-huh, yeah.c They have a Methodist Conference that's all, uh, Indians, but

the United Methodist, uh. .

B: Reverend James Harold Woods, of course, is, uh, .

S: My brother-in-law.

B: Ur-hum, and he is such a wide awake, promising, young man. He--he's still

young. I think of him as being young.

S: Yes, I think -so.

B: And he's--he certainly is a hard worker, and he's so devoted--such a


S: Yes, he's very serious with everything that he works with.

B: Right.

S: And, of course, he, uh, he came up the hard way. His father, you know,

died when he was quite young, and, uh, I think you really learn to appreciate

a lot when, uh, this happens to you. As you grow older you--you become--

when you become an adult, that you appreciate things that maybe otherwise

you wouldn't have.

B: Urn-hum.

S: Makes you work this much harder.

LUM 142A 20

B: Of course we went through a period of time when, uh, after we were dis-

franchised in 1835. During this period our people were not allowed to

build churches or schools. We had been ejected from White schools, and, uh,

I--do you think this, uh, there might be a little resentment still attacked

to that because we were in those schools one time, and, uh, .

?: We were disfranchised.

B: Right.

S: Um.

B: We lost our right to vote, we lost the right to have schools and churches,

and, uh, a fifty year period was, uh, imposed on us as a result of this,

which is very devastating.

S: Well you don't, uh, forget these things over night.

?: 1874, wasn't it?

S: I guess it takes, uh, many generations for it, uh, for you to forget it.

B: Do you think some of our people might feel, well, if, uh, we go in and,

except for integration, in a few years they'll be wanting to, uh, change

it again and force us out? Then we'll be left stranded without any


S: Uh, no. I don't think we'll ever get back to that. Um, Indians today--

the younger generation, ur, (J say they're educated, and, uh, they

would never stand for anything like this now. I don't think so.

B: Um-hum.

S: I don't think we'll ever go back. We, uh, we know, um, the young people

today know much more and how to get things done, than our uneducated fore-

parents knew. You know, we--our foreparents took, uh, whatever was given

them. Ur, whatever the situation was, they accepted it and went along and

didn't know how to correct it.

B: Uh-huh.

LUM 142A 21

S: But today our people are educated and they're being educated, and they

just wouldn't stand for anything like this.

B: Do you have any idea at all as to how many Lumbee Indian teachers there are

in this service today?

S: No, I don't.

B: But it must be past five hundred, musn't it?

S: Oh, I'm sure.

B: Uh, we certainly. .

S: We have many of them who, uh, you know, who--young people today, not, uh,

aren't come out of college, maybe, with a teaching certificate, but yet go

into, uh, other work.

B: Ur-hum, now you've had, though--doing things more varied than they used to

then, aren't they?

S: Yeah, it used to be that, uh, we didn't know anything else to do other than

teach or farm, and so we went into teaching, but now the young people, um,

went into just about as many fields as any--anybody else.

B: Um-hum. Ur, what do you think we need most toward improvement? Have you

ever thought about that?

S: The Indian people?

B: Um-hum. (affirmative)

S: Um. .

B: Have you thought about, uh, our most pressing problems? Of course, any

community has problems.

S: Mmn, I don't know. I have to think about that, but uh. .

B: But you probably would come up with education because you're so gifted. Um,

how about Magnolia School? This is where you teach, isn't it?

S: Yeah. ?

B: And hiaB" Mr. Mark Brooks I [ over there?

LUM 142A 22

S: Right.

B: How long have you been over there?

S: Um, since 1956.

B: Ur-hum.

S: My husband before then. (Laughs)

B: Uh-huh, well, this--is this not the largest school among the Indians? I mean

traditionally Indian schools.

S: Uh, yes. Of course we have elementary, um, and, you know, high school both

there. It's--it's--it is the largest.

B: Um-hum, and how--how well integrated is it?

S: Um. .

B: Maybe it's 54A_____ G' lkiy3

S: Well, I would say it's fairly well integrated. Wouldn't you Woodrow?

B: Urn-hum.

S: Ur, I guess there's more, ur, you know, Black than Indians and White.

