Title: Interview with Mr. Gid Richardson (July 2, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007170/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Mr. Gid Richardson (July 2, 1974)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: July 2, 1974
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: UF00007170
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 193

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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INTERVIEWEE: Mr. Gid Richardson

DATE: July 2, 1974

B: This is July 2, 1974. I'm Lew Barton recording for the University
of Florida's History Department, and their American Indian Oral
History program. This afternoon we're near Hollister, North
Carolina. I'm in the home of Mr. Gideon Richardson, who has
kindly consented to talk with me.
Brother Richardson,you were very kind to talk with us. I
worked over here. I taught school one year over here[Haliwa
Indian School], and I met you when I was first over here. Then
I lived here a year longer than that, and we worked at your little
church[Mt. Gideon Baptist Church]. It's called Gideon Chapel?

R: St. Gideon Baptist Church.

B: How far is Hollister from here?

R: Two miles.

B: Right in this area here is the area of the Haliwa Indians, right?

R: Right, that's right. Right in here.

B: I always feel at home, because you're one of us and we're one of

R: That's right.

B: It's always a joy to visit with you and see how you're making
out. How are things coming these days?

R: Oh, well, very good, except we have it a little tough in the
home. My wife, being ill and everything like she is, it makes
it mighty tough.

B: Now, who was it you married?

R: Roxy Rudd. She was a Rudd before I married her.

B: How old are you now, brother Richardson?

R: Seventy-four.

B: And how old is sister Richardson?

R: Eighty. Well, you have to pardon me a minute. I got to go to her;


she's a-wanting me.

B: Brother Richardson is back. He had to do some things for sister
Richardson. She's comfortable, now isn't she?

R: Yes, quite comfortable right at the time.

B: Brother Richardson, what is her trouble?

R: Oh, well, I can't tell you, she has so many different things.
The doctor said she had some heart trouble, some dropsy, rheumatism
all over, and she lost her sight, you know, so that just throwed
her to the bed.

B: Yes, I certainly hope she gets along.

R: I hope so. But she's in bad shape now.

B: I wanted to talk to you about the rest of our Indian people, and
what we're doing in the church program, and so on. Would you like
to talk about the church some?

R: That'd be all right.

B: That's something close to your heart, I guess.

R: Yes, sir. My whole heart is the church,you know.

B: Yes, sir.

R: It's 'cause it just grieves me, 'cause I can't be there with 'em
like I want to, but still I can't leave my wife off when I .
now, don't do that.

B: How is the little church doing?

R: Well, it seems like it's picking up a little bit better and I'm
so glad of that I don't know what to do. It seems like we're picking
up a little bit more.

B, The church is located right here, near to where you live, isn't it?

R: Yes, sir.

B: You have a Sunday School every Sunday?

R: Yes, sir.

B: How about the preaching service?


R: Preaching service, second and fourth Sunday.

B: Who does your pastoring right now?

R: The Reverend C. H. Richardson.

B: That makes two Baptist churches that you have among your

R: That's right, two.

B: The Haliwa Indians.

R: Two. Yes.

B: They're my people too.

R: Yes, I know that.

B: How many children did you and sister Richardson have?

R: We only got five of mine, but she had two with her other
husband, so it makes seven of them. But just five of them is
only mine. I have to make that distinction, you know.
Because the other ones isn't mine, but are just like mine
was no difference.

B: Could you tell us their names and ages? Fathers don't
usually remember ages. Let's see how well you can

R: The old, the oldest boy is fifty-seven years old, and the
oldest girl is fifty-six.

B: The oldest boy is fifty-seven, and his name is?

R: Acy Richardson.

B: And what is the oldest daughter's name?

R: Annie Richardson; she married a Richardson right on.

B: That's two of 'em; now let's think of the others' names.

R: Now, let's see--Lizzie Ella; she's fifty-one I believe. She's
a Burgas, though. She married a Burgas. Well now, Tempie,
she married a Lee, you know. Tempie Lee--she's the one that
invited you out. She's fifty, I believe.


