Citation
Interview with James Bruce Swett, August 12, 1973

Material Information

Title:
Interview with James Bruce Swett, August 12, 1973
Creator:
Swett, James Bruce ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Florida History ( local )
Lumbee Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Lumbee County (Fla.)

Notes

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

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:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Resource Identifier:
LUM 149 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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LUM 149A

Mr. James Bruce Swett (S)
Bruce's American Station, Pembroke, North Carolina

Interviewer:. MarilyniTaylor (I)
August 12, 1973

Typed by: P. F. Williams





1: My name is Marilyn Taylor. I am recording for the Doris

Duke Foundation under the auspices of the University of

Florida. Today is August 12, 1973. I am in mid-town Pem-

broke at a service station that's named Bruce's American

Station. And I've got a person here to interview, well,

it's no less than Bruce himself, but we'll let him tell

his full name, and would you spell that, pleasefor the

benefit of our readers and listeners? What's your full

name?

S: James Bruce Swett.

I: How many brothers do you have? I think you have some in

this area, do you not?

S: Uh, I have four.

I: You have four brothers. Sisters?

S: One.

I: One. What capacities do they serve here?

S: Well, I only have one that's living at home. He's assistant

to Dr. Johns at Pembroke State University.














LUM 149A 2







I: And his name would be?

S: Tommy Dorsey Swett.

I: Uh, he's one we hope to get an interview with if someone

hasn't already pegged him. And what was your father's

name?

S: Reverend Tommy Swett.

I: What religion or denomination was he?

S: Baptist.

I: Baptist. Missionary or Free Will or what?

S: Missionary Baptist.

I: Missionary Baptist. Is it true that preachers' kids are

the worst kind?

S: I don't think so.

I: You think your dad did a pretty good job of bringing you

up?

S: Very good.

I: And what was your mother's name, or her maiden name?

S: Bertha.

I: Bertha?

S: Bertha Swett.

I: Was her maiden name...?

S: Strickland.














LUM 149A 3







I: Strickland. Is that spelled s-t-r-i-c-k-l-a-n-d?

S: Right.

I: I know there are two ways to spell it. Bruce, are you

married?

S: Yes.

I: And who did you marry?

S: Peggy McGurk Swett.

I: Is she a local girl? Is she from this area?

S: Maxton area.

I: Did I ask you...I told you this was a study of American

Indian Oral Studies Program. What group of Indians'would

you identify...would you identify as a Lumbee?

S: I don't know what I am.

I: Robeson County Indians, American Indian, certainly.

S: Well, I guess we've been identified as Lumbee Indians.

I: I mean, well, how do you feel about that name? There's

some people that's...

S: Well, I'm not against it and I'm not all that much for it.

I: To you it's not that much to get up in arms about either

way?

S: No, I just have to be myself.














LUM 149A 4







I: Very good. How many children do you have?

S: Four.

I: Could you...names are interesting. Could you give us a

rundown on their names?

S: Jacqueline, La Breesa,NMeecha and Bruce, Jr.

I: They are interesting names. Where did you...did you just

pick them up or are they family names or did you just like

them or what?

S: We made two of them ourselves, and...

I: Made them up?

S: Yeah.

I: Which two did you make up?

S: La Breesa and La Meecha.

I: Did you take a combination of.maybe two names or something

like this, or how did you...?

S: We just...I arrived at the first one, then we went similar

with the second one.

I: I see. Well, certainly I think they're names that you

won't hear repeats unless they name...you know, get grown,

have children of their own. What's the oldest and the

youngest? Oldest child.














LUM 149A 5







S: It's a girl.

I: CAnd what's her age?

S: Nine.

I: Nine. And the youngest?

S: Boy.

I: And how old is he?

S: He's just eight months.

I: Eight months. So you have how many in school?

S: Two.

I: Two. Does your wife work anywhere outside of...

S: No.

I: She's got a full-time job at home, I know. But sometimes

the women are able to manage. Does she stay at home and

keep the family going?

S: Right.

I: That's a full-time job. How did you get in the service

station business? What would you call it?

S: Service station business.

I: How long have you been...you're the owner, the operator

and so on?

S: Right. I've been in the service station business about

two and a half years.














LUM 149A 6







I: And what prompted or led you into this?

S: Well, I was in the mechanic business and I just had the

opportunity to buy this out, and I decided I'd buy it.

The location is good.

1: I think now particularly in this time right we're in even

today that gas...you operate under the franchise of American,

right?

S: Right.

I: American, it's a chain, right?

S: Right.

I: Throughout...all through the United States or is it...?

S: Well, it's American Oil dealer, just have a jobber in this

area.

I: But the chain is throughout the United States is what I'm

asking. Is it?

S: Right.

I: Well, gas is something that's on everybody's mind. We're

in an energy crisis they tell us and things like that.

Have you experienced anything of this, having to go maybe

some days without having your pumps, you know...

S: Yes, I've experienced it.

I: Is this the first time you've ever felt this since you've














LUM 149A 7







been in the business?

S: Yes.

I: Does it seem to be a threat, or how do you feel about

it? Give us some comments on what you think brought it

all about and where is it going from here?

S: I don't have any idea. I don't know.

I: What do the jobbers...are those higher-up, do they...have

they given any expression?

S: Well, they haven't gave us any reason other than just

shortage of gas.

I: Do you think this is all the way the true picture is ,

There's a shortage of gas or is it a big shortage because

they're holding back, or what? I've heard some...

S: I expect there's holding back. I don't know for sure,

though.

I: If this is true, let's assume that it is, that they're

holding back. What reason could;-it...in your estimation

would it be to advantage or what?

S: I guess trying to get the prices in line because they've

been undersold by people that they sell gas to.

I: Um-hmm.














LUM 149A 8







S: I guess that's part of it.

I: Have you ever experienced a gas war as such here in

Pembroke since you've been here?

S: Yeah. Sure.

I: What's the lowest you've seen it go per gallon on regular,

say, regular?

S: Oh, about twenty-five cents or something like that.

I: Row long did this last?

S: It might would last a week or so.

I: And how does this affect profits and so on as...?

S: It don't affect me any.

1: It doesn't affect you any? Would you explain this? Most

people would think it would.