B: Uh, do you find more of a cosmopolitan spirit around Pembroke, say, than

you would find around, uh, the Magnolia Community, or maybe the Prospect

Community? Do you think that, uh, we have a tendency to--to merge with the

main population in thought as well as other, uh .

S: In Pembroke you say?

B: Ur-hum. (affirmative)

S: Uh, perhaps.

B: I noticed you were a little bit careful there, weren't you?

S: (Laughs)

B: Well, one thing we have. .

S: Well, I think. .

B: In our communities, and all of them--all of them--asking you this I haven't

really thought about it, uh, but there is, uh, a competitive spirit among--

LUM 142A 23

and I think a healthy--helpful, competitive spirit among the various

Indian communities. I don't know whether we go to extremes or not, but

we certainly have heartfelt ball games, don't we?

S: Yes. Used to more--more so than now. Do you remember how Pembroke and

Prospect used to be? (Laughed)

B: Uh, if we didn't beat Prospect--if we didn't beat Pembroke, uh, .

S: We hadn't done anything. (Laughed)

B: Right, and when we did, it gave us a great deal of satisfaction, didn't it?

S: Yeah.

B: (Laughed) All kinds of athletics. Uh, how about in field of--the field of

the arts. I'm'stuttering. Um, do you think our people are as gifted as

anyone, or moreso?

S: Um, I would say they're as gifted as anyone. They probably haven't had the

chance. Well, they haven't had the chance, you know, that others have had,

but I'm sure they-are just as gifted as any other people, given the same

opportunity, uh, and brought up in the same environment, they will be just

as gifted, maybe more so.

B: Um, wonder what, uh, we know that, uh, uh, from the late, uh, Proctor Oxendine,

what do you think his keenest dream was. I mean he, you know, he had a lot

of dream--lot's of dreams, uh, he was so interested in athletics, uh, he was

interested in all phases, but did--did he have a pet dream, do you think?

S: Well, I don't--I guess, uh, I'ld have to say, you know see, um, the, um,

Indian people educated to where, um, they, uh, would become to where they

knew, um, well I guess, to feel just equal to, uh, anyone else, and, uh,

with education, of course, you can fight a lot of things that--against you

as a minority race, and I think this was, uh, the one thing--to see our

people, um, educated and able to, um, do the things that other people did,

I guess, as he would say.

LUM 142A 24

B: Ur-hum, well, the, uh, do you think the, uh, industrial revolution has had

a tremendous effect on the farming efforts in this county?

S: Oh, yes, yes.

B: I can remember when you just absolutely had to plow part of the time in

order to get to school. You wouldn't have had any clothes to wear if you


S: Well, people--it's not too much fun. Well it's--you know, mechanized now

what. .


B: This is side 2 of the interview with Mrs. Sampson. Uh, do you remember

where we suddenly ran out of tape, and I was so interested in what you were

saying I didn't catch it right away?

S: We were speaking of farming and children staying out from school to work

on the farm, comparing today with, uh, a few years ago, but now we don't

have this, uh, farming is done by machine. Then the parents farm and

work in industry and the children are not missing school.

B: Ur-hum.

S: And this used to be, uh, one of the things--a study was made that as children

entered school, just as intelligent as any other children in first grade,

and by the time they reached the sixth grade, um, you know, they were behind

a couple of grades, and it wasn't, of course, that they didn't have the

ability, but they were not in school, and now the children are in school.

They do have, um, good attendance.

B: Um-hum, and that makes the difference, too, doesn't it?

S: Yes, quite a difference, because you can't get it if you're not there.

B: I know there was a time when, uh, attendance was so bad because of students

having to stay out to work that, uh, actually there was some record

LUM 142A 25

padding done.

S: Oh, yes.

B: This is something I heard, uh, .

S: You just made ure ju y cM AJf

B: A Oxendine complain about. He said, I'm not putting up the bet.

I don't do that for anybody. (Laughs)

S: Yeah, you just made sure you didn't mark the bus driver. (Laughs) Oh, but,

uh, you had to do it in order to have the pieces there in the middle of the

year when you had the students. If you didn't, then you lost teachers the

next year, and when the children did, you know, start regular attendance,

then you were overcrowded, and if you had not padded, uh, you would have

just been overcrowded in the middle of the year when the kids did come in.