B: And she married a Richarson?

R: Married Eugene Lee. Yes, she married a Lee. Well, now, the other
one is Mayola Richardson; she married a Richardson right off.
Yeah, she's still a Richardson. She is forty-nine; I don't
remember exactly. And lona, she married a Reid. She's forty-
seven. Myrna, I believe, she's forty-one now; she's the baby
girl. So that's all seven of them.

B: Do you know how many grandchildren you have?

R: No, sir. The last count I had was fifty. I don't remember whether
there's been some more born since or not. And great-grandchildren,
just by the piles. I couldn't tell you how many.

B: Well, that's good. The Lord's certainly blessed you, hasn't he?

R: Yes sir, been wonderful to me.

B: Have you lived here all your life?

R: Well, right here in this community, yeah; right here in this
community all my life.

B: Maybe we ought to wait for a little bit and explain exactly where
we are.

R: About two miles from Hollister.

B: How far are we from Rocky Mount, which is the biggest town that's

R: About fifteen miles, I believe. Yes, it is.

B: And this is in Halifax county?

R: Yeah.

B: And the Haliwa Indians are located in Halifax and in Warren

R: That's right.

B: Are there some of them in Nash County?

R: Yes, there is some every which a way.

B: Now, the folks over here are about scattered out from the folks
back home, now.


R: Yeah, that's right.

B: You have to go off to find opportunities to earn a living, don't .you?

R: Yeah, that's right.

B: Warrenton is the county seat of Warren County?

R: That's right.

B: And Halifax is the county seat of Halifax?

R: That's right.

B: And the name Haliwa comes from the names of both counties, doesn't

R: That's right. That's where both counties joined together.

B: Yes, sir.

R: That's where they got that name from.

B: Of course, the Indian people here are older than the counties,
aren't they?

R: That's right.

B: Since before there was any county?

R: That's right.

B: Who is your leader in your community? You want to say a word about
your leader?

R: Brother Robert Richardson.

B: Do you call your club anything in particular? Or is it just the
Haliwa Indian Club?

R: Yes, the Haliwa Indian Club.

B: And as I understand, it is very active.

R: Yes, sir.

B: People here are very much interested in things pertaining to Indian
affairs, and improving the lot of the Indian people everywhere.


R: Oh yes. That's right.

B: Not only ourselves, but other people.

R: That's right.

B: Other Indian people.

R: We have a lot of people now working with us here trying to help us
out here with your church. There's a lot of white people; they've
joined in out here with us and and just helping carrying on Bible
school and different things, and just helping out wonderful.

B: Well, that's quite an improvement over just a few years back, isn't

R: Yes, sir,it is.

B: I remember when I was working up here and getting the church
organized, some of the white people were a little reluctant to
help. I don't know if they're insincere or not, but after awhile
they saw that the people were sincerely interested in getting
the church started. Then they helped you, didn't they?

R: Yes sir, that's right. Yes sir, they doing mighty fine now,
I think. The pastor from down here at Harris's Chapel, he's
working over here with us some. Another young fella from
Henderson, he's working some with us over here. He's in Sunday
school most every Sunday morning. Mrs. Wallace down here,
she's been working with 'em out there. Her daughter, Mrs.
Sternbeck over here, she's working out there with them. So I
think they're doin' wonderful.

B: Is this the white lady that runs the grocery store?

R: No.

B: Some relative of hers?

R: No. This is another Sharon back this away.

B: Brother Richardson,what about the school situation? Integration
came in, didn't it?

R: Yes, sir.

B: And is it pretty well all complete, do you think?

R: I don't know. We've had a whole lot to drop out of school on account


of not getting along just like they ought to in school. They just
wasn't satisfied in the way they had to get along.

B: Now, of course, you had your own school until integration.

R: That's right. Yes, sir.

B: What year was it that H.E.W. came in and said that, you know....

R: Let me see now. You got me so that I can't remember. I'm so....

