Title: Interview with Mr. James K. Brayboy (October 8, 1971)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007213/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Mr. James K. Brayboy (October 8, 1971)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: October 8, 1971
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007213
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 253

Table of Contents
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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

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S\ S/ c e D

LUM 253A /

INTERVIEWEE: Mr. James K. Brayboy pwh

DATE: October 8, 1971

D: October 8, 1971, Adolph Dial speaking. I am in McColl, South Carolina,

here at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James K. Brayboy. Mr. Brayboy, how

long have you lived in South Carolina?

B: I have lived in South Carolina since 1932. That would be S ._

~E~7'7".-'-i -- forty years.

D: Mr. Brayboy, you're originally from Robeson County?

B: Yes, sir.

D: Recently, y6u received some honor as Teacher of the Year. Wold you

tell us about that story? J f .

B: I was nominated in the term of M69-70 by the teachers from my district,

as District Teacher of the Year. This was an honor that I appreciated. I

can never forget one afternoon, an hour before dismissal time, that the

area superintendent came to my school and said to the children,"I am

going to take Mr. Brayboy's picture quite a number of times, children.

After I've taken a picture I will tell you why I wanted his picture."

She took the pictures, and then announced to the children/that the

day before that a committee had voted me District Teacher of the Year.

(Ij Then of course, I began working guided by Miss Hendricks, the guidance

-counselor in pillon High School to become State Teacher of the Year.

We sought to accomplish this/by having people express their opinion of

me as a teacher from anywhere over 01lDillon County or the county from

whee- I came, Robeson County. Many letters of congratulations came in,

the people visited the school and all of this was collected and put in


2 pwh

something in the form of a pamphlet, a Miss Hendricks took this to

the State Department in Columbia, and after a period of reading and

studying and considering this, the committee in Columbia chose me

as State Teacher of the Year.

D: For the State of South Carolina?

B: For the State of South Carolina.

D: Now, where did you go from here?

B: Then/iss Henricks, the counselor, sought to have me become National

Teacher of' the Year. All my information that had been accumulated ao -...*

$lj BB6from my friends over North and South Carolina, ws put
together in 'ap large pamphlet or book form, and Miss

Kendricks then took that to Washington, D.C. It there was considered

along with others who were seeking to become National Teacher of the

Year. I did not win National Teacher of the Year, but I was one of the

five mentioned of the five top teachers of the year. iyai ii-

hAe 0-lcd .o
D: fo- jh'iy .rof to become one of the finalists, somewhere on the West

Coast was ittor New York) reLook Magazine?

B: In Look Igfazine, I was then named as one of the five honorary teachers

of the nation.

D: Sponsored by Look 1gazine?

B: Sponsored by Lk magazine. Then I began to go from place to place. The

National Educational Association probably gave me the greatest trip1 to

San Francisco/, California, to the convention there where some six to ten

thousand members met in a week of meetings. I enjoyed it very much, and

I was able to meet the National Teacher of the Year, who was a teacher in

the Walla WallaWashingtonSchool I enjoyed meeting him. His name was

Johnny E. He was a very young man, and a very excellent

3 pwh

teacher .b1Aaes I was privileged to talk with many who knew him, and

it was a pleasure to meet him. It was Pasv to see ftht he possessed, the

characteristics that would go to,make a goqd teacher.

D: Yes, I recall that you were invited too, this same week to attend

a meeting with *4 dafts l something like. fifteen orl sixteen ; ethodists

went to id you warewak/ aa to make it because there was

a conflict in one of these meetingsai thai .yo" wIee making to

the West Coast. & when did you marry, Mr. Brayboy?

B: I married in 1931.

D: And your wife's name was ls. h ? I

B: Yes, sir, Lillian Hall before mrrfd iv i I ; I A

D: And Mrs. Hall was from tobesonCo', ti,, i,.. .. .....
S-' pfec-e.
B: That's right. Near Elrod, a l tte fro Pembro em oving toward


D: Was Mrs. Hall a Lumbee Indiant ,I

B: No, she wasn't. .

D: Mrs. Hall was white. ,

B: Yes.

D: At this time, was there any legislation on the books of North. Carolina

prohibiting Indians from marrying.whites in the state of North Carolina?

B: There was.

D: Did you feel like AgjE you'd be better off to move into South Carolina

at that particular time?