B: Um-hum.

S: Because, uh, your teacher allottment was based on your average daily attendance.

Urn, you know, for so many--well, it changed--it changed several times, but

maybe the last so many months, or the first so many months, and if you didn't

pad, then you'd lose part of your teachers and then when the kids did

come in regular, you'd be overflowing in the room.

B: Um-hum.

S: So it was--we had to, uh, look out, you know, for ourselves.

B: It was the law of self-preservation.

S: We didn't have anybody else doing it for us. (Laughs)

B: That's right. Oh, me. Can you see,t uh, now, since integration--can you

see a marked change in the, uh, scholarly level? Uh, maybe I should

use some other term, uh, you know, the level of your classroom?

S: Well, I think it's good. Integration is, uh, good. I think it helps all

three races.

B: Urn-hum.

LUM 142A 26

S: And, uh, we have, uh, just as smart, uh, have the ability in all three

races. Ur, they're all the same. You have, um, poor students in all three

races, and you have good students in all three races.

B: Um-hum.

S: A d I think this is good from the standpoint that the two minority races
then are not, uh, made to feel inferior because they do see, you know that

they--they have--that some of their race has the same--has just as much

ability as, uh, the White race, and I think it shows the White race that,

um, that others 4f Us 4 W; l r them, too, no matter what color you

are, so I think it's good for all three races. I think integration is


B: Ur-hum, it's here to stay, whatever, isn't it?

S: Yeah.

B: And you might as well get used to it. Actually, uh, uh, perhaps people

are right when they say that you can't be well educated if you don't know

anything about anybody except your own race.

S: That's right, you--you're just in one vicious circle, you know, if you

don't know anything about any other race but your own.

B: And this is what our school's had for years, isn't it?

S: It is, yes.

B: Althoug an autonomy has certain.. .
XkrcecY;t A
S: iFbnoed is what we had.

B: (Laughs) Right, that may have certain advantages, uh, but there are also

disadvantages SJ4 _44 don't have new ideas coming in.

S: Right. Inbreeding's not good for anything, or anybody.

B: Well, we, uh, I don't think we have that problem much now anymore.

S: No.

B: Our people get around, uh, other people come into this, uh, community. Do

LUM 142A 27

you ever think about our community, uh, you know, this is a very unique,

uh, community geographically it's--I think of it as hide-a-way valley

because, uh, the Lumbee River Valley's entirely surrounded by swamps and

in the old days they were inpenetrable, and sometimes, uh, people--displaced

persons may have come into the community and found refuge here, uh, but, uh,

this is all very colorful to me, you know. Uh, you can conjour up all

kinds of ideas, but, uh, that also shut some things out, too, didn't it?

S: Yeah.

B: So I'm glad the gates are down anyway. Uh, were you surprised when, uh,

integration come--came--I'm very good at my Prospect.

S., (Laughs)
rt- cri of raOj54e
B: T rr .. "m-. Uh, are you--were you surprised that, uh, like

some people, uh, you know, people all--used to fear that, uh, Indians and

Blacks and people like this were clamoring to--to batter down their walls

and get in anyhow, you know, and, uh, when they didn't--when integration

did come, I guess you--you met more resistance here in Robeson County, almost,

then anywhere else, and it was among our people. It wasn't the White people

who were fighting it. It was our own people.

Si Uh, yeah.

B: And some of them still haven't accepted it.

S: No, uh, I wasn't.

B: They're not for it, anyway.

S: I wasn't surprised because, you know, it's--you could see it coming, and,

like I -said--I said several times that, um, our people were becoming

educated and, uh, they were seeing where we were missing a lot of things,

and, uh, no, I wasn't surprised.

B: Uh, did you have any ideas about tests and measures, uh, you know, there's

been some--there have been some complaints that, uh, perhaps that tests and

LUM 142A 28

measurements, uh, which were based on the main population, perhaps, uh,

weren't so fair when applied to, uh, minority groups because, uh, it was

based on the, uh, main population culture and so on, but do you see any

of that there? or do you think that, uh .