B: Back home the big year was 1970, and I believe yours might've been
a little earlier than that.

R: I think it was about 1967 or '68, I believe.

B: Now, the building you're using for the clubhouse, you used for
a school building?

R: That's right.

B: A private school?

R: Yes sir, a private school. And it was doing fine, we thought, and
just all at once integration just come in and just wiped it out,
some way or another.

B: Do you think people were satisfied with the private school?
I mean our own people?

R: Yes, sir, that they were' Yeah, I got a boy lives here with me.
He just got out of school. He was in Spring school at the
time, and they just put him back a year for some cause. Nobody
don't know why. His work had been good, and they put him back for
some cause. He said if they had to put him back for a year he was
goin' to just stop; so he did. It was about wrong; I couldn't help
After, he went out into other schools over here at Eastman
school. Well, some of them fell out then, lack some ways, and we
don't how it was, but we just know they said they weren't goin'
back, and they didn't go. But it seems a whole lot of them have
got along very nicely.

B: Well, I certainly hope it works out. Now, the Indian students who
were going over here at the Haliwa Indian school are now, probably
going to several different schools, aren't they?

R: Yes, sir.


B: Eastman was one of them?

R: Eastman was one, Pine Chapel one, and Springs was one
they've been in since then. All three of them have been in since,
the majority of 'em.

B: Yes, sir. Well, maybe they'll get adjusted, and it'll all work
out good. I guess it's just one of these things that can't be

R: Yes.

B: The Cherokee people had a fine school system set, and they were
doing so well a number of years ago, and then they lost their school
system and they were set back a long time. But of course the students
here have been integrated into the regular county school system,
Halifax and Warren counties.

R: Yes, right.

B: Indian people don't like to be divided too much, brother Richardson
do they? They love each other so.

R: No, they don't like too much of this bein' divided. The majority
of them will be of their own.

B: Do you think we're pretty clannish? We like to stick together,
don't we?

R: Well, the majority of us is that way. We like to stick with each

B: Why do you think this is? For self-protection maybe, or as long as
we're together we feel at ease? What do you think it is,brother
Richardson? Why do we stick together?

R: Well, I don't know why, but it's always been so that the Indian
people, the majority of them stuck together.

B: Now, if a group of us could go from see, like the people who
went to Baltimore. Now, you have a group that goes from here to
Philadelphia, I believe.

R: Yes.

B: But when they go away from home, do they still stick together like

R: See, some of them do, some of them don't. But the majority....

B: The majority sticks together?

R: Yes, sir.

B: Well, I know our people, they've got a whole colony on Baltimore
Street in Baltimore, Maryland. And if you go in other towns where
they are, you usually find them together--maybe not in as big a
group, but still together.

R: Yeah, most of the time together.

B: And usually when our people here go off, don't they usually get
'em a church group going pretty soon, or a religious group?

R: Well, yes, they do, a whole lot of times. The head of my club went
out from this one up here. Over in Washington they tell me they
started up. The Indian people was over there, trying to work them
into a club over there, and said it's done very good one.

B: We've got a lot of people in Washington now.

R: Yes, sir. We've got people now just everywhere.

B: This year we graduated back home five law students at once, which
we needed very badly.

R: Yes, that's a wonderful thing I think, too. I was glad to hear
about that.

B: How are Indian students doing around here in their school work,

R: Some is doing real good.

B: You've had a number of teachers within recent years, haven't you?

R: Yes, sir. That's so. They've just done real good, I think.

B: Do you have any trouble getting them placed now with the integration
situation what it is?

R: Not too much.

B: Usually pretty fair, you feel?

R: Yes. They usually work together very good, I think.

B: How is Mr. Merzy Mills doing?


R: Fine, so far as I know. You know, they built another church back
over here now.

B: You'll have a third church now?

R: Well now, this is a white church here. They just joined another
denomination somehow or another, got them another church here.
I believe it's called the Church of God.