S: The companies support it. The oil companies support you.

I: Well, explain how this is. You're in partnership in a

sense, in one way, and then you're also...it's a...

S: No, I'm full owner.

I: Owner, but you do operate under a franchise name?

S: Well, I just buy gas from American Company. That's the

only tie.

I: In other words, you can't buy from anybody else since














LUM 149A 9







you carry this name, right?

S: No,

I: But as far as the station and the grounds and the equip-

ment, they're all...

S: Well, I rent the building, but the equipment and stock's

mine.

I: I see. What business were you in before you went into

the service station business?

S: Well, I had a garage.

I: And was this sort of a self-run thing, or mechanic or

did you...?

S: No, it's a hobby, just something. It's not what I went

to school for.

I: Well, could I ask you...would it be too personal to ask

you did, what you were interested in when you were going

to school?

S: Machinist.

I: Machinist. Well, it sort of goes along, mechanically

inclined, anyway, a little bit, doesn't it?

S: Yeah, yeah.

I: You said you just be yourself. We're in a thing that...














LUM 149A 10







...a movement...some people believe a red movement.

We've seen a black movement. Maybe it still is, I'm not

sure. It depends on what part of the country you're in,

I guess, maybe. How do you feel, have you seen any major

changes here as an Indian towards the Indians? The attitude

towards the Indians for better, for worsein your lifetime?

S: Well, there's been some changes, yeah.

I: Could you sharefhese with us?

S: Well, I'd rather not make comments. I'll just say it's

been for the better, I think.

I: It's been for the better. Well, if there is discrimination,

this is one of the things we want to bring out in the open

if the person has felt, because part of what the program

is about is to get your story down.

S: Well, I think that people are just beginning to want to

stand up for their own, where we have capabilities for

doing so.

I: In other words, you think the Indians all along have had

the ability, they just now are beginning to stand up and

and to show people.














LUM 149A 11







S: Right.

I: So to speak. And would you say that they're late in

doing this, maybe, or could they have been qualified

to have done it before now?

S: I think so.

I: What's held them back?

S: Well, I don't really know. I'd rather not get too

deep in that.

I: OK. We have a lot of interruptions here and I don't

want to...I mean, not interruptions, but background

noises of trucks going by and this is the sounds of

uptown. And when they get too noisy it seems that

we're interfering with the voices I just cut out for

a little bit. But this is uptown Pembroke. We're

almost right in the middle of it, you might say.

When you were going to school,was it integrated at

the time? Did you experience integration any in your...?

S: Not in high school years, I didn't.

I: How did you feel about integration when it came about,

for your own children's sakes, perhaps?

S: I don't think there's anything wrong with it.














LUM 149A 12







I: There's been times, I know, you have seen or felt dis-

crimination against you because you were Indian.

S: Not really, because I felt like I'm as good as anybody

else.

I: What you're saying, then, is if a person has the self-

concept then they really are. Could you say this?

S: Well...

I: Is a person conditioned to believe that maybe, you know,

that, uh...

S: A person who led to believe that they are more so than

they are.

I: Yeah, or even less than what they are.

S: Yeah, right.

I: In other words, I've heard it opinionated that this is

one of the things we need in our school for our Indians

is to raise their self-concept and then they'd do the

rest themselves.of what was needed to be done.

S: Right.

I: Just to believe in their own ability and God-given, you

know, talents and so on. Do you see it this way? I mean...?














LUM 149A 13







S: I guess it's pretty much that way.

I: What was it like to be a preacher's son?

S: .Well, it's just, uh, just like...

I: You don't have any comparison, but did you find in your

growing up that maybe your dad was a little stricter or

that some of your friends maybe could go out and do things

that you were held back in? Did you feel like you were

held back in any way?

S: Well, uh...I didn't want to do no more than I did because

I was brought up in a good home and the way you're brought

up means a lot, well, what you're gonna turn out to be in

a lot of cases. Or how strict...we were very strict, but

our father had a good rule that he always had something

for us to do, and, you know, an idle mind's the devil's

workshop, so to speak, see.

I: Right.

S: We always had something to do and I think that was the

key to his success.

I: Were you required to go to church every Sunday?

S: No, we weren't required. We wanted to go.

I: Is that right? This was just instilled in you, then.














LUM 149A 14







How would you describe your father as a preacher?

S: Well...

I: Was he an evangelist...

S: No, he was, uh...

I: ...of the old-fashioned breed, or was he...?

S: He was a broad-minded preacher, but he's...I would say

he's popular from the time he started till now. He's

seventy-five years old.

I: Is he still preaching strong?

S: Still as strong as ever.

I: Does he always go by a written form or does he have a

prepared sermon, or...?

S: He goes from the Bible and A4 \4. "Aif j.'

I: Was he of the type where he'd just get up and you don't

know what he's gonna preach about and maybe he doesn't

know himself at times?

S: No, he knows what he's gonna preach about.

I: Um-hmm.

S: I expect there's some things that comes after he gets

up there he didn't know he's gonna say, you know. I

mean, that's something I can't answer, really.



I,














LUM 149A 15







I: OK, just a minute, we'll interrupt here for a customer.

Would you say that you bring your children up pretty much

in the same way that you were brought up as a basic philosophy?

Did you daddy believe in spankings and this kind of thing?

S: Yeah, he had the Golden Rod. Instead of rule.

I: Yeah, do you still believe in this also? You know, we

went through a period there seemingly in society where

we sort of pulled away from it, but do you belive in

spankings for your children...

S: If it's needful, yes.

I: ...in terms of punishment or correction or so on?

S: Right.

I: Who's the main disciplinarian in your family? Is it you

or your wife? You mentioned you have long hours. Does

she wait for Daddy to get home to...

S: No.

I: ...put it out, or is it just whoever's there when it comes

up, or what?

S: Just depends.

I: How is it handled?

S: Well, just depends on how important it is.














LUM 149A 16







I: Is any ever saved for Daddy when he gets home when there's

discipline to do?

S: Right.

I: Do you feel this is right or how it should be...?

S: Well, both of us have council, a council about it between

ourselves.

I: If it happens when just one is present, you're saying?

