UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEWEES: DANFORD DIAL
INTERVIEWER: ADOLPH DIAL
DATE: September 2, 1971
AD: Mr. Dial, what is back of the protest movement at Prospect
D: With integration several children from Prospect School were
assigned to the Maxton school system and to the Red Springs
AD: When was this?
D: This was in 1970. These children refused to enroll in Maxton
school and Red Springs school and they returned to Prospect
and asked for admittance to our school. In the meantime, I
talked with them and gave them instructions that were given
to me from the County Board of Education, and Superintendent
Allen. I told them that they could not enroll, couldn't pay
fees, and couldn't pay insurance, and the couldn't receive
books. They persisted with sit-ins and remained there for
the entire year.
We had about sixty children and about thirty families enrolled
in our school. These were the times when they were able to
get books and be treated as other children in the schools.
The school year ended and they were very disappointed and
downhearted. They returned this Monday, with their parents
and persisted that they were enrolled. They said if we didn't
enroll them they would force us to enroll them. Allen issued
the same orders as he issued last year. He stated that these
children could not be enrolled and that they weren't entitled
to the privileges of the regular students such as fees, insur-
ances, and so forth.
AD: Allen is County Superintendent?
D: That's correct. During the meantime I began to give the parents
instructions. They became fierce and very angry and they
demanded their children be allowed to attend classes and
In the meantime, we enrolled several Negro children and several
white children in our school. These parents thought they were
being mistreated if they could enroll Negro children and a white
parent and a white child that was assigned our school and yet
their children couldn't attend neighborhood schools. In the
meantime, the buses began to appear for enrollment and for the
opening of school about 8:15 and they wanted to take charge of
the buses. As one bus pulled up the parents boarded the bus
and asked if all Negros could be taken off the campus immediate-
ly. I thought there was going to be trouble and children might
be hurt so I immediately went to the office and called for
help. In the meantime things continued to get out of hand.
When help arrived there was a confrontation with the parents
and the deputy and I immediately started returning the buses to
the drivers in order that they could deliver the children home
safely.- At this time we had quite a confrontation between
the deputies and the parents and telling Chief what
would be done and what they intended to do if the children
did not go to school at Prospect this year. In the meantime,
I proceeded to direct the buses, I wouldn't even let those
enter the campus that were coming in late.
We had two Negro or black teachers assigned to our staff.that
worked with us last year. These teachers were professional
they did a splendid job. We learned to love-them and respect
them as all of the staff members. The children were very
pleased with these teachers. However, these angry parents
insisted that these teachers leave the campus immediately
so they proceeded to go to the classroom andsask the teachers
to leave and the teachers came to my office.
AD: They went to the black classroom?
D: They went to the black teachers classroom.
AD: Do you, do you have any white teachers?
AD: You had some last year didn't you?
D: No, we haven't had a white teacher at Prospect in thirty years.
So I proceeded to intervene and stand between the hatchet man
and the black teacher.
AD: The hatchet man. Who was the hatchet man?
D: The hatchet man was a friend of one of these angry parents
that was trying to enroll their children in Prospect School.
AD: You mean he was carrying a hatchet?
D: He was carrying a hatchet and a machete. He had the hatchet
on one side, and the machete on the other.
AD: Why do you suppose they chose a hatchet instead of a gun.
Did they think they could legally get by with this?
D: No, I think they were considerate. -These were the best
weapons to use in a crowded situation. They would force
the people that were opposing it and gave them a lot of
advantage without killing and hurting the other people. Their
contention was that they didn't want to hurt anybody if they
could get their children into school. Well,I think they used
these hatchets as weapons, a symbol more or less of the Indian
AD: Mr. Dial, was there any connection between a group of people
known as the Tuscaroras and the group who were protesting
the operation of the school or was it basically a desegration
D: Well,these people who you speak of as Tuscaroras were members
of the concerned parents group last year until someone came
up with the idea that they were not Lumbees and should change
their names to Tuscarora. It fit better than the name Lumbee.
AD: Was there some dissatisfaction over the court case. There was
a hearing in Clinton, North Carolina. They were not satisfied
with the decision that was made and they expected one to be
made later and never did get any results. Will you explain
D: They were satisfied with the first hearing and very happy
about it, because it did entertain a motion to force these
people to go to Maxton School or Red Springs School.