B: Our people here have two churches among themselves?

R: That's right. Two.

B: What is the name of the other church? I know, but I want you to
tell me.

R: Mt. Duffle.

B: Yes, sir. And the minister that serves you, serves at the other
churches. Does he also serve over here?

R: That's right. Yes.

B: How about relations between our people here and our people back
in Robeson County?

R: Fine.

B: Do they get along good, help each other?

R: Yes, sir. They love them.

B: Last year, of course, we're having our annual Lumbee Homecoming
on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, I think, which will mean
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They have four days this
year, instead of one and two and three as we've had in the past.
But I noticed that our Haliwa Indians from here are always repre-
sented there, and I had the pleasure of meeting the queen, a very
beautiful girl. Mr. W. R. Richardson was there, and the year
before that, he came up on the platform, and he and I signed a
form together. I believe he had a princess; he had named the
princess, and also the queen. Do you know whether they've
named the queen this year?

R: Yes. I think they have, but I can't remember who she is exactly.

B: Well, I'll tell you one thing, you've got a lot of beautiful girls
to choose from.

R: Yeah. I don't remember which one they said they choose. But


anyway, they'll be up there this week--some of them will, I'm

B: I'm looking forward to that. I hope you can make it. Maybe you
ought to load up and go with.....Brother Barto Locklear, by
the way, is over here visiting with me, as you know.

R: Yes.

B: We'd be very happy if we could take you back.

R: Yeah, I would be very happy to go.

B: Mrs. Richardson, too, if she were not ill.

R: Yeah, I'd be the happiest thing you ever saw, to go. But no way I
can. I would be happy to be there. No way I could do that this

B: Yes. You don't see any possibilities of the Indians falling apart,
do you? The club coming to pieces, and just forgetting about

R: Not too much of that. I can't see none of that anywhere. It
look like they need time to get a little closer.

B: Our people are more earnest now, it seems, than ever.

R: Yes sir, and we've got a whole lot of new ones coming in, ones that
ain't been stickin' with us. A whole lot of 'em are coming over.

B: How about your young people? Are they taking an interest in

R: Yes sir. A whole lot of 'em.

B: Do you choose a chief every year?

R: No, we don't.

B: Is Mr. W. R. Richardson the chief?

R: Yes.

B: Well, do you have an assistant chief too?

R: Yeah. I think they told me that brother Percy Richardson was an


B: That name Richardson is about as numerous here as Locklear is back
home. They say if you go into a public meeting, and you say, "Will
Mr. Locklear please come forward?", you might have a riot because
everybody might just about stand up and come forward. And the
name Richardson is just about as numerous here as Locklear is back

R: Yes.

B: Being in addition to the Richardsons, you have Rudds. What are some
of the others?

R: Rudds, Reids, Lynches. We just got a whole lot of different ones.

B: You have some Lees.

R: Yeah.

B: Now, it's about 160 miles from where we are at this moment to where
we lived back in Robeson.

R: Yeah, about 160 miles. What they told me all the time.

B: And this is right near the Virginia line, isn't it?

R: Yes, not too far from the Virginia line.

B: This is not in western North Carolina, but in Northern?

R: Northern North Carolina.

B: Northern part of the state.
Uh, I just want to ask you if you have an opinion about .
in this state right now, we have a state Indian commission. For the
first time within the past decade we formed an American Indian
commission in the state that sort of looks out for Indian affairs.
Do you hear any talk about it? Is it doing any good, or ?

R: We got some people working out from there through the community.

B: You do make contact, and they are doing something?

R: I believe so. Yes, sir. We got some people working' through the
community here now come out from some of the heads of the
Indian affairs.

B: Well, we've got our headquarters in Raleigh now, which we didn't
have until a few years ago. The first appropriation was very
tiny. I don't remember how much it was off-hand, but it wasn't
very much.


Indians complained that it was inadequate, but I believe they've
increased it some, and maybe eventually we'll get enough money to
do some real good; more than we've been able to do. You can't do
anything without money, can you?