Both of you talk about it beforehand, before you decide

on the discipline or take action?

S: Well, just depends what the situation is.

I: From a man's point of view how do you feel about this

thing going on now in the world of women and it's bound

to affect men somewhat, women's liberation?

S: I don't know. I've not really been following it up, not

been that concerned about it.

I: You see it's-no threat to you, anyway.

S: Right, no-threat to me.

I: We hear of women going out and joining motorcycle gangs,

leaving their kids at home and that kind of thing.

S: Well, I don't believe in it. I figure I do good to keep

my family in line, worry about mine instead of someone

else's.














LUM 149A 17







I: Right.

S: In that respect, anyway. I do want to be helpful,

though, in cases, but I want make sure my motor's running

right before I try to tune someone else.

I: OK. Do you think that a woman has a place outside of the

home?

S: In some areas. It just depends on what activities it is.

I: I was reading in one of the periodicals, magazines, I

think maybe it was Ladies Home Journal where they're having

women to be service station attendants and pumping gas and

this kind of thing. It's increased business. How do you...

in one place I think they said that the girls were required

to wear shorts or a special kind of uniform. How do you

think something like that would go over in a station like

this, in Pembroke?

S: Oh, it's probably go over fine, but...well, I don't think

there's nothing wrong with women pumping gas but I think

they should be dressed decent.

I: Yeah.

S: Because everybody don't think in the terms of hot pants.

I: True, and well said. What about women mechanics. I see














LUM 149A 18







they're coming on the scene more and more.

S: Well, if they're qualified, let them do it.

I: Women also, in the realm of talking about women, I'm not

sure but abortions have been legalized in number of states.

I'm not sure they've been implemented. How do you feel

about this, having come from a home of your background?

You're bound to have some opinion on it here. Women

argue that they should have the destiny of the control of

their own body so that they could at least have...you know,

be allowed a choice. From a male point of view, with you

coming from your experience, how do you feel about it?

S: I don't believe in it.

I: You don't think it should be?

S: I don't.

I: What do you base your opinion on? What reasons can you

give for not believing in it?

S: Well, that could be...that could get very deep. I wouldn't...

I: Well, I mean is there a religious thing? Do you base it

on religion? Is it murder or...?

S: Yeah, I think so.

I: You think it is? OK, excused just a minute. I was gonna














LUM 149A 19







ask you and maybe you consider it personal. You've told

me round about how many children you have. You're married.

Did we establish how old you are?

S: I'm twenty-eight.

I: What some of the...or one of the major changes that you've

seen most recently in Pembroke? Say for the betterment of

the Indian people, if there has been, if.

S: Lot better jobs, people's getting better jobs.

I: What do you think is the cause of this?

S: Uh, they're just stepping out, and I guess more of them's

got more education than they had, maybe. I don't know

if I could credit it all to that.

I: Let ask you this. Are you proud to be an Indian?

S: Of course.

I: Do you teach your children to be?

S: Well, I want them to be themselves, what they are.

I: Is the word Indian mentioned a great deal or much around

your house, or just the fact...?

S: Well, they know that that's what they are, and I believe

in being proud of what you areno matter what race, creed,

or color.














LUM 149A 20







I: Right. And I think on-that, this is probably one of the

shortest interviews, but you've said a great deal and you're

a very busy man, and to have given this much time we are

very grateful. And unless you can add something else or

have something to say that I haven't asked you, we'll cut

here. Let me ask you this on the Indian, if there is one

thing that you had within, your power to make happen, come

about, if you were in this position, what would that be?

S: Uh...I'd have to think that...

I: I know that's like saying what would you do if you had a

million dollars or something to a kid, but it doesn't

have to be an earth-shaking thing. It might be for .the

betterment of human relations with all races, but what

would you say?

S: Well, I try to live a Christian life and I would like for

people to live closer and love one another and try to realize

that God was the one created this universe, and...

I: That we're all here regardless of whether we're red, yellow,

white or polka-dot.

S: Right, right.

I: AndAwe have to live together, right?

S: Right.














LUM 149A 21







I: I agree with you on the part of love one another. If we

had a more of a divine neighborly brotherlyhood love, I

think that...and it was genuinely expressed, I think it'c

be a great advantage to all, not just to Pembroke area,',

but all over. Do you see this as being true?

S: Yeah.

I: All right, Bruce Swett, owner,Operator of Bruce's American

Service Station in Pembroke, I want to thank you very much

for this interview, the time you've given, I know you

had been busy, but we do appreciate it very much.

S: Thank you.

I: Thank you.





--END OF TAPE--














LUM 149A 7







been in the business?

S: Yes.

I: Does it seem to be a threat, or how do you feel about

it? Give us some comments on what you think brought it

all about and where is it going from here?

S: I don't have any idea. I don't know.

I: What do the jobbers...are those higher-up, do they...have

they given any expression?

S: Well, they haven't gave us any reason other than just

shortage of gas.

I: Do you think this is all the way the true picture is ,

There's a shortage of gas or is it a big shortage because

they're holding back, or what? I've heard some...

S: I expect there's holding back. I don't know for sure,

though.

I: If this is true, let's assume that it is, that they're

holding back. What reason could;-it...in your estimation

would it be to advantage or what?

S: I guess trying to get the prices in line because they've

been undersold by people that they sell gas to.

I: Um-hmm.














LUM 149A 14







How would you describe your father as a preacher?

S: Well...

I: Was he an evangelist...

S: No, he was, uh...

I: ...of the old-fashioned breed, or was he...?

S: He was a broad-minded preacher, but he's...I would say

he's popular from the time he started till now. He's

seventy-five years old.

I: Is he still preaching strong?

S: Still as strong as ever.

I: Does he always go by a written form or does he have a

prepared sermon, or...?

S: He goes from the Bible and A4 \4. "Aif j.'

I: Was he of the type where he'd just get up and you don't

know what he's gonna preach about and maybe he doesn't

know himself at times?

S: No, he knows what he's gonna preach about.

I: Um-hmm.

S: I expect there's some things that comes after he gets

up there he didn't know he's gonna say, you know. I

mean, that's something I can't answer, really.



I,














LUM 149A 4







I: Very good. How many children do you have?

