Monday, March 18, 2013

Dean's (Dr Thomas Goins) Stand

Reposted with the kind permission of StacyMae Webb


Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Black & White World of Walter Plecker


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From: http://historical-melungeons.com/ and re-posted with kind permission from Joanne Pezzullo



Walter Plecker



I believe in today’s day and age it is not only disturbing but shocking that the paper genocide of the Virginia Indians which began with Walter Ashby Plecker is being resurrected via the internet. Plecker who was head of the Virginia Registrar’s Offiice for thirty four years believed there were no true Indians left as they all had been ’tainted’ by the African blood. There are some who apparently believe that Walter Plecker was appointed by the Governor of Virginia and therefore simply doing his job but this is ridiculous when one reads the many letters he wrote, the many threats of imprisonment to doctors, nurses, midwifes and clergy and his many speeches. In 2004 STYLE WEEKLY published an article; The Black & White World of Walter Plecker (1) and wrote;

“In 1932, Plecker gave a keynote speech at the Third International Conference on Eugenics in New York. Among those in attendance was Ernst Rudin of Germany who, 11 months later, would help write Hitler's eugenics law.

In 1935, Plecker wrote to Walter Gross, the director of Germany's Bureau of Human Betterment and Eugenics. He outlined Virginia's racial purity laws and asked to be put on a mailing list for bulletins from Gross' department. Plecker complimented the Third Reich for sterilizing 600 children in Algeria who were born to German women and black men. "I hope this work is complete and not one has been missed," he wrote. "I sometimes regret that we have not the authority to put some measures in practice in Virginia."


Plecker’s work appears to be gaining strength by adopting the idea that the ‘one drop’ of African blood invalidates any claim to Native American ancestry. In other words if there is any trace of African ancestry they are no longer “Indians” but become Free African Americans. When the Native tribes mixed with the English they certainly did not become English and no one called them whites nor when they mixed with the French, Germans, etc. They were still ‘called’ Indians.
There are many Cherokee living on Cherokee lands in Oklahoma that probably have more ‘white’ blood than these so called ‘Free African Americans’ yet they are, and always have been, called Native American Indians. Not so with the Virginia and Carolina Indians, even the remote possibility of ‘one drop’ and they are stripped of their heritage.
Although these online records contain numerous qualifiers (2) there is no doubt the ‘African American’ ancestry will be passed down for many generations and the Native American ancestry will be written out of their history.


(1)  Style Weekly
(2)  Qualifiers are often necessary, such as when your evidence or your claim is open to doubt. In such cases, using a qualifier allows you to present your findings with what we can call "confident uncertainty," which reflects a need to be cautious and critical about the data you're presenting. Sometimes you may be required to present your ideas before you have had a chance to fully interpret your research findings. At other times, you may want to remind readers of the limitations of your particular research. UNC EDU





Walter Plecker Letters





A Series of Letters Relating to The Melungeons of Newman's Ridge

Commonwealth of Virginia
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Department of Health
Richmond, VA

December 26, 1929
William T. Adcock
Amherst Virginia.
Dear William: I received your letter of October 30th 1929 in which you say that "We have decided to lose the last drop of blood we have in us before we will be classed as colored".In order to know upon what grounds you considered yourself white, I wrote to you twice asking you to tell us who was your mother and who was her mother. You did not reply to either letter as we certainly expected you to do if you are attempting to maintain that they are white. I did not however ask you that because we did not know but simply to see what you would say.The old birth records which we have, made by the Commissioners of the Revenue as they visited the homes of the people to assess them for taxes gives your family history clearly. The Commissioners of the Revenue knew every family perfectly well, just what they were, and where they came from.These records show that your father Elisha Willis was a colored man. The old tax records also gave him as colored. Your mother Margaret Adcock was the daughter of Belinda (sometlmes called Malinda) Branham, recorded as a mulatto, and Wiliam Adcock. Belinda your mother was a daughter of Creasy Branham.We have in our office a copy of Woodson's list of "free negroes" of the 1830 U. S. Census which gives Creasy Branham of Amherst County as a free negro.Responsible people of Amherst County, now living, make the same statement. She was generally known as "a little brown skinned negro who lived to be nearly one hundred years old".In 1899 you took out a license to marry Mary (or Polly) Branham. This license gives both of you as colored. The record of the birth of your wife Polly Branham December 25, 1875 gives her as colored and the daughter of Marshall and Arnetta Branham.With the evidence as given above I am compelled under the 1924 Act to list you and your children and all other descendants of Creasy Branham or Elisha Willis or their blood relatives as colored.I want to warn you that the Racial Integrity Law of 1924 makes it a penitentiary offense for anyone with a trace of negro to marry a white person or to register in the Bureau of Vital Statistics as white. All midwives or heads of families who attempt to register "free issues" or colored births or deaths as white, are liable to be indicted on a felony charge.
Yours very truly,
W.A. Plecker
State Registrar