AD: Who was ?
D: represented the county board of education. He's a
lawyer who represented the county board.
AD: Now this case was in Federal court?
D: This case was in Federal court before Judge Buckler in Clinton,
AD: What was his decision?
D: These were his words verbatim to Mr. Davis. "Go back to
Robeson county and straighten out your affairs there and you
will have no trouble with these people. The Indian people
of Robeson County and Sampson County are the finest people
I've ever known."
AD: You worked up in Sampson didn't you?
D: Yes, I was principal of East Carolina School for one year.
He [the judge] told me that these people would give me no
trouble as long as I would treat them right and do what I should.
He continued to brag on them and tell what his father had done
for the Indians of Sampson County. He had written a book in
which he explained the power that he had. He said, "Every-
time you use the power, you're criticized because you have too
much power." He told the representative for the
board of education he hoped these people would consider it
for the time being, and go to the school that they were
assigned but he made no definite decision on that.
The thing that disturbed these people for months was that they
haven't had a hearing. They think they have been bought off
and people have told them that they've been sold out and that
the leaders in these concerned parent groups have misused the
money and have replaced the funds. They've attempted to make
visits to Judge Buckler's office and they tried to visit the
Boatnight's office in Fayetteville. He represents the concerned
parents. They haven't been given any satisfaction or messages
from either of these places. There's been a lot of rumors
and these people have heard a lot of talk that they've been
mislead to believe that the trial has even been called off.
AD: Has the trial been called off?
D: Not just yet, but at 10:15 PM Boatnight finished up his work
in Washington, D.C., with the Justice Department, and I
understand he called Mr. Luther Oxendine, who was a member
of the concerned parent group, and told him that the work was
finished and that the only thing holding up the case of the
concerned parents was the situation in Lumberton. Boatnight
said the case would be calendered immediately.
He said to Oxendine, "We will have a hearing." These are
Mr. Boatnight's words directly to Mr. Luther Oxendine. He
said, "The justice department is in sympathy with us, and Judge
Buckler's remarks you are the only people that do have a case.
Mr. Luther Oxendine, feels like that we're going to be able
to get our school back and that integration and segregation
will not affect us." He's very optimistic and very happy about
the news that he received from Boatnight.
AD: You talked to Mr. yesterday?
D: Yes, I had personal conversation wiht him at the store. And
then he talked again with Boatnight last night who had finished
up his work in Washington and was back in Fayetteville and
he told Mr. the good news that made him feel pretty
good. We're just anxious for this trial to come off. A
decision I think by Judge Buckler whether it be as Mr. Oxendine
has predicted or not would help the situation and calm down
these angry parents and maybe there will be no more trouble
and Prospect School can go on.
AD: Will this case go before Judge Bucker this time?
D: This case will be tried in the circuit court. Judge Buckler will
AD: Actually all they had was the hearing the first time?
D: That's right.
AD: I wonder why the didn't have the case the first time?
D: Well,the proceedings and everything had been carried out
wrong or they didn't carry out the thing. You see this case
was supposed to heard in the lower court.
AD: It was a legal matter then?
D: That's right. I think it's a legal matter.
AD: I see.
D: They didn't hear the court case here in the lower court and
so they went to Judge Bucker for a hearing.
AD:' Are the people involved in this protest movement what you
would call the more fortunate of the Indian people economically
and socially speaking? Are they upper middle class? Or are
most of them tenants who have lived-on the white man's side
while being exploited and so forth?
D: These people are tenants and they've lived on the white
man's farm all their lives. They've lived in shacks. They
haven't had clothes or shoes to wear. They haven't had
medical attention. They didn't know what it is to get a
physical, get shots, immunity from various diseases. When
I went up there many of them were infected with all types of
With the effort of the school nurse and the county health
office, Mrs. Smith. We began to give them shots for immunity
and so forth and different things. Get them birth certificates
and all these things, and try to encourage them to get the
children to school and get them educated. Yet as much as
we've done for them, we could not help them they were so far
back to the extent that they understand [their position] and
they think that normal people should.