B: Yes.

D: However, you were never actually forced out of the county -

B: No. -

D: What was the largest enrollment that you had at the time that you were

principal of /./ocGrove School?


I .. i 'I i..;i1 i. : . ,i itI ,I

B: The, last year 'tat Ac6t; Grove operated, and that was the year that

I became State Teacher of the Year.

D: What year as that? ,, .,,

B: That was 4-Ss-

s p..wap the 1969--1970 term. We are not

yqi3 that my/becoming National Teacher of the Year knocked the school


D: Yeah, it was on its way out.

B: It was on its way out.

D: And what was the largest enrollment at anime?

B: The enrollment that year was fifty-seven.

D: Did you ever have more than two teachers in the school?

B: No, sir, just for one year.

D: How many did you have the year you made Teacher of the Year?

B: Fifty-seven.
D: Two teachers that year.

B: Two teachers. I would like to egy i aLs something here. Tha-a4s

-gragAates. The first seventh graders felt that maybe they could not:.go

to Dillon to high school ohey crossed over the line and went to

such schools that's familiar to many of us as Fair Grove, and Green

Grove, and other schools. Some arranged to live with their people in

and around Pembroke, -and went to Pembroke High School. Then, had a

meeting; it was decided that we should be allowed if we wanted to,

to attend the high school in Dillon.

D: When was this, i a fa at .

B: That was, t I think .%q as far back as 1950.

5 pwh

D: Were their any of the Indians attending the white 'schodls in McColl

or Dillon around..that time? : '

B: Yes, very few, .,, .

7-o Very w. 1i '
-BT--tery-fez. They had not .been asked ir-fold that thfy dould attend, but

they had not been told that they 6ou1id not' Jttend '"So ther gradually

went:into these schools t.:, i ,* J J

D: Before 1950, did you havd any 'bf ithl graduates who went into Dillon

High School or' any of the otherthigh schools in South Carolina?

B: No. i

D: We had no Indian high school in South Carolina?

B: No, 4k.t.-..

D: This meant that many of them, really, were somewhat deprived of a

high school education,because it was not available.

B: That is true, fhemg the ate epartmentgave usr 3a500 ^^gB and,

a privilege to cut many large pines that was on the school site. 4Sso--

they used the lumber and built another room on this already two-room

school e to allow us to have high school, or teach. the eighth and

ninth grades. A4#1A y y after two years of that, the doors

were opened wide and the seventh graders, most of them, went to high

school to Dillon, and have continued to do so -fspr "-ss ao up

to the end of the school.

D: And they began to go to Dillon in 19501

B: Yes, /n 1950. 1-4-iseat1 I would like to be

clear in that no -Eno Indian to my knowledge/was ever refused entry

into Dillon High School before then, but they were shy and closed to any

of these schools.

D: In other words, part of the fault perhaps, was on their own.

6 pwh
'I :; ... l .- : : n. b l i ,/ y .1 P

B: That's right. They, could have gone, I feel sure. ,

D: Now) you've been active in' the Methodist Church. How many Indian churches

do you have in South Carolina that you know of, of the Lumbee Indians?

5 Your church, and...?

,Ard; t GroYe ChurctASj,

p;-^fv~ Mw^Ietnodi6, |
B: Fairview Methodist, and ,j-igGrove BaptistA and Pee Dee Baptiste/'

was in and around the Pee Dee, near /ia/ar. Grove School, whdch. was then

,j/cc-,-t Grove School. There is some other Indian churches that are not

in South Carolina, but very, very near. There is still another Methodist

church near ,g/ /ithat is predominantly Indian.

D: What is this?

B: This is Hickory Grove

1: h1ehodist Church..

D: Yes.

B: I would like to mention that these churches, 'Fai iew Methodist Church

and Hickory Grove Methodist Church, are linked up in the North Carolina

Conference with. the Indian churches of Robeson Coufrty.

D: This is unusual.,

.B: Yes.

D: Very unusual.

B: I believe that someone asked when unification come about.,Jn r .Z believe

in 1939 tt the lineAsince we were a part of what we call the Pembroke

Parish, that these two churches be allowed to continue in the North

Carolina Conference in order that they might be with their Indian


\ 7 pwh

D: Are most of the Indians in South Carolina landowners, or those who farm,

are most of them tenants?