WAP




August 5, 1930

-----------------
Mr. J. P. Kelly
Trustee of Schools
Pennington Gap
Lee County, Virginia
------------------
Dear Sir: Our office has had a great deal of trouble in reference to the persistence of a group of people living in that region known as "Melungeons", whose families came from Newman's Ridge, Tennessee. They are evidently of negro origin and are so recognized in Tennessee but when they have come over into Virginia they have been trying to pass as white. In a few instances we learn that they have married a low type of white people which increases the problem.We understand that some of these negroes attempted to send their children to the Pennington Gap white school and that they were turned out by the School Board. Will you please give us a statement as to the names of the children that were thus refused admittance into the white schools and the names and addresses of their parents. If possible, we desire the full name of the father and the maiden name of the mother.As these families originated out of Virginia, our old birth, death, and marraige records covering the period, 1853 through 1896, do not have them listed by color as are those whose families have lived in Virginia for a number of generations. They are demanding of us that we register them as white, which we persistently refuse to do. If we can get a statement that the School Board has refused them admittance into the white schools, we can use that as one of the grounds upon which we would refuse to classify them as white. That, of course, is a matter of history and does not involve any individual but the whole School Board, the responsibility thus being divided up while few individuals who write to us as to their negro characteristics are willing to have their names used or to appear in court should it become necessary. This makes it very difficult for us to secure necessary information to properly classify them in our office. If the School trustees will co-operate with our office and will refuse them admittance into the white schools and give us information when such refusals are made, we can withough great difficulty hold them in their place, but this co-operation is very essential.I do not know who is the Clerk of the School Board or who would be the proper one to apply to but your name has been given to me.
Yours very truly,
(signature)
W.A. Plecker
State Registrar
WAP:W 




August 5, 1942

Secretary of State,
Nashville, Tennessee.

Dear Sir:

Our bureau is the only one in any State making an intensive study of the population of its citizens by race.

We have in some of the counties of southwestern Virginia a number of so-called Melungeons who came into that section from Newmans Ridge, Hancock County, Tennessee, and who are classified by us as of negro origin though they make various claims, such as Portugese, Indians, etc.

The law of Virginia says that any one with any ascertainable degree of negro is to be classified as colored and we are endeavoring to so classify those who apply for birth, death and marriage registrations.

We have a list of the free negroes, by counties, of the 1830 U. S. Census in which we find the racial origin of most of these Melungeons classified as mulattoes. In that period, 1830, we do not find the name of Hancock County, but presume that it was made up from portions of other counties, possible Grainger and Hawkins, where we find considerable numbers of these Melungeon families listed.

Will you please advise as to that point and particularly which of these original counties Newmans Ridge was in.

Thanking you in advance and with kindest regards, I am

Very truly yours,

W. A. Plecker, M. D.
State Registrar.

WAP/mhd
encl.






August 12, 1942

Mr. W. A. Plecker,
State Registrar
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Richmond, Virginia

My dear Sir:

The Secretary of State has sent your letter to my desk for reply.

You have asked us a hard question.

The origin of the Melungeons has been a disputed question in Tennessee ever since we can remember.
Hancock County was established by an Act of the General Assembly passed January 7th, 1844 and was formed from parts of Claiborne and Hawkins counties.

Newman's Ridge, which runs through Hancock county north of Sneedville, is parallel with Clinch River and just south of Powell Mountain. The only map on which we find it located is edited by H. C. Amick and S. J. Folmsbee of the University of Tennessee in 1941 published by Denoyer-Geppert Co., 5235 Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, listed as [TN 7S]* TENNESSEE. On this map is shown Newman's Ridge as I have sketched it on this little scrap of paper, inclosed. But we do not have the early surveys showing which county it as originally in. It appears that it may have been in Claiborne according to the Morris Gazetteer of Tennessee 1834 which includes this statement: "Newman's Ridge, one of the spurs of Cumberland Mountain, in East Tennessee, lying in the north east angle of Claiborne County, west of Clinch River, and east of Powell's Mountain. It took its name from a Mr. Newman who discovered it in 1761."

Early historians of East Tennessee who lived in that section and knew the older members of this race refer to Newman's Ridge as "quite a high mountain, extending through the entire length of Hancock County, and into Claiborne County on the west. It is between Powell Mountain on the north and Clinch River on the south." Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year:
"I have lived here at the base of Newman's Ridge, Blackwater, being on the opposite side, for the last 71 years and well know the history of these people on Newman's Ridge and Blackwater enquired about as Melungeons. These people were friendly to the Cherokees who came west with the white imigration from New River and Cumberland, Virginia, about the year 1790...The name Melungeon was given them on account of their color. I have seen the oldest and first settlers of this tribe who first occupied Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and I have owned much of the lands on which they settled.. They obtained their land grants from North Carolina. I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians. They took their names from white people of that name with whom they came here. They were reliable, truthful and faithful to anything they promised. In the Civil War most of the Melungeons went into the Union army and made good soldiers. Their Indian blood has about run out. They are growing white... They have been misrepresented by many writers. In former writings I have given their stations  and stops on their way as they emigrated to this country with white people, one of which places was at the mouth of Stony Creek on Clinch river in Scott County, Virginia, where they built fort and called it Ft. Blackamore after Col. Blackamore who was with them... When Daniel Boone was here hunting 1763-1767, these Melungeons were not here."

The late Judge Lewis Shepherd, prominent jurist of Chattanooga, went further in his statements in his "Personal Memoirs", and contended that this mysterious racial group descended from the Phoenicians of Ancient Carthage. This was his judgment after investigations he made in trying a case featuring the complaint that they were of mixed negro blood, which attempt failed, and which brought out the facts that many of their ancestors had settled early in South Carolina when they migrated from Portugal to America about the time of the Revolutionary war, and later moved into Tennessee. At the time of this trial covered by Judge Shepherd "charges that Negro blood contaminated the Melungeons and barred their intermarriage with Caucasians created much indignation among families of Phoenician descent in this section."