S: Well, I think, uh, I don't think it was fair, um, because you can't expect

somebody to, uh, measure up to another person if he hasn't been exposed

to, uh, i 1 S and environment, um, contributes a lot to our education,

and not to our ability, I wouldn't say, but if he hasn't been exposed to

things, he can't know about them, and it's not fair to--to test someone

against someone else, if they haven't been exposed to the same things. Do

you think so?

B: Right, I agree with you. And what you're saying, uh, we had, uh, a y ay

B you remember some of the teachers we had up at Prospect--some of the

White teachers we had, uh, who were very good, and we loved them very much,

and, uh, they were quite devoted and perhaps we were lucky that we did have

a few teachers coming in fnom outside.

S: Um-hum.

B: So we weren't, uh, stagnant, you know, we did have, uh, some new ideas

coming in.

S: Yes, um, as I've said before that we--we have ability as anyone else, but we

just haven't been exposed to the things--do you know that I took a class to,

um, Fort Bragg's Playhouse a few years, uh, oh, a couple of years ago--an

English class, and no one in that class had ever seen a stage play before?

and I tried to make a--a point to, uh, at least once a year to take a group

to see a play because they've never been exposed to these type of things.

The only thing they've seen is television and movies. Well now, you couldn't

expect someone to know about plays and to know, um, about things that he

hasn't--that he didn't-; norwa- you know. There's a difference in being-

LUM 142A 29

what is it I want to say?

B: Willfully ignorant?

S: Yes. (Laughed)

B: And otherwise.

S: Right. Uh, just because you're ignorant with some things doesn't mean that

you're--have a low mentality or something.

B: Right.

S: It just--it simply means you haven't been exposed.

B: Lack of opportunity.

S: Right. Uh, to these things, and I think maybe this is one--has been one

thing, uh, that has been missing among our race of people, is that we

haven't been exposed to, uh, you might say, the finer things of life--the

culture we're missing in that. Of course, we are making progress, but we

have been missing in the culture aspect, and this is one thing, I think,

that maybe when our teachers, um, a few years ago used to go for, you know,

the National Teacher's Exam.

B: Ur-hum.

S: Because, uh, a lot of that is, uh, culture. You know, they show you, uh,

pictures of art and they want to know if it's gothic, or this type of thing.

Well, if you've never heard of it, or never seen it, you know, then how

would you be expected to know?

B: Right.

S: Of course, the whole purpose of this thing I read and heard, uh, this

National Teacher's Exam, anyway, was to, uh, in the beginning it came about

to, uh, really teach the, urn, Black race of teachers, you know. I've heard

that. I don't know how true it is.

B: Well, it must have, uh, a grain of truth in it at least.

S: Yeah, at least they say the three lowest paid states in the union are

LUM 142A 30

three that require it. (Laughed) North Carolina, South Carolina, and


B: Uh, we've come a long way, though, with teachers' salaries, although they're

not adequate at all.

S: No, not compared to uh. .

B: Other states.

S: Other states, and, um, other jobs, you know.

B: Um-hum.

S: You take someone who finishes high school, and he, uh, lays brick, hangs

sheet rock--he makes much more than the teacher who has spent half of his

life in school.

B: Right. Preparing for his job.

S: Preparing for his job, and yet he's--he's underpaid.

B: That's uh, reminds you of somebody who went into a store and played a trick

on all the price tags, you know--switched them around while somebody was

out. (Laughs)

S: I guess we're supposed to be missionaries. (Laughs)

B: Uh, how about the political climate? Have you been affected by it, or do

you think, uh, we--our teachers are affected by the political climate. Are
&*press -tst*uAw ?
they reluctant to, uh, ?

S: Well, I don't think as much now as they have been. You know, it has been

that, uh, you just remain neutral, or else you--you didn't dare do it in

the op--open, you know, but I don't think, uh, that's true now, uh, as much

as--well, I'm sure it isn't as much as it has been i the past. Um, these

young people are wise, you know. They sayct-j t--they don't have to

teach school, Jgr*A T go do something else. I don't have to live

around here, and when we came along we had, uh, we didn't know anything

else but to teach school. We didn't know we could get out and go do something

LUM 142A 31


B: Just preach or farm.

S: Yes. (Laughs)

B: Usually three--three of the things combined.

