Title: Mrs. Spaulding Carter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007175/00001
 Material Information
Title: Mrs. Spaulding Carter
Physical Description: Book
Publication Date: 1973
Copyright Date: 1973
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007175
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
completed 5/2/75
INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Spaulding Carter with several songs sung
and played by her husband, Spaulding Carter.
October 28, 1973 dib
I: This is October 28, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the
University of Florida's History Department and the Doris Duke Founda-
tion's American Indian Oral History Program. This afternoon I am
in the ( .\ area about seven miles from St. Paul and
about seven miles from Lumberton. I am in the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Spaulding Carter, and Mrs. Carter has consented, kindly consented to
give us an interview. Mrs. Spaulding, your last name is not, your
husband's first name is Spaulding, isn't it?
C: That's right.
I: And your last name is...
C: Carter.
I: ...Carter.
C: That's right.
I: Who were you before you married?
C: I was the daughter of John and Janie Bell Porter.
I: John and Janie Bell Porter. That's P-o-r-t-e-r?
C: P-o-r-t-e-r.
I: And Spaulding is spelled S-p-a-u-l-d-i-n-g, right? And that's his
first name, your husband's first name. How old are you Mrs....
C: Forty-six.
I: ...Carter? Forty-six. How long have you been living here in the

Page 2. dib
C: We moved here in June the twenty-third of nineteen sixtv-two.
I: How many children do you have?
C: Well, I have one. I had- been married before, I have one by my
previous marriage. And I have these other two since I've been married
? /fs-/- f/'/? .
I: Would you mind giving us their names and ages, or is that asking
for too much?
C: No, the oldest one, the one I had by the previous marriage is
Arthur James Senior.
I: How old is he?
C: He's twenty-five years old.
I: Is that the young man I met earlier?
C: That's the young man you met earlier.
I: He's a lot of fun.
C: And the little girl, the next oldest one is thirteen years old,
and her name is Sandra She is adopted. The little boy
is the next and he is William Porter Junior...
I: Oh, _
C: ...also adopted, and he's nine years old.
I: And how old is the other one we just passed? The first one you said
was adopted?
C: Oh, she's thirteen.
I: Thirteen, uh huh. She's very cute, too. I teased her just a little
bit. That takes care of all the children, right?
C: That takes care of all the children.

Page 3. dib
I: Now your husband, tell me a little something about him. He's
very interesting.
C: He is, Winston Carter and She was a
before she married.
I: How old is he?
C: Which is which are Carter, his uncle.
I: How old is your husband?
C: My husband is forty-six.
I: Threre's several interesting things about you and your husband
that we'd certainly like to get on this interview. One thing, I'd
like to interview your husband later on, because he plays the most
authentic music of this area that I have heard, and I wanted to talk
to you particularly about some experiences you had at the Department
of, Welfare Department. They've changed the name to something else,
but we'll say the Welfare Department. And you were reading the earlier
statement that you had read. Would you mind reading that on the tape
for me?
C: Alright.
I: O.K.
C: This is Mrs. Spaulding Carter and I got disabled to work, and went
to a doctor, A.J. Watson for d c/rck-& ,
I: Here in Lumberton?
C: In Lumberton. And he told me that I had arthritis and I would need
help for a long time. So I also had an infection in my head. So I

Page 4. dib
was trying to help out another lady and her two kids, that had nowhere
to stay. Her husband had run off because she was
I: What was her name?
C: Her name was Nancy Jones. And she was also going through the Welfare
Department for food stamps, and I went along with her. So they sent us
to the church community center. for clothes for her kids over
there. So while we were over there the lady over there told me I should
be getting food stamps, that I was disabled to work. And nobody in the
family was working but my husband along with this lady to help her out.
I: How much was he earning?
C: He was earning about eighty-five cents an hour, and so she wrote
us a paper and gave it to me to go to the Welfare Department to see if
I could get help there, and I also for these, also for these two kids
that I got...
I: Right.
C: That had no home that I took, and for the other lady's two kids
and for her. So I went over there. We went together, and they turned
me down in the food stamp department, and they turned me down on the
check department or they made out like they'd wait. They'd check up
on the things and see could they help me. So then they told her, they
h 'e
took her in the room by herself and told her she'd getja place to stay,
but they'd help her. So she did. So they gave her aLeLr' two dollars
I'" her t a 4
worth of food stamps-the next week and it gave her,/made alet.--
They fixed that paper for her to get a check, and while she was here she
received a check for a hundred and forty-eight dollars and ninety-two

Page 5, dib
dollars worth of food stamps-and they turned me down completely.
I: Did they say why?
C: No, they gave me the run-around. I came one day and they sent me
to one lady and the next day they sent me to another one. And they
called all of them Miss Adams. But I knew that, I aked them how many
Miss Adams did they have there? So they sent me to a lady the last
time and I asked her was her name Miss Adams, too, and she said it was
Miss Bull. And she got up and told me that if I had a job I wouldn't
work. But they had told me to go to the doctor and get papers from
the doctor and take to them, that I was disabled to work and they'd
help me, and I went and got the papers. Then she turned me down and I
took the papers when she told me I had a job and wouldn't work,and walked
out with them.
I: And did the doctor's affidavit say that you were unable to work?
C: Said that I was disabled to work...
I: I see.
C: ...and I need help. And so I took them and walked out with them
and the head man in the office walked out to the car and begged me for
it till he got them back, and he said if I go back to the doctor and
get another paper that he'd see that I got some help. I went back and
got the other paper and took it back up there to him, and I still didn't
get nowhere. They wanted birth certificates and everything else, and
I got them and sent them to her.
I: When they made their decision did they mail you a form saying what
their decision was?
C: That I had been turned down and I wouldn't receive no help. But any-

Page 6. dib
time I wanted to I could open the case back up, and they'd work on it.
But they never told me I, they told me I'd been turned down for help.
I: And you feel like you were unfairly treated?
C: I feel like I was unfairly treated through the whole deal.
I: Do you feel that you were discriminated against because you're
an Indian?
C: I feel I was discriminated against because I was an Indian. The
simple reason why I do is because this other lady was a white lady,
and they told her she'd get herself a place else to go, they'd help
her, and they did. And me trying to help her to start with. And they
gave her food stamps and money and wouldn't give me neither one.
I: That's very sad isn't it?
C: It sure is. I feel like I was discriminated against because I was
an Indian after they separated us and I told them so.
I: What did they say to you then when you told them that?
C: "Oh, no. That ain't the reason. That ain't the reason." But
they never did give me no reason why.
I: Did you try to reopen the case?
C: I tried to get my papers back to take to an insurance company where
I had borrowed some money, because they say if you're disabled to work
there you pay for an insurance that will pay your bill, and they wouldn't
give them back to me. I went to circuit court, tried to get them back,
and talked to John B. and And they said
they couldn't get them back. The only way...
I: Is that the solicitor?