B: Most of them,1M)p I.Mion are tenants s sharecroppers. kow as far as

/Y.;ir JfiT and maybe it is a good thing, mechanical farming has forced

them into industry, s I might add toopie, that if any of them have

been discriminated .against in the industries that have sprung up in every

little town just about in textile work...if any of them have been dis-

criminated against ) do not know it, many of them are now working in

these plants in Clio, in McColl, in Dillon, in Hamer, and many of them,

Bennettsville, and Oak River, which is not in either one of these

towns, but out in the country. Mechanical farming brought about this.

These landlords could not use many of them, because they just needed

a few tractor drivers, and that was about it to carry out the farming.

: 94s would you say -tf. there's

less prejudice over the years in South Carolina to the Lumbee Indians

than in Robeson County?

B: ^a v^. ;

D: As a matter of fact, many of the people from Robeson myself for one,

I came to Bennettsville, South Carolina to marry because many people

were just coming, and it would be easier to marry in South Carolina,

4( of course, if they married b white in Robeson County up until very

recently, if they had a church wedding, they had/what we called a dry

run. They would come down in South Carolina and marry, and then return

to the church ,$Wand have a church wedding, W actually they
/ 4V. tnW 5 mrrT,'A .
were already married, because the law prohibited the Indian from whites.

Of course, many people came down to mary in South. Carolina, not for that

reasonA rAt# Indians marrying Indians, it was convenient to sign up here,

.5 horf- and' come back and marry.

8 pwh

A *, : ... i

B: Yes.

D: *Mr. Brayboy, howmany Lumbee Indians would you say is in South Carolina?

1B: The Indians now, it just happens that right now in our schools we have

been asked by our area superintendent to determine as near as we can,/^
nre are r
how many Indian s. l all our district, and all

the districts are 4h _d*'nf that. We have found thatAfor instance'

in my school t re areig t 'A.erican Indias..

D: Where are you teaching now?

B: I teach in Little Rock. I '

D: Are you the principal?

B: I'm the principal. I would say roughly that in these two counties,

armmefrnr "nmi every one, not just school children, I would say
1o sv/ib/1/ I .
that eppre a ly there is .. o.. ,
I L 1I
D: Now what do you thihk the total population of Indians in Dillon County,

in Marlboro County, i i nl ounyin South Carolina?

B: Between Q and '

D: Mr. Brayboy, OvJ E.'c you feel all during this time your school

was a one-tettcLt- school, or a two-tca, l school at the most. How did

you feel about itis*, dyalth'!L rv, r.wer giving good instruction,,

did you feel t-.\t maybe i-\L- idildrc "P-A. really.being deprived of some-


B: I was ce-rWcka[ t out tkef^or a le I A.iM kept striving to get any-

thtine frtM.' ;or the 04 4L :en, 'S-s-^'^IZ to help them/o bde
better students gg j devig ttjpf t(,t:better nS mA4 Wii t just

happened that ai .ffg j hat tyjW, a4ong came free textboks/ and school

lunchthose were two things that made it better at my school.

D: Was there any time that you thought about trying to dissolve the

school, say even before the 1954 Supreme Court D'ecision. that you

S 1 ... iI l) u i.ij chii ldr..;., to uiik: tLii'm LO 10 l I t Ii n t i -

thought about dissolving The school, and entering the other schools,

AfM if so, do you think you could have done it?

B: Consolidation was being talked long before it actually happened.

D: Was it talked even before the Supreme Court esio desegregation?

B: Yes. It was talked.

D: How did the Indians feel about it?

B: The Indians Avs^qp did not favor it. They wanted to continue as

Indians in an'Indian school; however, as time moved on, they gradually

felt that consolidation would be the thing for them, if Dillon County

at hsa time could provide transportation Ay i,) -tr r-if ooLk-4 he pf-. .

D: Do you have one daughter?

B: One daughter.

D: Where is she now?

B: She is in Charlotte En). She married a Southern Bell lnan. They have been

transferred .

D: Has your association in South Carolina been mostly with. whites over the

years socially or with the Indians?