They have never really been accepted in their own society, this
is a tragic thing. People in the community, and people that live
around them, their level of living and their standards and
morals and their ideals have never been accepted. Even their
neighbors would respect them and treat them like their equal and
they have a real gripe coming not only from the white man but they
have a complaint and a gripe coming from us and from all those
that lived around them because we haven't truly treated them and
respected them and loved them as they should be loved.
It's very unfortunate that they have not connected themselves with
any church or any institution like that. People have just left
them alone and let them go their own way and, as a result, they're
ignorant and stupid and they've been involved in many crimes and -
many things and they just don't think anyone's trying to help them
they believe all people's against them. All people are liars and
will do them harm or do them wrong. They're very difficult
people to get to understand because of
AD: Now you said you had a sit-in last year. How many students were
in the sit-in?
D: We had sixty-two students that remained, we had 140 to begin with.
Only sixty-two of these 140 remained with us and stayed all the year.
AD: At the end of the year did the sixty-two receive report cards?
D: No,they never received report cards until they demanded them last
Monday and they returned to school to register, for this 1970-71
AD: How many did you issue on that day?
D: I gave everyone their report cards that didn't get one last year.
AD: Perhaps some of them were not there. Did you issue a high school
diploma to anyone?
D: Yes, I issued a high school diploma to one of the angry parent's
son. [In the group they're the leaders I think.]
AD: What was that son's name who received the diploma?
D: Locklear. He was the son of Dr. and Mrs. Locklear.
AD: Did you consider you were breaking the law at this point?
D: Well,according to the rules and regulations that had been given
to me by the county board of education I was definitely breaking
the law but I had to compromise on many issues and many things to
have peace in order to run and operate the school smoothly so this
was another time that I had to compromise. Even though I was
breaking the law, I was willing to take my chance for whatever
happens. I told the superintendent and I told the F.B.I. agent
the same thing.
AD: Yes, as your predecessor at Prospect, I would have to say that I would
have done the same thing. Let's look at the lines that were drawn
by the legislature and recommended by the county board of education
and the superintendent. Legally, this is the way it would be done
by the county board of education, and the city board of education
and then adopted in law by the state legislature. Now over the
years we have had what we would call a three-way school system,
basically the one small school at one time, was small and independent,
but in recent years, the small and independent school has not operated
as small and independent so basically we have a three-way school
system; Indian, black, and white.
Over the years the Indians have lived in the county systems. They
operated in the county system, and were part of the county school
system because most of them lived on the farm and very few of the:
Lumbee Indians lived in any of the towns, Lumberton, Red Springs,
Maxton or any of the other towns. More than ninety percent of
them lived in the rural area and what few lived in the town were
transported out of the town prior to the Brown decision to the
rural area, to the Indian School and in some cases as far as black
students lived, right near the Indian schools and white students
lived near Indian Schools. They were taken out and bussed into the
city units. We only began to desegrate more than ten years after
the Brown decision. This had caused a problem, I'd say more than
ten years. The Indians really began to desegregate last year,
wouldn't you say Mr. Dial?
AD: Suppose you and Reverend Mangum speak on this subject here.
M: In order for one to understand the people that Mr. Danford Dial
spoke of, one must understand the circumstance they're in today.
Because of the gerrymandering of lines in drawing up school districts,
whites could be educated within the city system, giving sanctuary
for white families, their children, their grand-children, while
bringing in tax money for these charter units. By the way there's
five charter units in this county, the largest number of administra-
tive systems in any county in the hundred counties of North Carolina.
People have receipts Indian people have paid taxes school taxes for
city chartered district units and yet have never been able to educate
their children within that particular district. These districts
have been drawn up to give sanctuary to whites within those charter
units and to totally disregard education within those administrative
units of blacks and Indians.
Then it happened that Indians and blacks, were educated across
district lines. These people who are protesting today, and who are
so disgruntled, are the victims of a system that included them within
a district so the whites could be educated in that district and
Indians excluded. Indians and others could pay taxes and not be
represented by their tax money within that schooling district.
Because of this background situation the court demanded that the
schools operate and educate within their districts. These people,
then, were completely shut out of the school system that had
given them education for years even though they were never a part
of the educational system of the district in which they lived.