Page 7. dib
C: That's the solicitor, and the only way that I could get them back
was to take out papers for them, take on them, that they
were my papers. And then I was liable not to get them back. So they
still got them I reckon.
I: And what did they say about returning the papers?
C: They refused to give them to me. I called on the phone and told
that I'd like to have them back to carry to the insurance company, and
she told me that I couldn't get them. I'd have to go back to the doc-
tor and get another one. I said if you're not going to help me, they're
no good to you. And they will help me out still. I can get help still
from the bills I owe if I had those papers. But she refused to give
them to me.
I: Now were you going to try in some other channels to get help?
C: No, I was going to take them to the insurance company where I had
borrowed money. You pay your, pay insurance at the time when you get
disabled to work and unable to pay your bill, then the insurance company
will take care of your bill...
I: I see.
C: ...till you get back disabled, till you get back able, I mean.
I: In other words you would have had to go through all this same thing
C: All the same thing over again, because they refused to give me the
I: And they didn't give you any excuse for not returning them?
C: No excuse whatsoever, excepting they belonged to them. They weren't

Page 8. dib
I: When you went over there, Mrs. Carter. how did they treat you?
Did they treat you courteously ?
C: No, sir. They sure didn't. How I got in, they wouldn't let me in.
They was in there sitting at the table laughing and talking, the people
standing out there in lines from the road to the building, and the
building was full, and I went around and went into the back door.
I: How long is it from the building to the road? How long was the line
outside would you say?
C: Oh, there was, I bet you there was two hundred people out there.
I: And some of them had been there since they opened up?
C: Had been there, some of them was on crutches, some of them was sitting
down, some of them looked like they, well, they just weren't even hardly
able to stand there. That's the truth. And I was almost as bad as they
I: Is, has it been that way each time you went to the Welfare Department?
C: It was that way, yes, sir, everytime that I've ever been there.
I: They call it...
C: It's a string of people.
I: They call it...
C: And most of them was Indian people.
I: They call it the Department of Social Services, I happened to remember.
C: That's right, they do.
I: Is this a habitual thing? Is it this way every\ime you go to the Wel-
fare Department, is this long line there that...
C: Yes.
I: ...that lines up early in the morning...

Page 9. dib
C: Yes, sir.
I: ...and waits throughout the day.
C: Waits throughout the day. And then they have to go home, and they
ain't going to sell them no more, they ain't going giving out no more
food stamps.
I: They don't...
C: They can't see nobody else after.
I: They see how many, about how many would you say they see in a day?
C: She told me that they saw fifty-five, I believe, during the day.
I: But the line is usually two hundred long...
C: That's right.
I: ...or something like that. Do you think they're understaffed over
there, that they don't have enough people to take care care of all the
C: Well, I don't know about that. But I tell you what I do know, and
when I went into the back door there and there's like I told you I did,
they was all gathered in the room sitting there Cui(UQf(jf~ talking and
drinking coffee.
I: And they weren't processing the papers?
C: Weren't doing a thing in this world, and all of the people standing
out there. I told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves. Them
poor people, some of them so sick and crippled and on crutches, and some
of them in casts, and things like that, and they sitting there laughing
and talking.
I: Do you know how many people they had doing actual interviewing?
C: Oh, there was about, let's see, there was quite a few of them. There

LUM 198A
Page 10. dib
were three or four women in one room, and they had different departments
in rooms and different women in three or four little rooms.
I: And were those interviewers busy all the time or were they in the
room talking and laughing, too?
C: They were in the room talking and laughing and a going on. No,
they weren't busy all the time.
I: How long did it take before you got a reply after you originally
applied? I mean when you first went and applied, how long was it before
you got a reply, a decision from them?
C: About two or three months.
I: How long did it take you to get in in the first place, I mean when
you started?
C: About two weeks.
I: It took you about two weeks to ever get there. Would you have to go
there each day and stand in line?
C: You have to go there each day and stand in line. Now Miss Hawker over
at the Community Center made the appointment one week, and she told me
that she had made the appointment and told me to be there. And I went
and the lady told me that she hadn't made me an appointment. Miss Hawker
said, I went back to the Community Center and told her. She said, "I
know I did. You go back over there and you wait. They'll call you."
So I went back. She must, she called them, because it wasn't long after
I went back that she, they called me in there.
I: Mrs. Carter, the group which is known as the Tuscarora Indians,
they have been over there and there have been demonstrations in front of
the Welfare Department time after time, and do you feel that these demon-

Page 11. dib
stations are fully justified? I want you to answer in your own way
and say anything that you want to say, because this is a free country
and whatever you want to say I want you to say it and say exactly how
you feel about it.
C: Well, I tell you this, I feel like that if they don't do something
they ain't no never get nowhere. They're going to have to start doing
something to surprise them and to shake them up a little bit in some
I: And you feel that then that these demonstrations are justified, that
something has to be done.
C: I feel that these demonstrations are justified, and it's something
that has to be done, and if they don't keep it up and keep going on and
doing something and trying to get help for the Indian people, that they'll
never get nowhere at all.
I: Do you think there's any improvement at all in the system since
the demonstrations began?
C: I don't know about that. Not at the Health Department I don't know
about it. I don't really know. But there ain't been no improvement in
a lot of other ways and things that the Indian people has had to put up
with right off. Because I've noticed that there have been some improvement
in the colored people, but I haven't seen any good improvement in the
Indian people yet. I've seen different things that the Indian people
have been into recently that have started out. But I haven't seen much
improvement come out of it yet.
I: The law has kind of tightened down on the movement, on the Tuscarora

Page 12.. dib
movement, and a lot of the Tuscarora leaders were arrested. Do you
think this is the wrong use of power, that they're trying to tighten
down on the people so they'll take whatever they hand out to them?
C: They're trying to tighten down on them so they'll, they're trying
to scare them is what they're trying to do so they'll back up and take
whatever is handed out to them and do the best they can, and live.
And everything they do and go at they're trying to push them around right
on. and they'll remain unless they, I think that the law should not
be arresting these people, because they hadn't really gotten a crime
against them, not a thing in this world, that they're doing that trying
to scare them, and trying to scare the rest of the Indian people to keep
them from doing anything.
I: Do you think they have actually succeeded in scaring some of the In-
dian people?
C: No, sir. They ain't succeeded and they're not going succeeding. And
they just as well to give up and try to help them out, try to help them
make a living.
I: And do you think that the movement is going to get more and more
militant and more and more demanding...
C: Absolutely.
I: ...until they do something.?
C: Absolutely, the movement is going to get worse and it eventually,
if they don't do something whenever they start up again,if they don't
do something,they're going to be surprised.
I: Is the movement, do you know anything about the movement much? I mean,