R: That's the truth. Well, you know Mrs. Lucetta Rudd, she come out
from Raleigh. She's working' through this community.

B: I see. Well, that's good.

R: Yes, sir.

B: That's one of your own?

R: Yeah, one of our own people right down here.

B: That's good. Because we certainly think that all the Indian groups
ought to be represented in everybody's treaties we write.

R: That's right.

B: Now, which boy is the one that lives at home with you?

R: Eddie Marsh, he's been here with us all his life. He got a Reid,
but most of the folks came in the name of Richardson. 'Cause he's
been with us all his life.

B: Yes, sir. He's a grandchild, or an adopted child?

R: A grandchild.

B: Well, I'm sure he's a blessing to you.

R: Yessiree. If it weren't for him, half the time it would be mighty

B: How about uh, how about some of the girls? Like, your granddaughters
I taught in school, how are they doing?

R: Oh, doin' fine, and still talking' about you.

B: Is that right?

R: Yeah, still talking' about you. Some of 'em say they believe that if
they could've kept coming to you, they could've been something .

B: Oh, me. Children grow up very fast, don't they?


R: Yes, they does.

B: They're all probably married.

R: Yeah, most of 'em.

B: Have families and all.

R: Yes.

B: I certainly enjoyed working with them.

R: Yes. Well, they enjoyed you too.

B: Our people over here are always so warm, brother Richardson, that
it's always been a pleasure working' here.

R: Yeah.

B: How about brother Barto Locklear? He's been with me, and I
understand he comes pretty often. Does he come pretty often?

R: Oh yes, brother Barto Locklear, he's visited real often.

B: Is he a blessing to you?

R: Yes, sir. He's mighty wonderful over here at the church.

B: Yes, that's certainly good.

R: Yes, sir.

B: He's certainly a wonderful minister.

R: Yes, sir. Just let me say this. Sunday, I went out to get some of
them out to pass him some money to put in the offer. About time I
was going out there, I heard him start to praying. So I walked right
up side the door; I wasn't prepared to go in. I walked right up
side the door and stopped. And that was one of the wonderfulest
prayers; I can't forget it. I come back and told my people, I said,
"Well that's the greatest praying you'll most ever witness. It's
just done me more good than anything."

B: Is Reverend Burns from up around home?

R: He's from up there at your place. Rufus Burns.

B: Oh, yeah. I know who you mean. Well, I can't tell you how
appreciative we are that you're willing to talk with us on this


tape recorder. I don't know how our tapes run, but is there anything
you'd like to leave for young people? You have always worked
closely with your young people, and they all depend on you, and they
all love you. You have a wonderful gift with young people. When
you and I are dead and gone and passed on, this tape will be
around sort of as a memorial. You can think of it that way.

R: I'll just tell you the young people is my delight. I'm talking
with them all the time, begging and pleading with them to get right
with God and stay in the right place. And as you just said,
there's so many of them, if they don't love now, I don't know what
they mean.

B: They do. I'm sure they do. You can tell it when they're around you.

R: Yeah.

B: You know.

R: Uh huh.

B: It's very evident.

0 R: Yes, sir. Not one, but from everywhere. I had some some of my
people to come here from Baltimore, Maryland, and brought some
children hadn't ever seen them before. They come in fine and love
me just like I don't know what; just like they been known' me all
the time. Just the way the people had taught 'em while they were

B: You know, when I'm lucky enough to come over this way, I get hugs
from people, from eighty and ninety on down to little children.

R: Oh, certainly.

B: I don't get to see the young people as often as I like; I don't
get to see anybody as often as I want to. But-they've always been
so wonderful, and whatever little we were able to do, they were so
appreciative, Brother Richardson, and I hope and pray that
uh your work here will continue, and when you and I pass on that
others will carry it on.