S: Four.

I: Could you...names are interesting. Could you give us a

rundown on their names?

S: Jacqueline, La Breesa,NMeecha and Bruce, Jr.

I: They are interesting names. Where did you...did you just

pick them up or are they family names or did you just like

them or what?

S: We made two of them ourselves, and...

I: Made them up?

S: Yeah.

I: Which two did you make up?

S: La Breesa and La Meecha.

I: Did you take a combination of.maybe two names or something

like this, or how did you...?

S: We just...I arrived at the first one, then we went similar

with the second one.

I: I see. Well, certainly I think they're names that you

won't hear repeats unless they name...you know, get grown,

have children of their own. What's the oldest and the

youngest? Oldest child.














LUM 149A 11







S: Right.

I: So to speak. And would you say that they're late in

doing this, maybe, or could they have been qualified

to have done it before now?

S: I think so.

I: What's held them back?

S: Well, I don't really know. I'd rather not get too

deep in that.

I: OK. We have a lot of interruptions here and I don't

want to...I mean, not interruptions, but background

noises of trucks going by and this is the sounds of

uptown. And when they get too noisy it seems that

we're interfering with the voices I just cut out for

a little bit. But this is uptown Pembroke. We're

almost right in the middle of it, you might say.

When you were going to school,was it integrated at

the time? Did you experience integration any in your...?

S: Not in high school years, I didn't.

I: How did you feel about integration when it came about,

for your own children's sakes, perhaps?

S: I don't think there's anything wrong with it.














LUM 149A 17







I: Right.

S: In that respect, anyway. I do want to be helpful,

though, in cases, but I want make sure my motor's running

right before I try to tune someone else.

I: OK. Do you think that a woman has a place outside of the

home?

S: In some areas. It just depends on what activities it is.

I: I was reading in one of the periodicals, magazines, I

think maybe it was Ladies Home Journal where they're having

women to be service station attendants and pumping gas and

this kind of thing. It's increased business. How do you...

in one place I think they said that the girls were required

to wear shorts or a special kind of uniform. How do you

think something like that would go over in a station like

this, in Pembroke?

S: Oh, it's probably go over fine, but...well, I don't think

there's nothing wrong with women pumping gas but I think

they should be dressed decent.

I: Yeah.

S: Because everybody don't think in the terms of hot pants.

I: True, and well said. What about women mechanics. I see














LUM 149A 10







...a movement...some people believe a red movement.

We've seen a black movement. Maybe it still is, I'm not

sure. It depends on what part of the country you're in,

I guess, maybe. How do you feel, have you seen any major

changes here as an Indian towards the Indians? The attitude

towards the Indians for better, for worsein your lifetime?

S: Well, there's been some changes, yeah.

I: Could you sharefhese with us?

S: Well, I'd rather not make comments. I'll just say it's

been for the better, I think.

I: It's been for the better. Well, if there is discrimination,

this is one of the things we want to bring out in the open

if the person has felt, because part of what the program

is about is to get your story down.

S: Well, I think that people are just beginning to want to

stand up for their own, where we have capabilities for

doing so.

I: In other words, you think the Indians all along have had

the ability, they just now are beginning to stand up and

and to show people.
















LUM 149A

Mr. James Bruce Swett (S)
Bruce's American Station, Pembroke, North Carolina

Interviewer:. MarilyniTaylor (I)
August 12, 1973

Typed by: P. F. Williams





1: My name is Marilyn Taylor. I am recording for the Doris

Duke Foundation under the auspices of the University of

Florida. Today is August 12, 1973. I am in mid-town Pem-

broke at a service station that's named Bruce's American

Station. And I've got a person here to interview, well,

it's no less than Bruce himself, but we'll let him tell

his full name, and would you spell that, pleasefor the

benefit of our readers and listeners? What's your full

name?

S: James Bruce Swett.

I: How many brothers do you have? I think you have some in

this area, do you not?

S: Uh, I have four.

I: You have four brothers. Sisters?

S: One.

I: One. What capacities do they serve here?

S: Well, I only have one that's living at home. He's assistant

to Dr. Johns at Pembroke State University.














LUM 149A 9







you carry this name, right?

S: No,

I: But as far as the station and the grounds and the equip-

ment, they're all...

S: Well, I rent the building, but the equipment and stock's

mine.

I: I see. What business were you in before you went into

the service station business?

S: Well, I had a garage.

I: And was this sort of a self-run thing, or mechanic or

did you...?

S: No, it's a hobby, just something. It's not what I went

to school for.

I: Well, could I ask you...would it be too personal to ask

you did, what you were interested in when you were going

to school?

S: Machinist.

I: Machinist. Well, it sort of goes along, mechanically

inclined, anyway, a little bit, doesn't it?

S: Yeah, yeah.

I: You said you just be yourself. We're in a thing that...














LUM 149A 8







S: I guess that's part of it.

I: Have you ever experienced a gas war as such here in

Pembroke since you've been here?

S: Yeah. Sure.

I: What's the lowest you've seen it go per gallon on regular,

say, regular?

S: Oh, about twenty-five cents or something like that.

I: Row long did this last?

S: It might would last a week or so.

I: And how does this affect profits and so on as...?

S: It don't affect me any.

1: It doesn't affect you any? Would you explain this? Most

people would think it would.

S: The companies support it. The oil companies support you.

I: Well, explain how this is. You're in partnership in a

sense, in one way, and then you're also...it's a...

S: No, I'm full owner.

I: Owner, but you do operate under a franchise name?

S: Well, I just buy gas from American Company. That's the

only tie.

I: In other words, you can't buy from anybody else since














LUM 149A 5







S: It's a girl.

I: CAnd what's her age?

S: Nine.

I: Nine. And the youngest?

S: Boy.

I: And how old is he?

S: He's just eight months.

I: Eight months. So you have how many in school?

S: Two.

I: Two. Does your wife work anywhere outside of...

S: No.

I: She's got a full-time job at home, I know. But sometimes

the women are able to manage. Does she stay at home and

keep the family going?

S: Right.

I: That's a full-time job. How did you get in the service

station business? What would you call it?

S: Service station business.

I: How long have you been...you're the owner, the operator

and so on?