But I imagine if the United States Census listed them as mulattoes their listing will remain. But it is a terrible claim to place on people if they do not have negro blood. I often have wondered just how deeply the census takers went into an intelligent study of it at that early period.

I have gone into some detail in this reply to explain the mooted question and why it is not possible for me to give you a definite answer. I hope this may assist you to some extent.

Sincerely,


Mrs. John Trotwood Moore
State Librarian and Archivist





August 20, 1942

Mrs. John Trotwood Moore
State Librarian and Archivist
State Department of Education
Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Mrs. Moore:

We thank you very much for your informative letter of August 12 in reply to our inquiry, addressed to the Secretary of State, as to the original counties from which Hancock County, Tennessee, was formed. We are particularly interested in tracing back, as far as possible, to their ultimate origin the melungeons of the Newmans Ridge section, especially as enumerated in the free negro list by counties of the states in the U. S. 1830 census. This group appears to be in many respects of the same type as a number of groups in Virginia, some of which are known as "free issues," or descendants of slaves freed by their masters before the War Between the States. In one case in particular which we have traced back to its origin, and which we believe to be typical of the others, a slave woman was freed with her two mulatto sons and colonized in Amherst County in connection with a group of similar freed negroes. These sons were presumably the children of the woman's owner, and this seemed to be the most satisfactory way of disposing of them. One of those sons became the head of one of the larger families of that group. All of these groups have the same desire, which Captain L. M. Jarvis says the melungeons have, to become friends of Indians and to be classed as Indians. He referred to the effort which the melungeon group made to be accepted by the Cherokees, apparently without great success. It is interesting also to know the opinion expressed by Captain Jarvis that these freed negroes migrated into that section with the white people. That is perfectly natural as they have always endeavored to tie themselves up as closely as possible either with the whites or Indians and are striving to break away from the true negro type.

We have a book, compiled by Carter G. Woodson, a negro, entitled "Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830," listing all of the free negroes of the 1830 census by counties. Of the names that Captain Jarvis gave, we find included in that list in Hawkins County, Solomon Collins, Vardy Collins, and Sherod (probably Shepard) Gibson. We find also Zachariah Minor, probably the head of the family in which we are especially interested at this time. We find also the names of James Moore (two families by this name) and Jordan and Edmund Goodman. In the list for Grainger County we find at least twelve Collins and Collens heads of families. This shows that they were evidently considered locally as free negroes by the enumerators of the 1830 census.

One of the most interesting parts of your letter is that relating to the opinion of the Judge mentioned, in his "Personal Memoirs," who


Page 2


Mrs. John Trotwood Moore, con't
August 20, 1942

seemed to have accepted as satisfactory certain evidence which was presented to him that these people are of Phoenician descent from ancient Carthage, which was totally destroyed by Rome. We have in Virginia white people, descendants of  Pocahontas, who married John Rolfe about 1616. About twelve generations have passed since then, and we figured out that there was about 1/4000th of 1% of Pocahontas blood now in their veins, though they seem to be quite proud of that. If you go back to the destruction of Carthage in 146 B. C., or to the destruction of Tyre by Pompey in 64 B. C., when all characteristic features of national life became extinct and with it racial identity, you will see that the fraction of 1% of Phoenician blood would reach astronomical proportions and be totally lost in the various mixtures of North Africans, with which the Carthaginians afterwards mixed. The Judge also speaks of the inclusion of Portuguese blood with this imaginary Phoenician blood. It is a historical fact, well known to those who have investigated, that at one time there were many African slaves in Portugal. Today there are no true negroes there but their blood shows in the color and racial characteristics of a large part of the Portuguese population of the present day. That mixture, even if it could be shown, would be far from constituting these people white. We are very much afraid that the Judge followed the same course pursued by one of our Virginia judges in hearing a similar case, when he accepted the hearsay evidence of people who testified that they had always understood that the claimants were of Indian origin, regardless of the documentary evidence reaching back in some cases to or near to the Revolutionary War, showing them to be descendants of freed negroes.

We will require other evidence than that of Captain Jarvis and His Honor before classifying members of the group who are now causing trouble in Virginia by their claims of Indian descent, with the privilege of inter-marrying into the white race, permissible when a person can show his racial composition to be one-sixteenth or less Indian, the remainder white with no negro intermixture. We have found after very laborious and painstaking study of records of various sorts that none of our Virginia people now claiming to be Indian are free from negro admixture, and they are, therefore, according to our law classified as colored. In that class we include the melungeons of Tennessee.

We again thank you for your care in passing on this information and would be delighted if you ever visit in Virginia and in Richmond if you will come into our office. Miss Kelley and I would be greatly pleased to talk with you on this and kindred subjects and to show you the work which Miss Kelley is doing in properly classifying the population of Virginia by racial origin. She is doing work which, so far as I know, has never before been attempted.

Very sincerely yours,


W. A. Plecker, M. D.
State Registrar

WAP:w


____________________________________________________________________________ 
September 10, 1942

W. A. Plecker, M. D. Registrar
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Department of Health
Richmond, Virginia

My dear Dr. Pleckner:

You were most kind to reply so fully to my letter, and you have given me so much information on this vitally interesting subject that I am really grateful.