So, in a real way, these people are the victims of the year of paying
taxes and not being able to see any benefits from their tax money
within the school district in whcih they were taxed and in the present
day, are now being shut out from the very schools that was the means
of their education over the years of the whites unwillingness to
educate them within their system.
D: May history record this statement forever. We have never been
accepted in the white man's school, cafes, or stores. The only place
we were accepted until 1960 was a grocery store or clothing store
where we could spend our money and get our livelihood. We weren't
allowed to go to the cafe and we weren't even allowed to use the
I have an experience that put a scar in my heart and in my life.
My first nickel that I attempted to spend for a goodie was in Red
Springs, North Carolina. I went to the counter and asked for an
ice cream cone and the lady behind the counter looked at my face
and said, "I don't have any ice cream." Her friend dashed in from
an errand and asked for a cone of cream and she dished her a nice,
delicious cone of vanilla ice cream. I'd been a young boy and very
proud of my nickel and wanted to spend it for an ice cream cone
on that hot day. I returned to the counter and said "Lady, please
give me a cone of that ice cream." She bent over on the counter
and almost spit in my face and yelled for me as a croatan to "Get
out of that store."I wasn't getting any ice cream. From that day
until this my desire and my love for Red Springs has never changed.
I went away as a thirteen-year-old boy and I had to go to a shanty
where there was flies were poor negroes and unclad, dirty people
were served from the back window. That's where I spent my nickel
to get an ice cream cone.
Before 1960, if an Indian had asked for schooling in Red Springs
school or Maxton school the white deputies and the white sheriff
would have shot him down instantly. Now the federal government
has passed a law and handed down a decision that the Indian people
of RobesonCounty must go to the nearest white schools. The ruling
wouldn't give an Indian employment because it didn't make any
difference how intelligent he was or how well he could do the job.
Our people will never forget these trying days that we've gone
through. We could go to Red Springs and seek Dr. Hodgens, and Dr.
McMillan and all the others and they would treat us in the manner
in which they would. We could walk down to the drugstore and get
a prescription filled but we couldn't sit and drink a coke. Don't
you know it will take many years and many good things from somebody
to change the feeling and the attitudes of the uneducated, the
prejudiced, and the hatred these incidents have built up in the
Indians of Robeson County.
I'm a very fortunate man. I was one of those who someway, somehow,
found the way to get an education in the halls of Pembroke State
University which was then Pembroke State College. I left thinking
that I had something but not very much. I was unable to write
a decent letter when I received my B.A. degree from Pembroke State
University or Pembroke State College as it was known at that time.
But through other schooling at Mary State Teacher's College, Carson-
Newman, and the University of North Carolina and through hard and
diligent study I was able to pull myself up to the place that I
would challenge anyone in my field and in my capacity to show me
where I do not rate in rank as high as anybody that olds his degree
or certificate of my type. I was always challenged and I always
challenged all of those behind me. They had to be the best.
I went to Prospect School about twelve years ago when it had
twenty-two teachers. When I went there the student body was very
small. From that day on Prospect School has grown to a student
body of twelve hundred students and forty-nine faculty members.
I say this with all the pride and the joy, that the Indian people
cared and wanted to get ahead and I seemed to have something and
they seemed to get far. We marched forward until our student body
was restored with integration and Red Springs School gained six
teachers from Prospect School because of the number of children
that were transferred over there. Though gaining six teachers
they never employed a single Indian teacher for the year 1970-71.
Oh, its true there's been Indian teachers on the Red Springs
staff. There's an Indian teacher there now. But one day, the
Indian teacher will not be anymore because these city units are
going to govern all the white children and just about all the
Indian children They will take these teachers coming fresh
out of college and put them on the staffs of these city units.
So what is the poor Indian teacher going to do? We lost thirty
teachers last year and we lost twenty-two teachers this year and
with the closing of our schools and the taking of our teachers
away from our schools, they're going to have no place to go.
For example, Prospect is the largest school in the county today.
We're very fortunate in that we're, you might say, a complete
Indian community. Fairgrove school at one time had 1,530 students
with a staff of fifty-three teachers. Today, Fairgrove school
is one of the smallest schools. That giant monument of a school
building there looks like a ghost town with just 600 children and
twenty teachers running around. This is not only true at Fairgrove
but also at Magnolia.