S: Right. I've been in the service station business about

two and a half years.














LUM 149A 16







I: Is any ever saved for Daddy when he gets home when there's

discipline to do?

S: Right.

I: Do you feel this is right or how it should be...?

S: Well, both of us have council, a council about it between

ourselves.

I: If it happens when just one is present, you're saying?

Both of you talk about it beforehand, before you decide

on the discipline or take action?

S: Well, just depends what the situation is.

I: From a man's point of view how do you feel about this

thing going on now in the world of women and it's bound

to affect men somewhat, women's liberation?

S: I don't know. I've not really been following it up, not

been that concerned about it.

I: You see it's-no threat to you, anyway.

S: Right, no-threat to me.

I: We hear of women going out and joining motorcycle gangs,

leaving their kids at home and that kind of thing.

S: Well, I don't believe in it. I figure I do good to keep

my family in line, worry about mine instead of someone

else's.














LUM 149A 12







I: There's been times, I know, you have seen or felt dis-

crimination against you because you were Indian.

S: Not really, because I felt like I'm as good as anybody

else.

I: What you're saying, then, is if a person has the self-

concept then they really are. Could you say this?

S: Well...

I: Is a person conditioned to believe that maybe, you know,

that, uh...

S: A person who led to believe that they are more so than

they are.

I: Yeah, or even less than what they are.

S: Yeah, right.

I: In other words, I've heard it opinionated that this is

one of the things we need in our school for our Indians

is to raise their self-concept and then they'd do the

rest themselves.of what was needed to be done.

S: Right.

I: Just to believe in their own ability and God-given, you

know, talents and so on. Do you see it this way? I mean...?














LUM 149A 20







I: Right. And I think on-that, this is probably one of the

shortest interviews, but you've said a great deal and you're

a very busy man, and to have given this much time we are

very grateful. And unless you can add something else or

have something to say that I haven't asked you, we'll cut

here. Let me ask you this on the Indian, if there is one

thing that you had within, your power to make happen, come

about, if you were in this position, what would that be?

S: Uh...I'd have to think that...

I: I know that's like saying what would you do if you had a

million dollars or something to a kid, but it doesn't

have to be an earth-shaking thing. It might be for .the

betterment of human relations with all races, but what

would you say?

S: Well, I try to live a Christian life and I would like for

people to live closer and love one another and try to realize

that God was the one created this universe, and...

I: That we're all here regardless of whether we're red, yellow,

white or polka-dot.

S: Right, right.

I: AndAwe have to live together, right?

S: Right.














LUM 149A 21







I: I agree with you on the part of love one another. If we

had a more of a divine neighborly brotherlyhood love, I

think that...and it was genuinely expressed, I think it'c

be a great advantage to all, not just to Pembroke area,',

but all over. Do you see this as being true?

S: Yeah.

I: All right, Bruce Swett, owner,Operator of Bruce's American

Service Station in Pembroke, I want to thank you very much

for this interview, the time you've given, I know you

had been busy, but we do appreciate it very much.

S: Thank you.

I: Thank you.





--END OF TAPE--














LUM 149A 2







I: And his name would be?

S: Tommy Dorsey Swett.

I: Uh, he's one we hope to get an interview with if someone

hasn't already pegged him. And what was your father's

name?

S: Reverend Tommy Swett.

I: What religion or denomination was he?

S: Baptist.

I: Baptist. Missionary or Free Will or what?

S: Missionary Baptist.

I: Missionary Baptist. Is it true that preachers' kids are

the worst kind?

S: I don't think so.

I: You think your dad did a pretty good job of bringing you

up?

S: Very good.

I: And what was your mother's name, or her maiden name?

S: Bertha.

I: Bertha?

S: Bertha Swett.

I: Was her maiden name...?

S: Strickland.














LUM 149A 6







I: And what prompted or led you into this?

S: Well, I was in the mechanic business and I just had the

opportunity to buy this out, and I decided I'd buy it.

The location is good.

1: I think now particularly in this time right we're in even

today that gas...you operate under the franchise of American,

right?

S: Right.

I: American, it's a chain, right?

S: Right.

I: Throughout...all through the United States or is it...?

S: Well, it's American Oil dealer, just have a jobber in this

area.

I: But the chain is throughout the United States is what I'm

asking. Is it?

S: Right.

I: Well, gas is something that's on everybody's mind. We're

in an energy crisis they tell us and things like that.

Have you experienced anything of this, having to go maybe

some days without having your pumps, you know...

S: Yes, I've experienced it.

I: Is this the first time you've ever felt this since you've














LUM 149A 13







S: I guess it's pretty much that way.

I: What was it like to be a preacher's son?

S: .Well, it's just, uh, just like...

I: You don't have any comparison, but did you find in your

growing up that maybe your dad was a little stricter or

that some of your friends maybe could go out and do things

that you were held back in? Did you feel like you were

held back in any way?

S: Well, uh...I didn't want to do no more than I did because

I was brought up in a good home and the way you're brought

up means a lot, well, what you're gonna turn out to be in

a lot of cases. Or how strict...we were very strict, but

our father had a good rule that he always had something

for us to do, and, you know, an idle mind's the devil's

workshop, so to speak, see.

I: Right.

S: We always had something to do and I think that was the

key to his success.

I: Were you required to go to church every Sunday?

S: No, we weren't required. We wanted to go.

I: Is that right? This was just instilled in you, then.














LUM 149A 19







ask you and maybe you consider it personal. You've told

me round about how many children you have. You're married.

Did we establish how old you are?

S: I'm twenty-eight.

I: What some of the...or one of the major changes that you've

seen most recently in Pembroke? Say for the betterment of

the Indian people, if there has been, if.

S: Lot better jobs, people's getting better jobs.

I: What do you think is the cause of this?

S: Uh, they're just stepping out, and I guess more of them's

got more education than they had, maybe. I don't know

if I could credit it all to that.

I: Let ask you this. Are you proud to be an Indian?

S: Of course.

I: Do you teach your children to be?

S: Well, I want them to be themselves, what they are.

I: Is the word Indian mentioned a great deal or much around

your house, or just the fact...?

S: Well, they know that that's what they are, and I believe

in being proud of what you areno matter what race, creed,

or color.