My husband was so interested in it and had studied it with a view to writing on the subject but never got around to it. I recall that he was interested in an article on the Melungeons that appeared perhaps two years before his death (May 10, 1929) in the Dearborn Independent. I do not have the article but I think it was written by a North Carolina writer. I am sorry I cant be more definite but if there is a file in the State or Public Library it might interest you.

We have Carter G. Woodson's "Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830", but I have never made a study of it.

Virginia is fortunate to have you and Miss Kelly doing such an important piece of research. I wish Tennessee could borrow you. Anyhow, what you are doing will be, in effect, for all the Southern States and there was never a time when it was more needed.

If I am in Richmond at any time I shall certainly be pleased to stop by your office and talk with you and Miss Kelley. If your work is to be published we shall want to secure a copy for this library.

Thank you for the circulars inclosed and I wish you full success with your undertaking.

Sincerely,


Mrs. John Trotwood Moore
State Librarian and Archivist

MRS JTM:VAR




Local Registrars, Physicians, Health
Offices, Nurses, School Superintendents,
and Clerks of the Courts

Dear Co-workers:

Our December 1942 letter to local registrars, also mailed to the clerks, set forth the determined effort to escape from the negro race of groups of "free issues," or descendents of the "free mulattoes" of early days, so listed prior to 1865 in the United States census and various types of State records, as distinguished from slave negroes.

Now that these people are playing up the advantages gained by being permitted to give "Indian" as the race of the child's parents on birth certificates, so we see the great mistake made in not stopping earlier the organized propagation of this racial falsehood. They have been using the advantage thus gained as an aid to intermarriage into the white race and to attend white schools, and now for some time they have been refusing to register with war draft boards as negroes, as required by the boards which are faithfully performing their duties. Three fo these negroes from Caroline County were sentenced to prison on January 12 in the United States Court at Richmond for refusing to obey the draft law unless permitted to classify themselves as "Indians."

Some of these mongrels, finding that they have been able to sneak in their birth certificates unchallenged as Indians are now making a rush to register as white. Upon investigation we find that a few local registars have been permitting such certificates to pass through their hands unquestioned and without warning our office of the fraud. Those attempting this fraud should be warned that they are liable to a penalty of one year in the penitentiary (Section 5099a of the Code). Several clerks have likewise been actually granting them licenses to marry whites, or at least to marry amongst themselves as Indian or white. The danger of this error always confronts the clerk who does not inquire carefully as to the residence of the woman when he does not have positive information. The law is explicit that the license be issued by the clerk of the county or city in which the woman resides.

To aid all of you in determining just which are the mixed families, we have made a list of their surnames by counties and cities, as complete as possible at this time. This list should be preserved by all, even by those in counties and cities not included, as these people are moving around over the State and changing race at the new place. A family has just been investigated which was always recorded as negro around Glade Springs, Washington County, but which changed to white and married as such in Roanoke County. This is going on constantly and can be prevented only by care on the part of local registrars, clerks, doctors, health workers, and school authorities.

Please report all known or suspicious cases to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, giving names, ages, parents, and as much other information as possible. All certificates of these people showing "Indian" or "white" are now being rejected and returned to the physician or midwife, but local registrars hereafter must not permit them to pass their hands uncorrected or unchallenged and without a note of warning to us. One hundred and fifty thousand other mulattoes in Virginia are watching eagerly the attempt of their pseudo-Indian brethren, ready to follow in a rush when the first have made a break in the dike.




Very truly yours,

W.A. Plecker, M.D.
State Registrar of Vital Statistics




Page 2 - SURNAMES, BY COUNTIES AND CITIES - VIRGINIA FAMILIES STRIVING TO PASS AS "INDIAN" AND/OR WHITE

Albemarle:
Moon, Powell, Kidd, Pumphrey

Amherst: (Migrants to Allegheney and Campbell)
Adcock (Adcox), Beverly (this famiy is now trying to evade the situation by adopting the name of Burch or Birch, which was the name of the white mother of the present adult generation), Branham, Duff, Floyd, Hamilton, Hartless, Hicks, Johns, Lawless, Nukles (Knuckles), Painter, Ramsey, Redcross, Roberts, Southwards (Suthards, Southerds, Southers), Sorrells, Terry, Tyree, Willis, Clark, Cash, Wood

Bedford:
McVey, Maxey, Branham, Burley (See Amherst County)

Rockbridge: (Migrants to Augusta)
Cash, Clark, Coleman, Duff, Floyd, Hartless, Hicks, Mason, Mayse (Mays), Painters, Pults, Ramsey, Southerds (Southers, Southards, Suthards), Sorrell, Terry, Tyree, Wood, Johns

Charles City:
Collins, Dennis, Bradby, Howell, Langston, Stewart, Wynn, Custalow (Custaloo), Dungoe, Holmes, Miles, Page, Allmond, Adams, Hawkes, Spurlock, Doggett

New Kent:
Collins, Bradby, Stewart, Wynn, Adkins, Langston

Henrico and Richmond City:
See Charles City, New Kent, and King William

Caroline:
Byrd, Fortune, Nelson. (See Essex)

Essex and King and Queen:
Nelson, Fortune, Byrd, Cooper, Tate, Hammond, Brooks, Boughton, Prince, Mitchell, Robinson

Elizabeth City & Newport News:
Stewart (descendants of Charles City families).

Halifax:
Epps (Eppes), Stewart (Stuart), Coleman, Johnson, Martin, Talley, Sheppard (Shepard), Young.