S: We didn't know that we could, uh, leave Robeson County and do anything

else, or even get a job teaching, but young people today, um, you know,

express themselves, and they feel that, well, if I can't stay here and work,

I can always go somewhere else, and many of them don't even begin working

here. They go away as soon as they're out of college.

B: Um-hum. Uh, how does Linda like it in Washington, D.C. working with the

American. .

S: She loves her work. She's, uh, sometime not too crazy about Washington,

itself, but she--she enjoys her work.

B: Washington is a city of gray and concrete and. .

S: Yes.

B: And other things tbe-t- __ I suppose, but, uh. .

S: But she's had quite a few, um, when she worked with, um, graduate scholar-

ships for Indians, um, two years ago, um, she had quite a few good experiences--

traveling. She--just all over the United States, and even, uh, one trip

took her to Europe. In fact, she has, um, um, two trips to Europe, and by

the way, her roommate, who has been her roommate up until this year, is

co-author on, uh, the book called A Million Acres, I believe it is.

B: Um-hum.

S: Abouthe, uh, land that was taken from the Indians, and, uh, this girl,

Karen urn, come from South Dakota, I believe it is.

B: Um-hum.

S: Out from the reservation out there, and she's been in Washington--well, she

was there before Linda was there, and, um, she, and maybe it's, uh, I'm not

LUM 142A 32

who the other one is. I have her book here, but anyway, I think it's called

A Million Acres, and, uh, there's an article about it in, uh, this, oh,

what is it? Education*nIndians, and I have that e But it

was supposed to be a true--true book.

B: Um-hum. Uh, I've often said that this is the most benevolent period that

the--the American Indian has ever encountered, or experienced. Uh, people

are begging, for, uh, Indian material, uh.

S Yeah.

B: They want it. In the old days they wouldn't even listen. They, uh, seemed
to feel that all the Indian was capable of saying was Ugh and stuff like


S: I noticed where -i-n paper where we have five, uh, movies coming

to the college T_ 44 tYClt Odfl are all Indian movies. Uh, I

believe it's five of them.

B: A lot of-- lot of new books out--everything. I had the privilege of

meeting, uh, who is a Pulitzer Prize Winner, who is the head

of the English Department in--at some University in California. They call
II II ii t1
him the Man Made of Words.. The Indians call him The Man Made of Words

because he is so fluent in the English language as well as his own. Uh,

but, uh, I think this is a great opportunity for our people. If they want

to express themselves, at least somebody's willing to listen now, aren't


S: That's true.

B: I'm certainly glad I lived to see this day come, because I--I can remember

when I first started writing for newspapers, uh, I had a little trouble

with a typesetter once. Nothing I wrote ever came out correct. I misspelled

words, and I knew darn well I spelled them right, and I finally traced it

LUM 142A 33

down to the uh, the typesetter, and lino-type operator, and he was

actually, uh, on the defensive about it--let an Indian trying to talk like

a White man and write like a White man.

S: (Laughs)

B: Oh, but I'm so glad these things are changing, and. .

S: Yes, I am too.

B: Perhaps television, movies, and all this, uh, I'm sure Mr. 0.) would

know more about the movie part of it than the television part.

S: (Laughs)

B: But, uh, they certainly have had their influence, haven't they?

S: They have, that's true.

B: Well, uh, do you have any advice you'd like to pass on to younger people--

you're still young.

S: (Laughs) I wouldn't say that.

B: I'll say younger.

S: I'm counting the years to retirement now. Oh, to young people today? Um,.o.

e yourself.

B: That's great. I like that. I like that very much. Uh, you don't mean

try to imitate anybody?

S: Anybody. Don't try to be anybody but yourself, and stand up for your


B: Ur-hum.

S: Know your right and then fight for it.

B: Sometimes, uh, culture comes a little hard to us in, uh, in this valley,

and sometimes, uh, it takes time, but I was thinking as we are talking

here, of, uh, a little anecdote I might throw in there. Uh, you know, when

I went over to your school and, uh, taught poetry over there. .

S: Yes.

LUM 142A 34

B: Or-discuss poetry, of course, you don't always. .

S: I want--by the way, I want you to come back and do that again.

B: (Laughs) That's great. I--I was-this young man wasn't too hep on poetry.