LUM 149A 3







I: Strickland. Is that spelled s-t-r-i-c-k-l-a-n-d?

S: Right.

I: I know there are two ways to spell it. Bruce, are you

married?

S: Yes.

I: And who did you marry?

S: Peggy McGurk Swett.

I: Is she a local girl? Is she from this area?

S: Maxton area.

I: Did I ask you...I told you this was a study of American

Indian Oral Studies Program. What group of Indians'would

you identify...would you identify as a Lumbee?

S: I don't know what I am.

I: Robeson County Indians, American Indian, certainly.

S: Well, I guess we've been identified as Lumbee Indians.

I: I mean, well, how do you feel about that name? There's

some people that's...

S: Well, I'm not against it and I'm not all that much for it.

I: To you it's not that much to get up in arms about either

way?

S: No, I just have to be myself.














LUM 149A 15







I: OK, just a minute, we'll interrupt here for a customer.

Would you say that you bring your children up pretty much

in the same way that you were brought up as a basic philosophy?

Did you daddy believe in spankings and this kind of thing?

S: Yeah, he had the Golden Rod. Instead of rule.

I: Yeah, do you still believe in this also? You know, we

went through a period there seemingly in society where

we sort of pulled away from it, but do you belive in

spankings for your children...

S: If it's needful, yes.

I: ...in terms of punishment or correction or so on?

S: Right.

I: Who's the main disciplinarian in your family? Is it you

or your wife? You mentioned you have long hours. Does

she wait for Daddy to get home to...

S: No.

I: ...put it out, or is it just whoever's there when it comes

up, or what?

S: Just depends.

I: How is it handled?

S: Well, just depends on how important it is.














LUM 149A 18







they're coming on the scene more and more.

S: Well, if they're qualified, let them do it.

I: Women also, in the realm of talking about women, I'm not

sure but abortions have been legalized in number of states.

I'm not sure they've been implemented. How do you feel

about this, having come from a home of your background?

You're bound to have some opinion on it here. Women

argue that they should have the destiny of the control of

their own body so that they could at least have...you know,

be allowed a choice. From a male point of view, with you

coming from your experience, how do you feel about it?

S: I don't believe in it.

I: You don't think it should be?

S: I don't.

I: What do you base your opinion on? What reasons can you

give for not believing in it?

S: Well, that could be...that could get very deep. I wouldn't...

I: Well, I mean is there a religious thing? Do you base it

on religion? Is it murder or...?

S: Yeah, I think so.

I: You think it is? OK, excused just a minute. I was gonna





Full Text

PAGE 1

'\ LUM 149A Mr. James Bruce Swatt . (S) Bruce's American Station, Pembroke, North Carolina Interviewer:, Marilyn(Taylor (I) August 12, 1973 Typed by: P. F. Williams T: My nrune is Marilyn Taylor. I am recording for the Doris Duke Foundation under the auspices of the University of Florida. Today is August 12, 1973. I am in mid-town Pem broke at a service station that's named Bruce's American Station. And I've got a person here to interview, well, it's no less than Bruce himself, but we'll let him tell his full name, and would you spell that, please 1 for the benefit of our readers and listeners? What's your full name? S: James Bruce Swett. I: How many brothers do you have? I think you have some in this area, do you not? S: Uh, I have four. I: You have four brothers. Sisters? S: One. I: One. What capacit~es do th~yserve here? S: Well, I only have one that's living at home. He's assistant to Dr. Johns at Pembroke State University.

PAGE 2

LUM 149A 2 I: And his name would be? S: Tommy Dorsey Swett. I: Uh, he's one we hope to get an interview with if someone hasn't already pegged him. And what was your father's name? S: Reverend Tommy Swett. I: What religion or denomination was he? S: Baptist. I: Baptist. Missionary or Free Will or what? S: Missionary Baptist. I: Missionary Baptist. Is it true that preachers' kids are the worst kind? S: I don't think so. I: You think your dad did a pretty good job of bringing you up? S: Very good. I: And what was your mother's name, or her maiden name? S: Bertha. I: Bertha? S: Bertha Swett. I: Was her maiden name ? S: Strickland.

PAGE 3

LUM 149A 3 I: Strickland. Is that spelled s-t-r-i-c-k-1-a-n-d? S: Right. I: I know there are two ways to spell it. Bruce, are you married? S: Yes. I: And who did you marry? S: Peggy McGurk Swett. I: Is she a local girl? Is she from this area? S: Maxton area. I: Did I ask you I told you this was a study of American Indian Oral Studies Program.< What group of Indians :would you identify.would you identify as a L1.UD.bee? S: I don't know what I am. I: Robeson County Indians, American Indian, certainly. S: Well, I guess we've been identified as L1.UD.bee Indians. I: I mean, well, how do you feel about that name? There's some people that's S: Well, I'm not against it and I'm not all that much for it. I: To you it's not that much to get up in arms about either way? S: No, I just have to be myself.

PAGE 4

LUM 149A 4 I: Very good. How many children do you have? S: Four. I: Could you.~.names are interesting. Could you give us a rundown on their names? S: Jacqueline, La Breesa~Meecha and Bruce, Jr. I: They are interesting names. Where did you did you just pick them up or are they family names or did you just like them or what? S: We made two of them ourselves, and I: Made them up? S: Yeah. I: Which two did you make up? S: La Breesa and La Meecha. I: Did you takea combination of_maybe two names or something like this, or how did you ? S: We just I arrived at the first one, then we went similar with the second one. I: I see. Well, certainly I think they're names that you won't hear repeats unless they name you know, get grown, have children of their own. What's the oldest and the youngest? Oldest child.