Norfolk County & Portsmouth:
Sawyer, Bass, Weaver, Locklear (Locklair), King, Bright, Porter

Westmoreland:
Sorrells, Worlds (or Worrell), Atwells, Butridge, Okiff.

Greene:
Shifflett, Shiflet

Prince William:
Tyson, Segar. (See Fauquier)

Fauquier:
Hoffman (Huffman), Riley, Colvin, Phillips. (See Prince William)

Lancaster:
Dorsey (Dawson)

Washington:
Beverly, Barlow, Thomas, Hughes, Lethcoe, Worley

Roanoke County:
Beverly (See Washington)

Lee and Smyth:
Collins, Gibson, (Gipson), Moore, Goins, Ramsey, Delph, Bunch, Freeman, Mise, Barlow, Bolden (Bolin), Mullins, Hawkins

Scott:
Dingus (See Lee County)

Russell:
Keith, Castell, Stillwell, Meade, Proffitt. (See Lee and Tazewell)

Tazewell:
Hammed, Duncan. (See Russell)

Wise:
See Lee, Scott, Smyth, and Russell Counties.








Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Half Moon Prairie - Documentary Project

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From:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1212623498/unfortunate-0


Posted with the kind permission of Cynthia Hoelscher. Please visit Cynthia's site at the link above for information on how you can pledge your contribution and help make this project possible.

Half Moon Prairie

A Documentary project in Corpus Christi, TX by Cynthia Hoelscher
ABOUT THIS PROJECT

The Shawnee.  The Quapaw.  The Delaware. The Kickapoo.  The Coushatta.  The Cherokee and all allied tribes of Texas in 1821.  Native Americans should be honored for their contributions in history.  This project honors not one misrepresented Native American hero in history, but we follow in the footsteps of many brave Native Americans who helped make Texas what we are today.  Without them, the geography of the United States might look quite different today.
A Lumbee Goins descendent named Pamela DeRensis and I met at the quiet family cemetery in the woods of  the Ft. Bragg Military Base, North Carolina.  Several headstones were engraved with ornate symbols.  There is no doubt the language is Cherokee, but it is an old form of Cherokee that is not used anymore.  The meanings of the Native American symbols are lost to us, but we believe the language is much older than the stones.  This was the homeland of William Bill Goyens of Nacogdoches. We were on sacred ground. 
Previous biographers of Goyens often posed the questions in their essays: "How did he know how to speak Cherokee?"  "How could he be an Indian agent under Sam Houston?  "When and how did he come to Texas."  We have solved these mysteries and have the documents which explain an intriguing period of Native American history.
My father and I set out to answer the questions many years ago.  The winding journey encompassed 25 years.
No one suspected that the stars aligned on a fateful day in Alabama,  March 1814.  Stars aligned for the State of Texas, as Goyens, Chief Bowles, the Old Settler families and Sam Houston would be instrumental in Texas' Battle for Independence.
When the documents-- collected from over four states-- were presented once more in the oldest town in Texas, the scholars shook their heads in dismay and said. "How Unfortunate."  Unfortunate??? There has been no effort to correct the misrepresentations on Bill Goyens or the portrait of Chief Bowles depicted in a statue in Nacogdoches as being lowly and stooped, lorded over by Houston and his treaty.  No mention is made of the honor and loyalty of the Quapaw, the Kickapoo, the Delaware, the Coushatta and other Allied tribes and their role in Republic of Texas history.  It is a travesty . . .  .but it is not unfortunate, yet.   It will be unfortunate if nothing is done.  And that's where your support comes in.  Our nation is much more diverse than the text books reveal.  To expound on Native American contributions to our history is not unfortunate.  To celebrate the First Nation's heroes is not unfortunate either.  The Native American children and future generations should not be denied their role models and their heroes. 
This film  is being made because it is the right thing to do.  For the Cherokee peoples and their allied tribes: the Shawnee, the Kickapoo, the Quapaw, the Delaware, the Coushatta and for Native American tribes as a whole. Thanks to a discussion with a Sundance Film Festival director, we understand the budget requirements to produce a quality documentary and once we've reached this financial mark, we will initiate production under a professional director.  We have a business plan.  We have a budget which we hope this project will help in funding the production phase.  We will launch our full-length, professionally directed documentary in the Indigenous People Films category at a future Sundance Festival which will be determined by the production process.   We are experienced in accountability for funds since we've worked with grants and every penny of these funds will be used in the making of a quality documentary. 
Thank you for supporting this film. 
Cyndie.large
Cyndie Goins Hoelscher has spent the past 25 years researching the diverse community of Moore County, North Carolina and migrations to Texas. Reconstructing small communities based on kinship, social structure and migrations, her research illustrates the intricate nature of small townships in the South. Hoelscher graduated from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, TX with an Associate of Arts: History; Del Mar College Hall of Fame, Phi Theta Kappa, Biercoe Distinguished Scholar Medal, Honors Institute (Elizabethtown, PA) and USA Today Award. She received her BA: History from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, distinguishing herself as a Ronald McNair scholar and recipient of a College Language Association Award for Fiction, Spellman College, Atlanta. Her work honors people regarded as marginal throughout United States history.
  1. cyndiesmusings.blogspot.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

Butts County, GA Early Records

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From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butts_County,_Georgia

History

Butts County was formed on December 24, 1825 as the sixty-fourth county in Georgia from portions of Henry County and Monroe County. It was named by the Georgia General Assembly in honor of Samuel Butts, an officer who was killed in the Creek War in 1814.[4][5] A year later, Jackson was created as the first city in the new county and became the county seat. Other towns followed, including Indian Springs (1837); Flovilla (1883); Jenkinsburg (1889); and Pepperton (1897). Indian Springs later became unincorporated and Pepperton was merged with Jackson in 1966, leaving 3 incorporated cities in Butts County. In recent years, Indian Springs has again become a tourist destination including many historic sites, shops, eating establishment and the famous Indian Springs Hotel as its centerpiece.