Page 13. dib
is it as strong as it used to be?
C: No, I don't know too much about it. But they're still working
on it. I do know they're still at it.
I: Yes.
C: But they're just waiting around to see what they're going to come
up with.
I: You're not a member of the Tuscarora group are you?
C: No.
I: But they, of course, their demands are not only for themselves...
C: They're for me, too.
I: ...but for all Indian people...
C: That's right.
I: ...as I understand it. Well, it's very sad.
C: It sure is.
I: Do you know of anybody else who has had similar experiences when
they tried to receive help from the Welfare Department?
C: Oh, yes. My daddy many years ago, he got down flat on his back and
played that way for two years. He had a stroke. Couldn't even walk nor
talk. And we had to feed him with a spoon, and he tried to get help
from welfare, and my mother, she's seventy-five years old, and she's
been at it for years and they just started giving her a check. About a
forty some, about a forty-three dollar check or something. That's what
she, I ain't never seen the check the reason I payed it no attention. But
that's all she gets from them now, and she's seventy-five years old. Just
started getting them. And he didn't get ...

Page 14. dib
I: It took about two years to get this started?
C: Two years? That was in 1950 whenever all this was started. She
had been trying to get help. They took her papers and throwed them in the
trash, and throwed them in the trash at the Welfare Department, and him
laying flat on his back, and somebody having to stay with him night and
day and sit and watch over him. And somebody had to buy groceries and
all that, and his pills was fifty cents a piece and he had to have one
a day. That's the truth.
I: Do you think our people are getting angry about this kind of treat-
C: Our people is, all of them is angry about it.
I: And do you think then that eventually there will be trouble over
the way they're treated?
C: I think that there will be trouble. I sure do.
I: This is very sad. Do you have any other comments you'd like to add
to that?
C: No, not really. But I think if they ever mess around and we can let
them get started I don't believe they'll never stop them. That's the
I: Why do you think they treat the Indians this way? Just becuase
they're Indians?
C: I really don't know. Just because they're Indians is all I know.
I: Is it\racial prejudice or what?
C: I think it's because they know they got authority and we ain't got
no authority, and they can dojustlike they want to. And one white person

Page 15. dib
will back up another one. If you go to one to ask for help and he 911-l i 17
turn you down, he'll call the other one and say, "You coming over there?"
And you'll go over there and they'll turn you down, too. That's the
way it's always been in my book. Ut seen it.
I: Well, this is very disturbing, because naturally everybody should
be treated alike, and everybody, the law should apply to everybody equally.
Do you think we're making any progress?
C: Well, I think we might be making some, towards help from the govern-
ment and that sort.
I: And how about...
C: But not with these people around Lumberton, North Carolina, St. Pauls
and places like that.
I: But you don't think things are better for what we call the poor
people? I consider myself a poor person, too. The poor people, the
grassroots people, the people who are the closest to the hurt of life
and the problems of life. The poor people.
C: Well, it's better in some ways and some ways it's not. It's no
good in some ways and good in some ways. Becuase I remember when an
Indian person couldn't get a job in a factory or a plant not nothing
like that. They had I went to. the first
time I started working. They didn't have, they wouldn't let me in there
in Lumberton. And I went to, and worked five years and
two months up there. I went up there and got me a job the first time
I began to work.
04: olboet
I: iWaslRobeson County is a depressed area.

Page 16. dib
C: That's right.
I: And there isn't enough industry in the county, that's one thing.
C: But there was enough at that time that quite a few people was
working. But they wouldn't let no Indians in no plant that
I: Do you think, let's take the Converse Plant for example, do you think
they're giving fairer treatment to the Indians than the other industries
which were in here previously?
C: No, I don't think so, becuase I used to work there, too.
I: How were you treat when you worked for Converse? Did you work for
Converse, or did you work for Goodrich before it became...
C: I worked for Goodrich.
I: ...before it became Converse?
C: Before it became Converse. That's right.
I: Did they have any unions at all?
C: No, they had no union at all.
I: Were there any attempts made to establish unions later on?
C: Oh, yes. Quite a few of them.
I: Wonder what happened. Were they, they were not successful evidently.
C: They were trying to scare the working people from voting for it. And
everyone they knew that had anything to do with it or would talk to any
of them about it, they'd fire them. Find some way to kick him out of
the plant. Change their job and give it to somebody else, or something
like that. They changed me. That's why come I ain't working anymore.
They changed me and pushed me around like that. But I hadn't said any-

Page 17. dib
thing about no union, becuase I don't know too much about it.
I: Well, there haven't been any unions established in this county
up to this state that I know of.
C: WEll, I think there should be.
I: People need representation I suppose in any area.
C: That's right.
I: And could you tell us some of the working conditions at the plant
when you worked there?
C: At Goodrich?
I: Uh huh.
C: Oh, they wanted you to work like you were fighting fire. They
wanted you to work like dog, and I sat there and in about two weeks
time they gave me the belt. And they asked me could I carry it, and
I told them I could, because I have been working long enough that I
was used to, I knew what work meant. And I carried the belt and they
raised my pay up. But they couldn't stand that because I was helping
out the other girls on the belt, and they took me off from that belt
and put me on the other one and gave two blocks on the belt. They
didn't give me one no more. It was two. And they had the girl, the
supervisor had the girls putting in, you were supposed to put twelve
shoes in a block, and they had them putting in where from fifteen to
nineteen, and gave me two blocks on the belt and told me I had to
carry it. And I hadn't even never done the operation before.
I: And this is what they call making production?
C: This is what they call, I don't know what they call that.
I: Tell us some more about the treatment you received at this plant.