PAGE 5

LUM 149A 5 S: It's a girl. I: %~'And what's her age? S: Nine. I: Nine. And the youngest? S: Boy. I: And how old is he? S: He's just eight months. I: Eight months. So you have how many in school? S: Two. I: Two. Does your wife work anywhere outside of S: No. I: She's got a full-time job at home, I know. But sometimes the women are able to manage. Does she stay at home and keep the family going? S: Right. I: That's a full-time job. How did you get in the service station business? What would you call it? S: Service station business. I: How long have you been you're the owner, the operato1: S: and so on? Right. I've been in the service station two and a half years. business~ about

PAGE 6

LUM 149A 6 I: And what prompted or led you into this? S: Well, I was in the mechanic business and I just had the opportunity to buy this out, and I decided I'd buy it. The location is good. I: I think now particularly in this time right we're in even today that gas you operate under the franchise of American, right? S: Right. I: American, it's a chain, right? S: Right. I: Throughout all through the United States or is it ? S: Well, it's American Oil dealer, just have a jobber in this area. I: But the chain is throughout the United States is what I'm asking. Is it? S: Right. I: Well, gas is something that's on everybody's mind. We're in an energy crisis they tell us and things like that. Have you experienced anything of this, having to go maybe some days without having your pumps, you know S: Yes, I've experienced it. I: Is this the first time you've ever felt this since you've

PAGE 7

LUM 149A 7 been in the business? S: Yes. I: Does it seem to be a threat, or how do you feel about it? Give us some connnents on what you think brought it all about and where is it going from here? S: I don't have any idea. I don't know. I: What do the jobbers are those higher-up, do they have they given any expression? S: Well, they haven't gave us any reason other than just I: shortage-of gas. Do you think this is all the way the true picture is1 There's a shortage of gas or is it a big shortage because they're holding back, or what? I've heard some S: I expect there's holding back. I don't know for sure, though. I: If this is true, let's assume that it is, that they're holding back. What reason coulddt in your estimation would it be to advantage or what? S: I guess trying to get the prices in line because they've been undersold by people that they sell gas to. I: Um-hnnn.

PAGE 8

LUM 149A S: I guess that's part of it. I: Have you ever experienced a gas war as such here in Pembroke since you've been here? S: Yeah. Sure. 8 I: What's the lowest you've seen it go per gallon on regular, say, regular? S: Oh, about twenty-five cents or something like that. I: How long did this last? S: It might would last a week or so. I: And how does this affect profits and so on as ? S: It don't affect me any. \ f\ I: It doesn't affect you~any? Would you explain this? Most people would think it would; S: The companies support it. The oil companies support you. I: Well, explain how this is. You're in partnership in"a sense, in one way, and then you're also it's a S: No, I'm full owner. I: Owner, but you do operate under a franchise name? S: Well, I just buy gas from American Company. That's the only tie. I: In other words, you can't buy from anybody else since

PAGE 9

LUM 149A 9 you carry this name, right? S: No, I: But as far as the station and the grounds and the equip ment, they're all S: Well, I rent the building, but the equipment and stock's mine. I: I see. What business were you in before you went into the service station business? S: Well, I had a garage. I: And was this sort of a self-run thing, or mechanic or did you ? S: No, it's a hobby, just something. It's not what I went to school for. I: Well, could I ask you would it be too personal to ask you di.d, what you were interested in when you were going to school? S: Machinist. I: Machinist. Well, it sort of goes along, mechanically inclined, anyway, a little bit, doesn't it? S: Yeah, yeah. I: You said you just be yourself. We' re in a thing that

PAGE 10

LUM 149A 10 a movement some people believe a red movement. We've seen a black movement. Maybe it still is, I'm not sure. It depends on what part of the country you're in, I guess, maybe. How do you feel, have you seen any major changes here as an Indian towards the Indians? The attitude towards the Indians for better, for worse~in your lifetime? S: Well, there's been some changes, yeah. I: Could you sharethese with us? S: Well, I'd rather not make coI!Dllents. I'll just say it's been for the better, I think. I: It's been for the better. Well, if there is discrimination, this is one of the things we want to bring out in the open if the person has felt, because part of what the program is about is to get your story down. S: Well, I think that people are just beginning to want to stand up for their own, where we have capabilities for doing so. I: In other words, you think the Indians all along have had the ability, they just now are beginning to stand up and and to show people.

PAGE 11

LUM 149A S: Right. I: So to speak. And would you say that they're late in doing this, maybe, or could they have been qualified to have done it before now? S: I think so. I: What's held them back? S: Well, I don't really know. I'd rather not get too deep in that. I: OK. We have a lot of interruptions here and I don't want to I mean, not interruptions, but background noises of trucks going by and this is the sounds of uptown. And when they get too noisy~it seems that we're interfering with the voices I just cut out for a little bit. But this is uptown Pembroke. We're almost right in the middle of it, you might say. When you were going to school,was it integrated at 11 the time? Did you experience integration any in your ? S: Not in high school years, I didn't. I: How did you feel about integration, when it came about; for your own children's sakes, perhaps? S: I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

PAGE 12

LUM 149A 12 I: There's been timej, I know, you have seen or felt dis crimination against you because you were Indian. S: Not really, because I felt like I'm as good as anybody else. I: What you're saying, then, is if a person has the self concept then they really are. Could you say this? S: Well! I: Is a person conditioned to believe that maybe, you know, that, uh S: A person who they are. led to believe that they are more so than I: Yeah, or even less than what they are. S: Yeah, right. I: In other words, I've heard it opinionated that this is one of the things we need in our school for our Indians is to raise their self-concept and then they'd do the rest themselves.of what was needed to be done. S: Right. I: Just to believe in their own ability and God-given, you know, talents and so on. Do you see it this way? I mean ?

PAGE 13

LUM 149A 13 S: I guess it's pretty much that way. I: What was it like to be a preacher's son? S: . Well, it's just, uh, just like I: You don't have any comparison, but did you find in your growing up that maybe your dad was a little stricter or that some of your friends maybe could go out and do things that you were held back in? Did you feel like you were held back in any way? S: Well, uh I didn't want to do no more than I did because I was brought up in a good home and the way you're brought up means a lot, well, what you're gonna turn out to be in a lot of cases. Or how strict we were very strict, but our father had a good rule that he always had something for us to do, and, you know, an idle mind's the devil's workshop, so to speak, see. I: Right. S: We always had something to do and I think that was the key to his success. I: Were you required to go to church every Sunday? S: No, we weren't required. We wanted to go. I: Is that right? This was just instilled in you, then.