Much of Butts County and its cities were destroyed by the army of General William T. Sherman in its infamous March to the Seaduring the American Civil War. Butts County struggled for decades afterwards to become economically stable again. The arrival of the first railroad train on May 5, 1882 started the resurgence and growth followed. In 1898, caught up in the post-reconstruction fervor that had infected most Georgia counties, Butts County erected a monumental courthouse as a sign of its new prosperity. This building is still in use as a courthouse to this day. The construction of the Lloyd Shoals dam in 1910 created Jackson Lake, a prime recreational lake located primarily in Butts County.

Progress milestones in Butts County include the first telephones in 1884; first waterworks in 1905; electric lights on February 19, 1907; and traffic lights in 1926.

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1830 Federal Census
Going, Hugh

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Contributed by Bill Fletcher and posted with permission

Waters of Ocmulgee River
Written: 1834

Butts County Georgia
Superior Court
Deed-Mortgages
Waters of Oakmulgee River

1834, January 7—This Indenture made between Benjamin Harrison unto Jane Goen, both of Butts County.  For and in consideration of the sum of $500 dollars,
convey
100 acres, the same being part of lot number 93 and part of lot number 94,undivided the line to run parallel with the west lines of said lots 93 and 4 in the 14th District of Monroe County formerly, now Butts County on the waters of the Oakmulgee River.
Recorded 30th day of January 1834

6/71                       Butts County Deed Book                  
       C: 365

[NOT on Oakmulgee River]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lumbee Voices: In Literature, Art and Music


 From: http://linux.library.appstate.edu/lumbee/Miscellaneous/lumv.html

Lumbee Voices: North Carolina's Lumbee Indians in Literature, Art, and Music

by Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling Note: A shorter version of this text was presented on campus at Appalachian State University in April, 1996, as part of the Humanities Program Council's "Social Forum" series. The notes about visuals represent points in the presentation where books, articles, artworks, photographs, or parts of a videotape were shown to the audience. I have made a few minor updates to the text. Please note: This essay has received only minor updates since 2002. I hope to make major changes and additions within the next few months. —Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling, April 18, 2007

Who and Where Are the Lumbee Indians?
Origins of the Tribe
Tribal Name and Identity
Lumbee History and Activism
The Henry Berry Lowry Period
The Ku Klux Klan Routing and other events
Lumbee Achievements
Characteristics of Lumbee People
Indian identity and heritage
Robeson County as Home
Love of the Physical Features of Robeson County
Love of Family
Importance of Religion
Importance of Education
Celebration of Successes of Individual Lumbee People
Meanness
Cohesiveness
Lumbee Literature
Lumbee Art
Lumbee Music

Who and Where Are the Lumbee Indians?

The Lumbee Indians, with a 1990-census population of 40,500, are the ninth largest tribe in the United States--behind such tribes as the Cherokee (308,000), the Navajo (219,000), and the Chippewa and Sioux (103,000 each). They live primarily in Robeson County, in the southeastern part of North Carolina [Visual 1]. Over 90% of the Lumbee on the tribal roll live in eighteen communities in Robeson and adjoining counties [Visual 2]. The main Robeson County communties are Pembroke, Red Banks, Maxton, Moss Neck, Wakulla, and Rennert. Over the years, the Lumbee have migrated to other areas, primarily for employment. Thus there are sizeable settlements in Cumberland, Sampson, Hoke, Scotland, and Columbus Counties; in Greensboro, Charlotte, Detroit, Baltimore, Claxton, Georgia (between 1865 and the 1920's, to work turpentine and cotton), and a spurious group in Shasta County, north central California called the United Lumbee Nation which claims Lumbee origin. Robeson County is a triracial county. In 1900, Indians were 9.6% of the population. Lumbee people have tended to have large families; and in recent years, Lumbee people who migrated out for work have been returning home. Also, more Indians have been willing to identify as such on the federal census. As a result, in 1990 the county (which is the state's largest, with 949 square miles) was 38.5% Indian, 36.1% white, and 24.9% black. If current population trends continue, Indians will be 50% of the county's population by 2010.