B: The time spent in the area where I've settled, that I moved out

from Dillon into tE4 F p-Ul'etl) section. When I was at home I was

with Indians. When I was away from home, I was with whites. So I would

say that it's about fifty-fiftynow/I live her in cColl Ed m

neighbors i mostlywa whte. p/eo / ,I h

D: Are you a graduate from Pembroke State University?

B: Yes,sir. It was Pembroke State College however, when I graduated in 1958.

If you were to read quite a number of these pages in this scrapbook,

you would find that the _tate said something like this that South.'

Carolina said something like this that I taught school during the time.

and went to summer school in summer. That is true.

10 pwh

D: When you received your Normal degree.

B: I received that in 128. 0.

D: With the first graduating class of Pembroke State?

B: First graduating class.

D: Of two year normal.

B: Yeah,then I started workingy;-uy, just teaching school, and for

ten or fifteen years I did not go to a summer school. Then I started

going to t summer school, and when I marched finally on the stage to

receive my, college degree, one of the men on the stage, 1kSaar at-"

SSn,. Dr. Hebebrt Oxendine, said just as my namewas called out,

he said, "I want to say for this candidate that he labored thirty

years for this diploma,"and I wanted to say)but didn't, "You know how

it is for a backward student!" But the reason for that of course, was

working off two college years hours of the two college yearsA ust

working in the summer.

D: How old are you now, sixty-five?

B: Sixty-five.

D: When are you going to retire?

B: At the end of this term.

D: What do you plan to do?

B: I have been told by my. neighbors and by thosl around nme who are retired

to have something to piddle fa I understand that the town has said that

they will see that I have plenty to piddle at. And one sAid, "I can start

you off now at piddling."/I said, "What?"JHe said, "Collecting

delinquent taxes." 1a1 f^r I shook my head very strongly on that.

I9Another one said, "I want you to keep books for me. in my little

garage." He said,"You can come over and work one hour a day. Go back

to the house. Just keep a book on my business."

4 1.

11 pwh

D: J r -ynt 1* in retrospect, as you look back at your
career and education over the years, what would you suggest yOC affg,,

if you could undo, what would 'you do that you didn't do, as far as over-

all for the race and so forth?

B: Now, I had heard a lot of people saythat if they had to live their

life over they would live it just like they had lived it. I couldn't

quite say that. I would say that possibly,.if I would have pushed for

consolidation as strongly as I pushed for transportation, and for

free books ,and for a lunchroom, that it might have been better.

D: Do you think maybe that would overweigh A this thing of identity

and so forth?

B: I think that the ideaA and don't get me wrong, the word Indian is not

mentioned as much in South Carolina afdP ^ as It is in North Carol-

ina. _E- oltahat.rlwe could hardly say that tha, Indians

were discriminated againstbut the Indian felt like A maybe he was

not welcome to enter the Dillon High School.

D: But yet, he was discriminated against as far as having equal equipment

and supplies and so forth/in a small school?

B: That's right.

D: In your philosophy of education hare, I see you have,"I know about

a monster of ignorance. There's a joy in serving to combat him. Yet the

desire to lessen his curse in our community, ______ '_

that is dignified and rewarding. ".When you applied for a teaching position

here, would ypu tell us about that?
I ---
B: Yes, I went into the office of the then superintendent of education for

Dillon County./I told him I had come to make application to teach. in a

little one-room school up in the upper4dge of the county near the North

Carolina line. Ie began to question me, and one of his questions was,

12 pwh

"Why have you come down here to work rather than among your people

up in Robeson County?" sid, "I would very much like for you, Mr.

____ _/_r__ p, to call Mr. J.R. Poole,"ho was rintendent when
I last taught in Robeson County. He called Mr. Poole, but he also

asked me to come very close to the phone, so I could hear what Mr.

Poole said. I believe-that Mr. IL.fCrrn wanted to be sure that I got

exactly what he did say. j&. Mr. Poole said," I regard this Mr.

Brayboy a fine gentleman." He said, "I have visited in his SC 5 I1

during periods when he was teaching, and I feel that he is an ex,.

cellent teacher." a a- -Thgrnt soi sE a Mr. Cf64cr"
di,'c yo ,no+ 6.e a h i..
said, "Then, why i i n g?"Well," he said, "There's only
he. mrnarrc) '
one C I wm a white lady, and they frown on thatoo

up here." And Mr. /, C C / i-rno

thanked him very much. and hung up.

\, ^


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