PAGE 14

LUM 149A 14 How would you describe your father as a preacher? S: Well. I: Was he an evangelist S: No, he was, uh I: of the old-fashioned breed, or was he ? S: He was a broad-minded preacher, but he's I would say he's popular from the time he started till now. He's seventy-five years old. I: Is he still preaching .. strong? S: Still as strong as ever. I: Does he always go by a written form or does he have a prepared sermon, or ? s: He goes from the Bible and tJ.tt-v1''s f ef ffrr? M ,'~e,.te~ I: Was he of the type where he'd just get up and you don I t know what he's gonna preach about and maybe he doesn't know himself at times? S: No, he knows what he's gonna preach about. I: Um-hmm. S: I expect there's some things that comes after he gets up there he didn't know he's gonna say, you know. I mean, that's something I can't answer, really. /

PAGE 15

LUM 149A 15 I: OK, just a minute, we'll interrupt here for a customer. Would you say that you bring your children up pretty much in the same way that you were brought up as a basic philosophy? Did you daddy believe in spankings and this kind of thing? S: Yeah, he had the Golden Rod. Instead of rule. fee1~ 't5 1 \Ah I: Yeah, do you stil]Abelieve in this also? You know, we went through a period there seemingly in society where we sort of pulled away from it, but do you belive in spankings for your children S: If it's needful, yes. I: in terms of punishment or correction or so on? S: Right. I: Who's the main disciplinarian in your family? Is it you or your wife? You mentioned youhave long hours. Does she wait for Daddy to get home to S: No. I: put it out, or isit just whoever's there when it comes up, or what? S: Just depends. I : How is it handled? S: Well, just depends on how important it is.

PAGE 16

LUM 149A 16 I: Is any ever saved for Daddy when he gets home when there's discipline to do? S: Right. I: Do you feel this is right or how it should be ? S: Well, both of us have council, a council about it between ourselves. I: If it happens when just one is present, you're saying? Both of you talk about it beforehand, before you decide on the discipline or take action? S: Well, just depends what the situation is. I: From a man's point of view how do you feel about this thing going on now in the world of women and it's bound to affect men somewhat, women's liberation? S: I don't know. I've not really been following it up, not been that concerned about it. I: You see it's-no _ threat to you, anyway. S: Right, no-threat to me. I: We hear of women going out and joining motorcycle gangs, leaving their kids at home and that kind of thing. S: Well, I don't believe in it. I figure I do good to keep my family in line, worry about mine instead of someone else's.

PAGE 17

LUM 149A 17 I: Right. S: In that respect, anyway. I do want to be helpful, though, in cases, but I want make sure my motor's running right before I try to tune someone else. I: OK. Do you think that a woman has a place outside of the home? S: In some areas. It just depends on what activities it is. I: I was reading in one of the periodicals, magazines, I think maybe it was Ladies Home Journal where they're having women to be service station attendants and pumping gas and this kind of thing. It's increased business. How do you in one place I think they said that the girls were required to wear shorts or a special kind of uniform. How do you think something like that would go over in a station like this, in Pembroke? S: Oh, it's probably go over fine, but well, I don't think there's nothing wrong with women pumping gas but I think they should be dressed decent. I: Yeah. S: Because everybody don't think in the terms of hot pants. I: True, and well said. What about women mechanics~ I see

PAGE 18

LUM 149A 18 they're coming on the scene more and more. S: Well, if they're qualified, let them do it. I: Women also, in the realm of talkingaboutwomen, I'm not sure but abortions have been legalized in anumber of states. I'm not sure they've been implemented. How do you feel about this, having come from a home of your background? You're bound to have some opinion on it here. Women argue that they should have the destiny of the control of their own body so that they could at least have you know, be allowed a choice. From a male point of view, with you coming from your experience, how do you feel about it? S: I don't believe in it. I: You don't think it should be? S: I don't. I: What do you base your opinion on? What reasons can you give for not believing in it? S: Well, that could be that could get very deep. I wouldn't I: Well, I mean is there a religious thing? Do you base it on religion? Is it murder or ? S: Yeah, I think so. I: You think it is? OK, excused just a minute. I was gonna

PAGE 19

LUM 149A 19 ask you and maybe you consider it personal. You've told me round about how many children you have. You're married. Did we establish how old-you are? S: I'm twenty-eight. I: What some of the or one of the major changes that you've seen most recently in Pembroke? Say for the betterment of the Indian people, if there has been, if. S: Lot better jobs, people's getting better jobs. I: What do you think is the cause of this? S-: Uh, they're just stepping out, and I guess more of them's got more education than they had, maybe. I don't know if I could credit it all to that. I: Let ask you this. Are you proud to be an Indian? S: Of course. I: Do you teach your children to be? S: Well, I want them to be themselves, what they are. I: Is the word Indian mentioned a great deal or much around your house, or just the fact ? S: Well, they know that that's what they are, and I believe in being proud of what youa-e,no matter what race, creed, or color.

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LUM 149A 20 I: Right. And I think on.that, this is probably one of the shortest interviews, but you've said a great deal and you're avery busy man, and to have given this much time we are very grateful. And unless you can add something else or ' have something to say that I haven't asked you, we'll cut here. Let me ask you this on the Indian, if there is one thing that you had within, your power to make happen, come about, if you were in this position, what would that be? S: Uh I'd have to think that I: I know that's like saying what would you do if you had a million dollars or something to a kid, but it doesn't have to be an earth-shaking thing. It might be for ,the betterment of human relations with all races, but what would you say? S: Well, I try to live a Christian life and I would like for people to live closer and love one another and try to realize that God was the one created this universe, and I: That we're all here regardless of whether we're red, yellow, white or polka-dot. S: I: Right, right. ~o;t AndAwe have to live together, right? S: Right.

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LUM 149A 21 I: I agree with you on the part of love one another. If we had a more of a divine neighborly brotherlyhood love, I think that and it was genuinely expressed, I think it 1 d. be a great advantage to all, not just to Pembroke area,', but all over. Do you see this as being true? S: Yeah. I: All right, Bruce Swett, owner,Operator of Bruce's American Service Station in Pembroke, I want to thank you very much for this interview, the time you've given, I know you had been busy, but we do appreciate it very much. S: Thank you. I: Thank you. --END OF TAPE-