Page 18. dib
C: Alright. Whenever I went, whenever they moved me off of the belt
that I was on where I was making production they put me on another belt
and told me I had to carry two blocks. They put anywhere from twelve
to nineteen shoes in a block, in each block, and told me I had to
carry those two blocks and I had never done the operation before. And
I could not carry those two blocks.
I: And this company manufactures tennis shoes, what we call tennis
C: Yes, sir. Tennis shoes.
I: Cloth shoes.
C: That's right. And they cut my pay back down. They had, I had risen
my pay up to top pay, and they cut it all the way back down to the bottom
again like I was a trainee. And I asked them why they did do that, and
then they got mad at me, cause I got to saying something about it. And
they moved me down off from that belt on another block. I mean off of
that belt, and give me two more blocks on another belt, and told me I
had to carry those two blocks. And they give somebody else my job. But
they kept talking about anybody that had seniority had a job over to
Lake Commers. But they didn't do me like that. My seniority was no good.
And they brought in two trainees there and put them on the belt that
I was on, and told me to leave one of the blocks on the belt for the
trainee. And I left the block, and then the supervisor goes and tells
the boss man that I refused to do what she told me to do, and me
sitting there, working, thinking that I was getting along good. After
they gave me one block, I was keeping up. And turned and went up there

Page 19. dib
and told him that, and he sent for me. I went there and he asked why
come I couldn't do what I was told to do.
I: How long ago was this?
C: That's just been about Iwo years ago. And asked me why come I
couldn't do what, I asked him what did he tell me. Did he say he
had told me a number of times to carry them two blocks on that belt.
I said, "Mister, I'm sorry. But you've never spoke to me. You've
never said one thing to me yet since I've been at this plant." So
he said, "Well, the supervisor did." I said, "She didn't." I said,
"She told me to carry one block on that belt and let the trainees have
the other block so they can learn how to do them." I says, "And some-
times they would get behind with that one block because they was trainees,
and I would pick up the block and keep them up." I says, "And I have
been constantly sitting there doing that. And when she pay me and cut
my check back down, I asked her, how come, and she come up here and told
you that." I said, "Now I want to know from you why was it cut down?"
"Cause you're not doing what you're told to do." I said, "Well, mister,
I'm sorry. But I'm doing what I was told to do." I says, "And I don't
have to work for you if you don't want me to."
I: Did they fire you?
C: Yes, sir. He told me, "Right now, you're fired. You can walk out
and go home." I says, "Well, pay me, or give me ." He
says, "I ain't going to give you no -if you walk out and go
home." I said I said, he said, "Wait a minute." He
said, "No, I ain't going to fire you." He said, "You can quit." I

Page 20. dib
says, "I'm not going to quit." He says, "Well, you quit right now
and go home." I said, "Are you firing me?" He said, "No." I said,
"Well, I'm not going home." I went back to the belt and sat down
and went to work again. Then he come over there, balled me out
because the shoes was piling up. I says, "Didn't you hear me
talking to you?" He said, "Yes, but I told you you could go home."
I said, I asked you will you fire me. If you did I'll go home. But
give me my papers and I'll go." And he said he didn't have to give
me no papers. He went and got the guard to throw me out, and the guard
looked and me and smiled and turned around and left.
I: Did the guard throw you out?
C: The guard didn't do a thing, didn't say a word to me but looked
at me and smiled, and turned around and walked out.
I: Was this, was this an Indian guard?
C: No, sir. This was a white man, too. But he looked at me and
smiled and turned right around and walked back. And I went right on to
work. So went I walked out those girls asked me, "Were you coming in
tomorrow?" I said, "Yes, sir. I'm coming back tomorrow." So when I
went back this same fellow, this boss man of mine,..
I: Was this a foreman?
C: He was a foreman, or something like a supervisor next to the fore-
man, over the foreman.
I: What was his name?
C: I don't know. forgot his name. Let's see
now, what was his name? I've forgot what his name was. I can think of
it sometimes, sometimes soon. But anyway, he stopped me and told me

Page 21. dib
the head man wanted to see me. I said, "O.K." So I goes in the office
and wait for the head man to come and find out the head man didn't
want to see me. That was something he told me. I was sitting there
for two hours waiting for the head man. And when he finally come in
all those men come in, and they said I had a conduct record that was
so long kind of things didn't
hear anything about. That man sat there and told some of the
lies I hadn't thought of, and I wasn't doing a thing but working. I
don't know where in the world he was getting his information from.
.I: So what kind of...
C: And I let him talk all he wanted to till he got through. I said,
" I'm sorry." Look" at the head man. I said, "I'm sorry. But that
man sat there and lied to you," and I said,"I've been sitting there
working, talking to those girls and working just as hard as I could
work." And I said, "That man ain't never spoke to me, and I
went to his office to see what he wanted. He ain't told me to carry
no belt. He ain't told me to do nothing. And I told the boss man
that if he didn't want me to work for him that I didn't want to work
for him, that I'd go someplace else and get me another job." And he
called me back after I walked out and told me to come back there and
sit down and tell him what was wrong with that plant. I told him it
was the people he had over the people in the I said,
"They're the cause of the whole mess-up." I said, "The people are sit-
ting there working just like I was. I hadn't never spoke to that man,
didn't know him. And all of a sudden he wanted to see me. And he

Page 22. dib
___________he told me he had never spoke to me."
I says, "And you give me and I'll go about my busi-
ness. I won't bother you anymore." He said, "What shall I put on
it?" I said, "Anything you want to put on it you put it on," I said.
"Because it ain't going to bother me none. Because nothing you people
does ain't bothering me, and I ain't going to let that worry me."
So he gave it to me and asked me _go home.
I: What did he give you? A discharge slip or a layoff slip?
C: Misconduct discharge.
I: Misconduct discharge. Was this foreman. the name of this foreman,
was it Williams?
C: No. sir. His name was, let's see, turn it off a minute. The
one that give me two blocks.
I: This foreman that we were talking about...
C: He's a McVicker.
I: McVicker.
C: Yes.
I: And he worked on the second shift?
C: Yes.
I: And he was the head foreman...
C: He was the head foreman...
I: ...at the plant at that time?.
C: ...on the second shift at the plant.
I: Do you know whether he's still with the plant or not?
C: No, I don't know.