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Origins of the Tribe

The Robeson County Archaeological Survey (1988) established that Indian people have lived in Robeson County for 14,000 years. The earliest written record (from the early 18th century) refers to the Cheraw tribe being along Drowning Creek (the upper Lumber, or Lumbee, River), so recent federal recognition bills have sought to rename the tribe "The Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians" because of the belief that they developed from this Siouan tribe. Noted anthropologist John Reed Swanton, in a 1933 federal report, surmised their descent from the Cheraw, with contributions of blood from the Keyauwee, Eno, Shakori, Waccamaw, and Cape Fear Indians. The other widely known theory about Lumbee origins is that the Lumbee are descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh's 1587 Lost Colony at Roanoke Island, Virginia (now North Carolina) and their friendly Indian neighbors. According to Governor John White, Raleigh left the Colonists to return to England for supplies. When he got back, the Colonists had left; but carved on a tree was an inscription suggesting they had gone to Croatoan, an island belonging to the friendly Indian, Manteo's, people. John Lawson's history of North Carolina (1714) mentions his encounter with some Hatteras Indians on Roanoke Island who said their ancestors were White, could "talk in a book" (read), and often had grey eyes. From this, and from the facts that (1) 41 of 95 Lost Colonists' names appeared among the Lumbee and (2) they spoke Elizabethan dialect, state representative and local historian Hamilton McMillan wrote a pamphlet suggesting that these people, previously referred to as free persons of color, were Indian. In 1885, a state law was passed designating the tribe Croatan Indians and setting up separate schools for them. In 1887, another state law appropriated funds and land for a Croatan normal school (now University of North Carolina at Pembroke). The "Lost Colony Theory" of the tribe's origin was accorded further credence when, in 1891, Stephen B. Weeks published an article in Papers of the American Historical Association espousing and documenting the theory from maps and historical accounts.

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Tribal Name and Identity

Thus Hamilton McMillan's 1885 law gave the Lumbee their first name--Croatan Indians. It also gave them state recognition. Unfortunately the name Croatan came to be used as a racial slur. In 1911, a state law changed the name to Indians of Robeson County. In 1913, another state law changed the name to Cherokee Indians of Robeson County, and in 1953, still another to Lumbee Indians. In 1933 and 1934, federal bills were introduced to name the tribe Cheraw Indians and Siouan Indians of the Lumber River--more about this later. The name Lumbee comes from the Lumber River which, tradition has it, the Indians called Lumbee. This tradition fits with other rivers in the region--the Wateree, Pedee, and Congaree, all Sioux names. In 1956, a federal act named the tribe "Lumbee Indians." Unfortunately, its termination-era language did not afford the tribe true federal recognition. One phrase it contained was, "Nothing in this Act shall make such Indians eligible for any services performed by the United States for Indians because of their status as Indians, and none of the statutes of the U.S. which affect Indians because of their status as Indians shall be applicable to the Lumbee Indians."

Why the emphasis on a proper name? The Lumbee, since 1888, and still unsuccessfully, have sought true federal acknowledgment—more for the pride of Indian identity than for monetary benefits. Identity has been a dominant theme of Lumbee existence, as the remainder of this presentation will show. Adolph Dial and David Eliades, in their history of the Lumbee, The Only Land I Know, stated, "The central fact of Lumbee history is that the people are Indian in origin and social status." Hamilton McMillan wrote that when European settlers reached the Lumber River in the 1730's, they found a "large tribe of Indians, speaking English, tilling the soil, owning slaves and practicing many of the arts of civilized life." Adolph Dial, in his 1993 book, The Lumbee,states that his people "have lost or forgotten the language and many other aspects of their ancestral culture. In the eyes of many non-Indians, the Lumbee consequently appear to be less 'Indian' than some other groups (p. 22)." The strength of stereotypical views of Indians, and the power, during several periods of Lumbee history, of prejudice against any nonwhites, have caused the Lumbee to investigate their origins, seek a good tribal name, fight for federal recognition, and assert--sometimes violently--the fact of their Indianness. Again, to quote Adolph Dial, the Lumbee "refuse to accept others' narrow definitions of Indianness. They know that the way a person looks or behaves does not make him or her a Lumbee. Instead, they know that their Indianness lies in what they share--a love of their Robeson County home, a special history and heritage, and, perhaps most important, a certain way of viewing the world born from their unique past (p. 23)." I will elaborate in a few minutes on these characteristics Adolph names. But what convinces me--besides knowing the people and seeing the strength of their belief--(having lived in Robeson County for 4 1/2 years and returned frequently for visits) is the sheer volume of writing about the Lumbee. I listed, in my book, a selection of over 1,400 items, ranging from brief newspaper and magazine articles to literary works, scholarly journal articles, government reports, theses and dissertations, videotapes, and books. The archaeological evidence is strong. Also, many noted anthropologists, including John Reed Swanton, William Sturtevant, Raymond Fogelson, Guy Benton Johnson, Karen Blu, Gerald Sider, and Jack Campisi define the Lumbee as Indian. William Sturtevant, general editor of the Smithsonian Institution's revered Handbook of North American Indians, testified at a 1988 Congressional hearing on one of the many recent federal recognition bills. He said, "It is clear that the Lumbee have those characteristics that identify an Indian tribe (p. 86)." He adds, "Anthropologists over the last 100 years have agreed, everyone that has looked at the Lumbee case, that they are an Indian tribe . . . . I think one could say that anthropologists, as a profession, view the Lumbee as an Indian tribe (p. 22)." Gerald Sider, in his 1993 book Lumbee Indian Histories,states, "None of the 'reasons' usually given for contestibility of Lumbee identity could withstand even a few hours' close examination; all are social and cultural conditions that are widespread among Native Americans" (p. xxii). I will elaborate in a few minutes on the characteristics anthropologists name.