The way I see it as an educator, but also as a prejudiced man who
has suffered much, I was refused admittance to the University of
North Carolina by one Dean Pierson, who was head at that time,
and I challenged him to give me an opportunity. He said, "You're
a Lumbee Indian. You can not enter this University." There had
never been such a law in the state of North Carolina but yet they
us it for to keep us out of the University of North Carolina.
I challenged Dean Pierson, and I challenged the University, through
the efforts of one Wesley Watson, and for five days I labored and
I pled, and I begged to enter the Unviersity of North Carolina.
The last thing I told them I would enter or take it to the court
and Wesley Watson told Pierson that he might as well admit this
young man. He had no alternative. Yes, I broke the line, I went.
I was the first Indian to enter the University of North Carolina-
through the front door and go in proud to be a Lumbee Indian and
tell the Unviersity of North Carolina that I was a Lumbee Indian.
I was not allowed to re-enter because I was assigned to:the
assistant dean of the graduate school. I entered five days later
and Pierson said he would give me permission so I would not be
penalized. I took my examination under Dean Clemmon who was
assistant to Pierson. He said "This is the best peper I have ever
received in all my teaching from any student." It was a straight
A paper, but because I was five days late, forcing my way into the
University of North Carolina, he refused to give me credit for
I returned home brokenhearted after twelve weeks of summer school
at the University of North Carolina. I almost gave up teaching
because of such a disappointment, and such a heartache. But I
returned and went back to teaching at Pembroke High School.
Then the opportunity came for me to go to the University of Western
Carolina. I was fortunate enough through the efforts of Dr.
to enter this University. I entered the University of
Western Carolina and graduated wiht the highest honors in my class.
I was so thrilled to be there representing the Lumbee Indians.
When the professor was sick, they asked for Mr. Dial to take charge
of the class.
During my orals I was quizzed along with twelve other people. I
answered all the questions that they asked me. The last question
the professor asked me was who was the father of Henry Clayton.
I just happened to be so sharp that I knew the answer to that
question. He said, "I just can't stump you can I?" He turned me
I returned to Western University at Cullowhee for a half summer of
work with three straight A's and I left as being recognized as one
of the smartest students that had ever come to the school. These
are not my remarks, I'm not bragging but the man who was head of
the department of education and my advisor Dr. Aimsley, he's still
on the staff at Western University, used these words, and they
are true. You could ask anyone that has followed me at Western.
I went there and I put the colored high and I have take the Lumbee
colored high everywhere I've been.
The thing that bothers me and the thing that I can't understand is
how I'm going to help my brothers, and how I'm going to get them
to understand because they aren't as fortunate as I am and we
don't have these people in Prospect community. We have them
throughout Robeson County. Yes, we have excellent leaders among
our Indians but too many times they've sold us out. They haven't
been willing to bend over and help our people until someone
comes up with the truth and faces our people with the truth and
stops making shady deals and stops crossing them up and confusing
them. Until then, we're going to have these problems.
Now, may I say this in closing. These lines were illegally
drawn by the superintendent and the county board of education and
I want to go on record as saying this. These lines have been
illegally changed many times since they said they were drawn
in the fall of 1970. I know instances where the county board of
education and the superintendent have changed these lines. They
have sent and a man that I respected and gave him orders
to change the lines in order to pacify and to please certain people,
and to give certain people certain advantages over others. I can't
see if they change the line in one place why they can't change
it in another but they always tell me when I go with a good sugges-
tion or good solution, "You're trying to create a loop-hole!" When
the loop-hole has already been created and been made through their
own efforts in the office. But they think no one knows these
things and we'll keep them from understanding. Until such things
as these are stopped by people who are in authority and who have
the power and who have been elected and been appointed to do the
right thing, there will never be peace among the whites, the Indians
and the blacks. I think Robeson County is one of the grandest
places and one of the greatest places in this country to live. I
think we have lived so wonderfully together in peace and in harmony
but unless some of these things are corrected, there's not going
to be much more peace, there's not going to be much more harmony
between the races. Thank you.