Page 23. dib
I: Well, do you think this was an isolated case, or did they treat
others that way, too? Other Indian people that way.
C: They treated the other Indian people that way, too. Just listen,
let me tell you something. There was a lady that eot run-over with a
or a -,k/'/ift some of them call it some of
them a Aokt///- and it broke her leg upside the knee one night.
And they put, that woman went to the hospital, and they told her at
Goodrich that when she eot out of the hospital she had to come back
to Goodrich and go to work and work and pay part of her hospital bill,
that they was not going to pay it all. And that woman, so help me God,
would come in that plant with her toes sticking out,- out of the cast
on crutches, and stand and lean up against those tables and things right
there, the assembly lines, and work every night.
I: They made her do that. vl'
C: They made her do that. That was the pitifulnesslwoman I ever seen
in my life, and she was 7/, _,r'-i7, J -k.?0 '/.
I: Do you know what her name was?
C: No, but I think she lived between and Fermont, down in
that way somewhere. But she got her leg broke and run over with a
, and that woman come in there on those crutches.
And it was so cold and raining, and walk from that parking lot on those
crutches and things. And afterlshe put her crutches down she'd walk to
the building and hold to the building. That's the way she went around
the building to work.
I: I don't know much about the operation of the plant unfortunately, but

Page 24. dib
what is the name of this vehicle you said ran over her, a t ?
C: A t Some of them calls them t and some of them
calls them forklifts.
I: Is this something on wheels?
C: It's something on wheels that you drive around in.
I: And it ran over her and broke her...
C: Right at the break area. We was on break, and she started out out
of the break area and it struck her.
I: Do you think the plant was at fault? Do you think it was the
plant's fault that she had this accident?
C: I think it was the plant's fault that she had this accident. I sure
I: Did they have any insurance on her that you know of?
C: They told us all that we had insurance. Hospital insurance, acci-
dent insurance, but they sure done her like that. She was an Indian.
I: Did they take money out of your check each month for hospitaliza-
tion insurance and accidents and things like this that you know of?
C: No, I don't know, because they kept paying me and changing my pay
so much that I don't even know hardly what I was getting out.
I: You were just up and down, weren't you?
C: Up and down all the time. One week I'd go eighty some dollars,
the next week it would be seventy some, and the next week I'd draw
fifty some. Now that's
I: Do you think they used this way of paying, rating you and then
demoting you, as a sort of punishment?
C: I think they done it in order to keep you from knowing what you

Page 25. dib
were really making, even though they had promised to pay a certain
amount. That they were doing you like that to keep from actually
paying you what they promised to pay you. That's what I believe.
I: You never knew what you were getting and hour?
C: Yes, sir.
I: Would they. hand you a slip, when they peyed, with your pay?
C: No, sir.
I: You didn't get a slip. Did they pay you in money or...
C: They payed-me in a check.
I: But it didn't say, did it give the rate of pay on the check that
you know of? Was there a stub with the check?
C: Well, at that time, at that time it probably was on there. But
you see, I was up and down so much until I got to where I didn't pay
no attention to that.
I: They kind of had you frustrated, didn't they?
C: I think they had all of us frustrated, because all of those checks
was like that the way I seen it. I seen quite a few and that's the way
they were.
I: Have you worked out there since Converse took it over?
C: No, sir.
I: Do you think the same people are in control who were in control
when Goodrich had it?
C: I don't know whether it is or not. I really don't know. But
that fellows name that give me so much trouble, his name was Jim;McVickers.

Page 26. dib
I: Jim McVickers.
C: Jim McVickers.
I: And you don't know whether he's still with the plant or not.
C: No, I don't.
I: And of course you think they treated the Indians worse than they
did the black people or the white people.
C: I think they did. Yes, sir. I sure do.
I: That's too bad. Did you hear any complaints from other workers
while you were over there.
C: All the time. All the time about their paycheck and the way they
were doing it, what they were expecting them to do and how they were
pushing them around. I sure do.
I: You didn't happen to know Mrs. Evelyn Collins when you were working
over there, did you?
C: No, I'm afraid I didn't.
I: The reason I ask is she had a case about-some trouble, too, and
I was just wondering. Was there any place you could take your com-
plaints if you had a complaint like this? Who could you take your
complaints to?
C: Take them to Mr. Evans and he was a pretty nice talking fellow.
I: Was he the personnel manager?
C: The personnel manager.
I: Would he iron out your problem?
C: Well, he'd say he would, and then for a while things would get
quiet and they wouldn't bother .But the first thing

Page 27. dib
you know they started at you again. Just like if, I even took them
to the, when I was on third shift I even took them to steal.
I: Would Mr. Evans go down, that you know of, to see what the con-
ditions were?
C: I saw him down there, but I don't know what he really, what he
was a doing.
I: Do you think he, well, do you think he really knew what was going
C: I don't know.
I: No, I shouldn't ask you. That's unfair, because that's asking you
for an opinion.
C: I don't know, but I'll tell you if all, if the other workers that
had complaints went to him like I did he should have known what was
going on, I'll be honest with you.
I: Did you go to see him very often?
C: I went to see him twice. I tried to talk to Steve about it, and
he told me that I had to carry the two blocks on the belt.
I: And who was Steve?
C: That was the foreman on the third shift when they first moved me.
I: His first name was Steve?
C: When they first, his first name was Steve. I don't know what his
last name was. When they first moved me, and he told me that he didn't
see why I couldn't carry them. I said, "I see why. I don't even know
the operation. I've never learned it. I got to first learn the operation
before I can think about carrying ." I told

Page 28. dib
him in the same words. And he said, "Well, I'll see if I can't
straighten it out. But he never done nothing about it.
I: About how many people were working there at the time or do you
C: No, I have no idea. There were quite a few of them.
I: A good many of them were Indian people?
C: A good many of them was Indian.
I: Did you hear black people make any complaints or white people?
C: No, not really.
I: Of course you weren't quite in a position unless you could hear
it around the operations.
C: Well, I worked aside of some. I worked aside of some, and I didn't
hear them complain too much.
I: Do you think people might have been afraid to complain?
C: Yes, I do.
I: Some people do you think knew that this was their only chance of
C: It must have been because...
I: ...work_
C: ... a-lot of them quit without complaining. So if they hadn't had
a complaint they wouldn't have quit.
I: Right. .That's logical and right.
C: Right.
I: At this point in the interview Mrs. Carter's little girl came up
and said that somebody had sent for her and they needed her help. So

Page 29. dib
we'll interrupt the interview right here until she returns. She said
she'd be back in a minute. Now,let's see we were when we were inter-
rupted and you got your problem settled.
C: Yes, I was talking about, was talking about Mr. Evans. You
asked me if any of the rest of them had any complaints. I told you
that the colored people, white people, and I told you not that I
knows of. But they must have had, that a lot of them quit.
I: Right.
C: So they must have had complaints.
I: Now we've talked about the plant and complaints at the plant.
We've talked about a few other things. We've talked about complaints
at the Department of Social Services. Are there any other areas in
your experience that you feel you've been discriminated against be-
cause you are an Indian?
C: Well, yes. Say at the hospital for instance. I had to take my
little boy out of the hospital here when they wanted me to sign over
my insurance and the insurance off of the other man's car that run
into me.
I: I see. What's the name of this hospital here?
C: Southeastern General.
I: Southeastern General Hospital.
C: And because I wouldn't sign my insurance over to them, they knew
where it was located at because I told them where my insurance, that
I had insurance and told them where it was located at. And I wouldn't
sign my insurance over to them. But they tried to collect it anyway.