R: Yes, sir. Thank you. I hope that it will too, because it hurts
me to think that I can't be with 'em. I told my wife some time
ago. I said, "It looks like to me if we could've just stayed
there with 'em, there's a whole lot of 'em been doing better than
these in the church."

B: Well, they have to have their training and they have the zeal if


those people will provide the wisdom which they have. The older
people don't have as much energy, and they do not supply as much
zeal. Although you don't lack for zeal.

R: That's right.

B: The young people always have zeal and energy and so on, and they're
easily enthusiastic and idealistic, and we need all those things.
What thrills me is to see the older people in the church, and the
younger people working together.

R: Yes, sure. That's wonderful.

B: You're all going to make a church now.

R: Yes, it does.

B: And everybody has a place. Everybody has a gift. What happened
to the girl that used to pray?

R: Man, she prayed a prayer a few nights ago out here. They're
going back to having prayer meeting at the church on Friday nights,
and she prayed another one of them prayers the other Friday nights.

B: Is that right?

R: Yes sir. She's a prayin' girl.

B: Well, she certainly is. I hope I'll be able to see her and more
of the folks while I'm over here.

R: I'm enjoying mighty fine talking' with you, but there's somebody
standing' here wants to see. There's somebody here wants to speak
to you.

B: Okay, that's fine. We can just drop it right here. Brother
Richardson, we interrupted this interview right there because some
of your grandchildren came in, and of course, I had to have some
nice hugs out of all of them. Some of the children came in. Now,
which ones of the children were those? Would you name 'em for me,
the ones who came in?

R: Robertson Lee, Ada Marsh, and Bernadine and Joy and Irene. That was
all of them.

B: They're marvelous children, and they show that they've had good
training from their grandfather and their grandmother. Mrs.
Richardson has been such a wonderful influence.



R: Yeah, we have done our best to try and get 'em all to be just as
nice as they could everywhere and with everybody.

B: Yes, sir. And they are.

R: Sometime it's a tough to, it looks like, but then the other
people can tell me they can see some benefit of what was bein'

B: Right. They're so well mannered.

R: Yes, sir.

B: Beautifully mannered children. All the children that I've met in
this community are nice children.

R: Well, I'm thankful to hear that. I can hear that from everywhere
and everybody, most. They come around and tell me that same thing.
I'm mighty proud of it.

B: In this community, we haven't gotten away from the good old methods
of bringing up children, have we?

R: No, sir; not yet awhile. No, we're still trying. People are trying
harder it look like now to get the children to be in the right
attitudes than they were before.

B: Yes, sir. And of course in the Indian communities you don't spend
so much what you read in a book in psychology and all that,
but it's just good old God-fearing, home-raising, teaching of good
manners; teaching them all the things they should know, just in a
good old Indian way.

R: Yes, sir.

B: I think those methods work pretty well, too, don't you?

R: Yes, sir. They do.

B: Can you see that parents have changed any since you was a boy?

R: Oh yes. Lots of 'em have.

B: They're not as rigid on discipline and that sort of thing now, are

R: No.

B: When you were a young man courting, can you remember back that far?


R: Yes, sir.

B: I bet you can. You certainly got a good memory. How about
bedtime, say, when a young man came to see a.....

R: Well, back in them days when I was going back to courting and
going on at nine o'clock, there weren't no need to say nothing
but be giving you a half-leave, because it was bedtime then. You
know that wherever you went.

B: And if you didn't do it, someone would remind you pretty fast.

R: Yeah, right quick.

B: That's the way it was in the community back home, too. Do you
think we're more lenient with our young people now, or are
we stricter with them, or what?

R: Well, no. They's not as strict with 'em as they was then. Nothing

B: I'm sorry that we have to terminate this interview at this point,
but Mrs. Richardson is in need of assistance from Mr. Richardson.
We want to thank him so very much, for giving us this enlightening
interview. Thank you so much, Brother Richardson, for giving us
this interview.

R: Yes, sir. I'm sorry I have to cut off so much.

B: We understand how it is. We can terminate it at this point.
Thank you so very much.

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