AD: Mr. Dial may I speak to one matter please? I think it needs to
be put into this tape that because of the six administrative units
which operate the schools of this county, one for the county at large
and five for the cities, that the constituency of those cities are
able to vote for members of the county board of education. It
happens that because of the power of the charter units which is
predominately white in each incident. They are able to vote in
elections for the county board of education and they are able to see
that predominately white leadership controls the board of education.
Until very recently, there has never been a black or an Indian
on the five member baord of education.
The board of education then was altered by mandate from the governor
himself, Governor Sanford, I believe it was, so that one Indian
who was actually the choice of the power structure of whites, and
one black was the selection of the powers of the county. The power
structure was added as an appeasement to say that this board of
seven now exists with minority representation, but mind you, those
men were not elected by blacks, nor by Indians, but were appointed
and continue to be reinstated by the power structure and the
So, I think it must be pointed out in the midst of all of this
injustice in the school situation that unless we break the non-
equal voters protections situation, so that these predominately
white charter units are not able to control the county board of
education, we can never come to self-determination in solving
our own problems as an Indian community, or a black community or
a white community in the county that is educated by the county
board of education. Let it further be pointed out that because
of this particular situation the county system, then, is controlled
by the power vote of the charter units and the county system is
denied a vote for the city boards of education. They have complete
immunity fromt he administration except for some technical points
related to bond issues and some property and busing. Technically
the charter units that helped to elect and control the board of
education are immune to the administration of that county board of
education and this is a gross injustice. By the statement of
Attorney General Morgan in visiting him at his office and then later
meeting him in the legislative building of this state, he admitted
that it's unfair and that it was not just and right even though he
gave a decision from his office that because of certain technicalities
non-equal voter protection could not be challenged at this point
in Robeson County.
So, I think we must understand that there are unjust election processes
related to the school boards of education and related to the administra-
tion of the school situation in Robeson County. This is an assum-
tion of mine but I believe it can be verified.
There will never be any concern that the tax base will be raised
inthe county itself as long as the whites can have sanctuary in
the charter units and, within those units, are willing to pay
taxes for better schools for their children and grandchildren.
They will never be concerned that there might be higher taxes
where they have vast land holding in the rural community when sixty
percent of those in the rural community are Indian, twenty percent
are Negro, and only twenty percent are white. Therefore, the
powers that be, unless there's a merger of administrative systems,
will never be concerned that there be effective and better educational
programing for the constituency of the county. It seems to me it's
important that this issue be called to our attention in regard to
the entire school problem.
D: I agree on the idea of one school system for the entire county. But
the whites in power are complaining about busing. They didn't complain
about busing ten years ago because they were busing children all
over the county. We could drive on the way to school and we'd see
the little colored boy standing by the road shivering, the little
Indian boy shivering, and little white boy shivering. Three buses
going the same way, and yet there was a special chartered bus that
weent- out of Pembroke, North Carolina to Red Springs, North Carolina
to haul white children only. This caused our county a vast expense
but these things were never taken up. This was not only true, I
understand, in Pembroke and Robeson County, but all over the south,
so busing really isn't the issue. I think they're using this as
an out to try to get away from this federal compliance with federal
law. But until all people can see through the shield that's been
created, and really see what God created, and see that God
created man in his own image, so easily because of all the experi-
ences that we've head.
I for a long time looked through that shield and I saw something
else besides man. I saw what my father told me, I saw what my
mother told me. I saw what my environment taught me and what it
told me. I saw what my teacher who was so prejudice, told me. I
had to challenge myself to look very closely and see if I couldn't
see that God created man in his own image.
So, I am fortunate as a Lumbee. I don't see something else. I ca
say truthfully I've see through that shield with all the disappoint-
ments, heartaches, and experiences that I've had. I can see today
that God created man in his own image and as I look at my white
brother and, my black brother, even though he may wrong me, or even
though he may hurt me in some respect, I can see him only as an
individual that should be loved and should be respected and one that
I should be able to live with, work with, and respect. This is
the way I feel. I think I am one of the very fortunate Lumbee's
who have had this experience.
AD: Mr. Dial, who is principal of Prospect School, is home today and,
according to the paper, he has resigned but will wait this out and
not comment on it.
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