Page 30. dib
And they got mad at me because I wouldn't do it. They tried me three
times and I refused to do it. And they wouldn't give my little boy
a shot. They wouldn't give him an aspirin. They wouldn't give him
a pill of no sort, and nothing for pain and he cried all night long.
And they wouldn't give him nothing, and they told me they couldn't
give him nothing but what the doctor prescribed. And he cried all
night long, and I took him out of the hospital, Southeastern General,
. And they tried to tell me I couldn't
take him out and carry him down, and I said, "Oh, yes I can." He
happened to belong to me, and I can take him anywhere in the world
that I want to carry him. They told my husband that I couldn't take
him out unless I signed papers stating the reason that I took him out.
And they wouldn't make out the paper to read that I took him out, then
they got what they wanted to make out, read out, that I took him out,
was going to take him out against their will and they were helping
him and I refused their help. And I wouldn't sign that paper, and
I threw it on the floor, and told them if they'd tell the truth on
it that I'd sign it, and I put mine in And they
told me I couldn't take him out unless I signed them and I told them
I wasn't going to sign the papers. And they told my husband he had
to sign the papers, and they told him that he'd have to sign them
before he could take, it was against the law for him to leave. And
I looked at my husband and said, "Are you going to let these white
people stand here and tell you all your life what you can do and what
you can't do, and you know that's your child in there? Well, that's

Page 31. dib
not right. And there ain't no law that can keep you from leaving
." And he wouldn't sign the papers. He
told me if I didn't sign them that they wouldn't get signed. And
I took him out there and carried him in. And they still tried to
cash in papers on me on Bluecross and Blueshield, and I have no Blue-
I: When they refused the child treatment was this during a time
when there was uncertainty about whether the insurance would pay
for it or something like that?
C: No, sir. They knew the man had insurance, and but they were
trying to collect my insurance. That's why they wouldn't treat the
child, and him laying up there with both legs broken twice and his
arm in a holding pin, one in his jaw. And they smeared some kind,
from so much fever, by laying flat on his back up there he had on
his bottom,that he had a little rash that broke out on his but: on
his bottom laying up there on that bed, and they smeared some old
yellow salve that they got in there on him. And did you know it
come up a big blister about half as big as your hand on his bottom
back there and made- sore and they wouldn't put nothing on it?
I: And they wouldn't put anything on it?
C: Wouldn't put a thing in this world on it. And I talked to them
about that. He cried _all this time, and I pleaded
with them about it and they wouldn't put nothing on it. And it was
just the one or two Him in that condition and I know
he was hurt and laying up there crying all night long, and I took

Page 32. dib
him out.
I: And what would they tell you? What excuse did they...
C: They couldn't give him nothing unless the doctor prescribed it,
and the doctor hadn't prescribed nothing for him.
I: Was the hospital crowded at this time?
C: No, sir. When they first got in the car wreck they got in the
car wreck ten minutes past four, and by nine o'clock is when they
done something for him.
I: Continuing the interview with Mrs. Spaulding Carter. Mrs. Carter,
you were telling us something about the treatment or mistreatment,
which ever you want to call it, of your son, or lack of treatment.
C: Well, that was all three of them. That wasn't just one of them.
They wasn't doing nothing for any of them to start out with, and I
got to saying, "Why don't you people do something for these people
that got in this car wreck?" I'm tired. I worked all day long and
I want to go home. And they, "We done something for them. We only
have one doctor." I said, "Ain't there more doctors?" "No." I
says, "Where's Dr. J. I. Veasley?"
I: Did they ran to First Aid? Did the head nurse come around or
any of the nurses and offer any treatment at all?
C: No, sir. The biggest treatment I saw that they give them was
twisting their arms and their legs to see if it was broken, whether
or not. That's the truth. And they hooping and a hollering, "Don't

Page 33. dib
twist my arm ," or "Don't twist my leg," or "Oh, you hurt my finger."
That's what they were doing to them.
I: Were they trying to straighten them out or something?
C: I don't know what they were trying to do. What I figured that
there excuse was, they were trying to see where they were broke at
and what they broke. But that was no way to do it. Don't you know
if you're hurting you're hurting and anybody else can make you hurt
worse, what can you do?
I: Who was doing this, the nurses?
C: The nurses and some of those interns they got in hospitals up
I: And how long was it before, after the car how long did you stay
in the hospital, you and others?
C: Well, after the car wreck they got it, I don't know what, about
what time they got up there. It was something after the car wreck
when they got up there. But they didn't do nothing for them until
they had been laying in there. I got in there. I had come in from
work. I had already got home, and by the time I got to the hospital
they still hadn't done anything for them. All of them was in the
same shape they were. They were working on the older boy, doing some-
thing to him, and he was a hollering, "Don't twist my leg. It hurts.
Quit, don't do that." And he got aggravated with them, and then they
got a hold of the little girl and she got to hollering. And the other
little boy, they got a hold of him and he got to hollering and the
little girl said, "Mama, go in there and see about Spanky. They're

Page 34. dib
hurting him, Mama. They ought not be hurting him like that. He's
hurt bad enough. Go to him, Mama." And that's the kind of treatment
they just gave them.
I: And did you go to him?
C: I went to him, and when I got in there, by the time I got, found
out where he was at there was nobody in there but my husband. He
was standing up there where he was at and the doctor had just slipped
I: The doctor had finally got to them?
C: They had went around and looked at them, but that's all they
had done to them was twisting their legs and arms. They hadn't done
one thing to them.
I: And this is the reason you took them out of the hospital and went
to Fayetteville?
C: Well, that's, that's part of the reason right there. I had went
down to the office and I refused to sign my insurance over to them.
They wanted to tet my insurance and the insurance on the other man's
car for the hospital bill. They told me they were supposed collect
all of the money and if there was any left over I would get a refund.
I: And did they charge you with the time you were actually at Southeastern
C: They charged me at the time that I was there, they charged forty-
five dollars for Sandy Hopkins and they charged thirty-five dollars
for Archie, and for the time that William was there, cause he was put