Boys usually aren't as, uh, keen on poetry as girls. He--he said, uh,

let's see, how was that? He was telling me about it later--later on.,#,.

S: I can't remember. II
B: Where does that pnllj man come in?

S: Oh yes. (Laughs)

B: Oh, it reminded me of a time when I was lecturing on poetry at the--at a

college class, and, and one young man on the front, see, had gone to sleep

and Dr. Oxendine was sitting there and he JLAW hAl
"some of you are f I rEf ^ rJ We tah h ggeste

kick out of that, but I was discussing something about the Raven, and

apparently the Raven didn't interest him at all.

S: Well, I found the best way to get them interested in the Raven is to, um,

tell them all about Poe's life first. (Laughs)

B: Yeah, that really adds spice to it, doesn't it?

S: Yeah, it really does.

B: Uh, he was certainly a human kind of person.

S: Yes.

B: With all the human frailties and faults, but also, uh, the genius.

S: Uh-huh.

B: The great genius.

S: They always seem to think that writers, uh, not exactly human, or something

and I think if you can show them that they do have weaknesses like

anyone else, then this helps.

B: I discussed, um, the problems that other poets have, and we have twenty

poets on the Poet's Friend School Program in this state, and I'm fortunate

LUM 142A 35

enough to be one of them, and we were exchanging ideas in-fwly last year,

and, uh, this is quite often thought out that if you're a poet, you're

supposed to be eccentric, or a little different, or, or--but they're not

so terribly different from anybody else. I think that poets have, uh,

developed a high degree of appreciation, but I think this is generally

true of everybody in all, uh, like actors, actresses, and producers. Why

I'm sure Mr. Bill 8 would agree with me that, uh, they have developed

a high degree of sensitivity. Uh, they appreciate beauty-those things--

artistic things, uh, but they've just been exposed to them more, perhaps, or

maybe they've just been more conscious of those things.

S: Un, probably both.

B: Well, I--we certainly are appreciative of you giving us this interview. It's

been very interesting. I'm afraid I've rambled on and, and maybe disturbed

your thoughts.kt,

S: No, I've enjoyed it.

B: From time to time.

S: No.

B: Uh, but you certainly are very kind to give us this interview, and I want

to thank you very much. Uh, is there anything you would like to add?

S: No, I like your ideas that come Monday when I do give them poetry. Bring

your guitar along, or wait till I get into, uh, folk lore and let you come.


B: Well, I certainly would be glad to do that because I--I enjoyed it. Uh, I

always enjoy, uh, working with you when we have an opportunity to work to-

gether because, uh, we're interested in so many of the same things--English

and so on.

S: Well I guess we'll charge it up to that. I'll let you know when--when to


LUM 142A 36

B: (Laughs)

S: You can come and spend the day and, and, uh, meet each class. I might even

let you meet Woodrow's ninth grade class. (Laughs)

B: I like the ninth grade, by the way. Do you--you've taught in the high

school, but do you find--now I don't want--you don't--you're not going to

agree with me, anyway, unless you really feel that way, but I--for me,

personally, I'm a little different--prejudiced in favor of the ninth and

tenth grades. y ..,?

S: Well, maybe I'ld have to say ninth grade, because I've had them, uh, I had

just ninth grade for I don't know how many years, up until this year. I

do have one class of tenth and one of, uh, eleventh graders,,,,

B: Um-huh.

S: And I guess, maybe, ninth graders. Maybe because I'm--I'm grown accustomed

to them or something.

B: Well it does--it's always a challenge, though, isn't it? It--it--you never

get to the place where you take things for granted in teaching, do you?

S: No.

B: And every class is different?

S: Every class is different, and every student within that class is different.

B: And that's what--that certainly ought to make life interesting. I guess

this is why I like young people. It makes me feel young. (Laughs) I don't

ever intend to get old till I have to.

S: Well, it has a lot to do with your aging. It keeps you young and agesfyou

all at the same time. (Laughs)

B: I certainly do appreciate it. You've been very kind to have us in your home

here. You have a lovely home, too.

S: I thank you.

B: Very beautiful. On behalf of, uh, the University of Florida's History

LUM 142A 37

Department, I say thank you very much.

S: Thank you.


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