Page 35. dib
to bed they charged four hundred...
I: Did you notice...
C: ...thirty-five dollars and five cents.
I: Did you notice any difference in the way you were treated at the
hospital in Fayetteville? Is this the Cape Fear, the Cape Fear, F-e-a-r,
the Cape Fear General Hospital?
C: In Fayetteville it's the Cape Fear Valley Hospital.
I: Cape Fear Valley.
C: That's right.
I: Did you notice anything different?
C: I noticed a whole lot of difference. I'll tell you one thing that
I noticed. When he was in the Lumberton Hospital, my little boy, he
relived that wreck every night and he'd wake up a screaming everytime
they, when they start out with they gave him a shot or something and
he'd go to sleep. But he'd relive that wreck and he'd wake up a
screaming and And I'd have to quiet him
down and talk to him and turn him over and do whatever I could to
soothe him, and a lot of times he couldn't go back to sleep for so
much pain and they'd give him something else. But after they seen
I wasn't going to sign those insurance papers they wanted me to sign
they quit giving him anything at all. But when I took him to Cape
Fear Valley in Fayetteville they gave him something and he didn't
cry another night, not another day at all. He never cried no more.
I: I see.
C: The only time he cried at Cape Fear Valley was whenever they were

Page 36. dib
trying to make him walk. Now there was a nurse up there, she was
a white lady, and she kicked him on his leg twice, because...
I: ____was this his broken leg?
C: This was the broken, both was broken twice. She kicked him on
the leg twice. And by them trying to make him walk up there they
called them therapists, they had some teenagers up there that they
call the therapist, and they were trying to make him walk. And I
wasn't up there. They took him out of the bed to make him walk and
one of his legs slipped. And the doctor had to cut the cast away and
have my son to hold him down, and he tried to straighten his leg back.
And his leg is crooked now on account of it.
I: Do you think this is because they forced him to walk...
C: This is because they forced him to walk.
I: ...or compelled him to walk too soon?
C: That's right.
I: Yes, before his leg healed.
C: That's right.
I: About how long had the leg been broken, the legs been broken when
he had to walk like this?
C: About a week. Right after I took him out of Lumberton Hospital and
carried him to Cape Fear Valley is when they started trying to force
him to walk. And that's when the nurse kicked him on the leg. She
kicked him twice on the leg. And the doctor was standing there, Dr.
Apes' was standing there.
I: Do you know the nurses' name?
C: No, I don't.

Page 37. dib
I: Do you know the doctor's name?
C: The doctor's name was James H. Askin.
I: Did the doctor reprimand her for this or did he say anything to
here in other words?
C: He said something to her, but it was too low. I couldn't under-
stand what he said after she kicked him. And the little boy hollered
out, "Don't you do that. Them is my legs and they're hurting. And
ain't, foolish woman," he says, "ain't you got no better sense than
that? That hurt, you kicking me like that. You ought to be ashamed
of yourself."
I: And did the nurse say anything?
C: She didn't. She sort of grinned one-sided and didn't say a word.
But all of the rest of them treated him nice.
I: This was, this was one of the...
C: One of the head nurses in the pediatric ward.
I: Do you know which ward? Which ward was this in or do you remember
the number of the ward?
C: It was on the pediatric ward. The number of the room was #544.
I: And if the doctor reprimanded her or scolded her about what she
did you didn't hear it.
C: I didn't hear any at all.
I: She didn't give any excuse for her action or anything at all?
C: None at all. And then to cap it all off the day that the doctor
told him he could go home my mother was with me and I went back up
there, because Dr. Askins had said that Dr. S might let him

Page 38. dib
go home, but if he did to bring him on home and to bring, to take him
back once for a check-up, you know, the next week. So when I got there
they had given him the papers that he could go home and he was so happy.
And I took the papers and went down to the office, and because I wouldn't
sign my insurance off of my car over to the woman in the Cape Fear Valley
Hospital at the office, she refused to let me take him out. And I told
her that she needn't have bothered, that I'd take him out anyway. And
I said that, she told me I couldn't do that without their permission and
she wasn't going to give me her permission. I said, well, I didn't
need it, that he happened to be my child. And she wrote on that paper
that he walked out, and I tore that off and handed it back to her be-
cause I didn't need that. And I took the paper on back up to the nurse
on the pediatric ward and gave it to her and explained it to her, and
she told me not to let that worry me. This was a different nurse.
that they done a lot of them like that
If the doctor says he can
go home to take him_
I: There is somebody at the door. We'll interrupt this interview
right here. Mrs. Carter, let's talk for a moment about your husband.
He plays such beautiful and it's very original. He was playing, you
were playing some of the songs that he had recorded. Were these his
own original songs that he wrote?
C: Yes, they was his own original songs.
I: I wish we could get parts of several of them on tape, because this
is really great and it's authentic. And it's definitely, it has some
of the Lumbee River Valley flavor. It's very beautiful and very ex-

Page 39. dib
pressive. Maybe I'll be able to interview your husband later. How
long has he been playing?
C: Oh, he's been playing all of his life like that.
I: What instruments does he play?
C: Violin mostly, organ, the guitar, harp, piano, banjo. About
most instrument that usually the people play around there anyplace.
I: What I've been listening to is really great. Maybe we'll be able
to interview him later. Has he done anything professional with his
C: No.
I: If he would get, if he could get some of those sounds on tape maybe
somebody would hear him somewhereand they might be some help.
C: Alright.
I: I certainly appreciate you giving me this interview and I certainly
enjoyed it, and it's very informative, and some of the problems that
come up to light that should come to light. And I think all this
C: I hope so.
I: If you had to, if you had a dream or Aladin's Lamp and a genie
would appear and say, "Well, you can have any wish in this world you
want," what would you change about Robeson County?
C: Oh, I'd change the way that the people was being mistreated.
I: You'd change the whole thing.
C: I'd change the whole thing the way that the Indian people, especially,
are being mistreated, because the Indian, and the colored people also have
been mistreated all their life in Robeson County as long as I can remember.

page 40. dib
And that's the most important thing in my life that I would change,
to make everybody equal and everybody would love one another.
I: Well, that's very good. Is there anything else you'd like to
discuss before we ? Do you think it would be possible for
us to get a couple of those songs on your tape or maybe I should
record them later.
C: Well, we can try the tapes if you want to...
I: I would just like to...
C: ...that he's already made and when he comes back maybe he'll
play for you and let you record that also.
I: That would be fine. I would appreciate that. I would just like
our listeners and readers to know the kind of talent that you sometimes
find with this ballet.
C: That's right.
I: And it's very original, he's very talented. If we could just get
a little bit, several of his songs on here it would be great.
C: Well, you know something? I don't, ever since I have been married
to him and he has been playing music, I have never heard nobody play
like it.
I: I never had. He's got a flavor that's distinctively of the Lumbee
River Valley, and then it's original. It's his own music.
C: That's right.
I: His own style, his own songs. Are those, I was particularly impressed
with this blues song which he wrote and which he was playing. It is
different and it's great, and so we could that somebody was

Page 41. dib
listening to this music somewhere in the library, and they go to check
out this tape and listen to it.
C: You should hear him play some of boy Bullard's music a long
time ago.
I: Oh gosh, I remember...
C: Way back yonder.
I: ... boy Bullard's work. And he does have, he's captured some
of that. Of course, he's originalized it.
C: That's right.
I: He does it in his own way and the way he does it is really great.
So could we possibly put just a littlebit of one of those on here,
and if we get a chance to interview him later, that would be great.
C: I think we can do that.
I: The next sounds you hear will be those of Spaulding Carter, the hus-
band of the lady I just interviewed. I wanted to play some of this on
the tape because this has a distinctive Lumbee flavor. It's distinc-
tively of the Lumbee River Valley and I think this is great. I'd like
to do, I may continue this on another tape it's so good.
I: You have been listening to Spaulding Carter, the husband of the lady
that I just interviewed on this program, and this tape will be continued
on another tape because we feel that this is authentic music. It has
the spirit of the Lumbee River Valley. First you heard Spaulding Carter
singing, playing the guitar and playing the harmonica. Later he played

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the harmonica and the organ at the same time. I understand that the
last number he played with the harmonica and the guitar is his own
composition. This is Lew Barton continuing this tape on another tape.
This is October 28, 1973. I am Lew Barton recording for the University
of Florida's History Department's American Indian Oral History Program.
This morning I am in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding Carter, S-p-a-
u-l-d-i-n-g C-a-r-t-e-r. We are about midway between St. Pauls and
Lumberton on Highway #301 near Magnolia High School, which was the
largest school among the Lumbee Indians before it was integrated. I
am anxious to bring you some of the music of her husband because it
has a distinctive Lumbee River Valley flavor. However it's very
ironic that right where I am recording, in the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Spaulding Carter, I am scarcely one hundred and fifty yards from
a trailer in which a man was shot and killed last night. So the pall
of death still hangs over this Indian community this morning. It
isn't possible, however, to study the lifestyle of the Lumbee Indians
or any other people without also understanding something about their
music. Spaulding Carter is a self-taught man. He plays piano, organ,
the harmonica, the guitar. He sings. He composes. Not all the
,a-" you hear will be his compositions. But the Lumbee River Valley
spirit and flavor are there. I believe in folk music because it's
the closest thing to the people yet. Spaulding Carter is truly a folk
singer and entertainer. He plays for his own entertainment and for

Page 43. dib
that of his friends. He has had no professional training whatever
or professional experience. Under these circumstances it is amazing
that he does so well. I give you now Spaulding Carter.
I: Spaulding Carter, a self-taught Lumbee Indian singing, "I'm
on my Way to the Kingdom Land." It isn't surprising that so many
of our songs, so many of the songs we do speak about a day of free-
dom and escape. I think this is typical. And now I'd like for you
to hear Spaulding Carter's own particular version of the"St. Louis
Blues." The"St. Louis Blues"was written by H.C. Handy, a black man,
but it has become one of what we call a standard, and it is often
passed on by word of mouth only in the same way that real folk music
is passed along, and that was, this is how he learned it. And he
improvised, of course. I don't think even H.C. Handy would be offended,
however, at Spaulding Carter's rendition of the"St. Louis Blues." As
a matter of fact I've thought of a title. I'm going to call it the
"New St. Louis Blues."
I: Well, we've heard Spaulding Carter play first with the harmonica
and guitar, and then the piano and do his own version of the"St. Louis
Blues." Incidentally, the "St. Louis Blues" is the first blues song
ever written I heard somewhere. Now,I'd like to get him on that
guitar, though, and do an instrumental composition, just a plain old
blues guitar number and I don't think it even has a name. But it's nice.

Page 44. dib
I: I suppose most of the songs done in the Lumbee River Valley among
our people are hymns. Here's one. "I saw the Light."
I: "I Saw the Light." Spaulding Carter. Let's have another of those
I: This is one of his own compositions and he's playing the organ and
on the harmonica.
I: With the melancholy strings of the guitar and organ we take our leave
of Spaulding Carter, a self-taught Lumbee Indian who simply sits down
at the piano or organ or with a guitar and harmonica and sings and plays
exactly the way he feels. I hope it's this feeling that we have cap-
tured here, because it is that which is so revelatory of the feeling of
the Lumbee Indian. To me this is most important, because if you want
to understand the people then you have to know something about the way
that people feels from the grassroots to the top brackets. You know,
when the Black movement began in America many people were surprised
because they had no idea that Black people were discontented. As for
myself I was surprised that so many people were so surprised, because

Page 45. dib
how in the world can you ever listen to the plaintive wail of a blues
song and not know and not realize the pain, the frustration, the sad-
ness, so many things that lurk in the human heart. A blues song is
something between a prayer and a lamentation. It is very similar to
the Book of Psalms, to the Psalms you find in the Old Testament. The
complaint is there. The wailing, the lamentation, the pleading, the
begging, the praying, it's all wrapped up in one package. And if this
doesn't communicate than I am surprised. It is as though one human
heart is crying out to all other human hearts begging, "Understand me.
Please, somebody understand." One race is apt to look at another with
suspicion and fear and sometimes worse. But you notice no anger in
these songs, only sadness. There is no militancy, only the plea for
understanding. Thees not one human being sr every other human being
if anything in this world, plain understanding. And if we're not capa-
ble of sympathy at least all normal human beings are capable of empathy.
I weep not for one race along, but for all races. Why can't we realize
that we're all the same? Worship the same God, having the same basic
needs, the same longings, the same problems? How sad it is then that
we so often have eyes that see not, ears that hear not, nostrils that
smell not, lips that taste not, and hearts, more importantly, that
feel not. God grant that we may all come to know each other and under-
stand each other better whether it be through the spoken word, the sung
word or whatever. For the lack of human understanding is the basic
cause of all wars and all conflicts in this world. Why, oh why, can't
we understand this simple truth? Indulge the Spaulding Carters then,

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and the Lew Bartons and all the other people who are constantly crying
out and seeking understanding. Not simply for our sakes, but for
all our sakes and for God sake.

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