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Lumbee History and Activism

First I want to tell you a little more about Lumbee history. Lumbee people have suffered many of the same discriminations African-Americans have endured in the South. I will mention just a few. The earliest was the revised North Carolina Constitution drafted in 1835, which stated that no free negro, free mulatto, or free persons of mixed blood shall vote, bear arms without a license, or serve in a militia. These restrictions, in Robeson County, came to be applied to the Lumbee. Not until 1868 and 1875 were voting and officeholding restored. Between 1887 and 1941, a series of state laws was passed setting up separate schools for the Lumbee in Richmond, Scotland, Sampson, and other neighboring counties. There were even laws establishing separate quarters in the county jail, county rest home, and state hospital for the insane. In 1917, a state law decreed that the mayor of Pembroke (the Lumbee population center) would be appointed by the governor (thus always white). This was not repealed until 1945. In 1937, an article in the Robesoniandescribed the new Rowland movie theater. It had 478 seats (338 for whites). Whites sat on the main floor, Indians and blacks in separate sections of the balcony. Whites and Indians went in separate main entrances; blacks went in a side entrance. Indians did not serve on juries for forty years--they were deliberately not chosen until a letter of complaint was sent to the Robesonian and a petition given to the presiding judge in 1937. Not until around 1950 would North Carolina colleges (other than University of North Carolina at Pembroke) accept Lumbees as undergraduates. Not until 1953 could UNCP graduates attend North Carolina graduate programs. In 1934 the first Lumbee ran for public office (constable of Fairmont). In 1954, the first Lumbee was elected as a county official (Lacy Maynor, judge). In 1958, the first Lumbee was elected county commissioner. In 1963, the first Lumbee was elected to the Robeson County Board of Education. In 1973, Henry Ward Oxendine became the first Indian legislator in North Carolina. Not until 1989 did an Indian become Superior Court judge in North Carolina (Dexter Brooks).

Now, I would like to describe some incidents from Lumbee history showing activism. It has taken activism as well as persistence, help from the churches, sympathetic political leaders, and pressure from organizations outside the county to achieve the gains just mentioned.

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The Henry Berry Lowry Period

[Visual #3] Perhaps the most significant and influential is the Henry Berry Lowry period, 1865-1874. At first the Lumbee sided with the Confederacy. But the Confederacy started constructing Fort Fisher to protect the important merchant port of Wilmington. A yellow fever epidemic in 1862-1863 killed many slaves working on the fortifications. Slaveowners complained, so free persons of color, like the Lumbee, were conscripted. Many, including Henry Berry Lowry, hid in the swamps to escape conscription. They could be, and were, shot for evading military service. Union soldiers who escaped from Confederate prisons, and runaway slaves, did the same. This period was known by the Lumbee as "the starving times." The Lumbee were plundering white plantation storage bins and smokehouses to stay alive--sharing with poor blacks and whites as well. A group of white men called the Home Guard enforced conscription (sometimes viciously), dealt with the stock-plundering, saw to it that Indians didn't have firearms, and flushed out escaped white soldiers. Over a complicated series of accusations and incidents regarding thefts and conscription, the Home Guard shot Henry Berry Lowry's father and brother while he watched from hiding. Henry Berry and a group of supporters promptly stole a large quantity of rifles (purchased for the local militia) from the Lumberton courthouse and began an eight-year war to avenge the deaths. Henry Berry Lowry's tri-racial band also, Robin-Hood-like, robbed plantations, often showing up at dinnertime and dining with their hosts before carrying off the plunder in a mule and wagon. They stole two safes (one from the Sheriff's office and one from a large company), leaving them empty on the main street in Lumberton. Henry Berry Lowry escaped from jail twice. He and his band were outlawed in 1868--meaning anyone could kill them for the reward. The reward for Henry Berry Lowry climbed to $12,000, the largest offered in the 19th century except for Jesse James and Jefferson Davis. Federal troops and federal detectives were brought in. Henry Berry Lowry and his band killed 18 men, including the county sheriff. These men were leaders of posses sent to hunt them down, members of the Home Guard that killed Henry Berry Lowry's father and brother, and bounty hunters. The band's escapades received coverage in the New York Times and in Harper's Magazine [Visual #4]. The New York Herald sent correspondents to Robeson County, and an edited collection of their reports was published in book form in 1872. Henry Berry Lowry was never captured. He disappeared in 1874. Henry Berry Lowry inspired five books, three plays, the outdoor drama Strike at the Wind!,and a movie script. The period accounts for a selection of 60 entries in my bibliography.

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The Ku Klux Klan Routing and other events

Another significant incident of activism that received widespread publicity was the Lumbee routing of the Ku Klux Klan in early 1958. An Indian woman living in a white neighborhood started dating a white man. The Klan planned to show power to the Lumbee and advertised a rally at a farm near Maxton. Lumbee leaders made public statements of resentment, and local officials tried--unsuccessfully--to get it called off. On the night of the rally, 150 Klansmen showed up--as did 1,500-3,000 white, Lumbee, and black spectators--some armed. When the speech started, there was a war whoop. Shotguns fired, the stage light bulbs were shot out, and the loudspeaker was disabled. The Klan members ran. No one was hurt except one photographer, who was grazed when his camera was hit. The news coverage, which included this photograph in Lifemagazine [Visual #5], was so great that the Lumbee, for a time, operated a public relations office in Pembroke to handle inquiries.

Robeson County, until March of 1988, had five--sometimes six--school districts, which helped to perpetuate segregation. A law referred to by Indians as double-voting allowed town school district members to vote for county school board members (the county school district was 60% Indian) but not vice versa. Thus it was almost impossible for Indian school board candidates to get elected. The Lumbee struggle against this policy finally resulted in a successful class action suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1975.

In 1970, Robeson County imposed an HEW-mandated school integration plan. The plan bused Indian students long distances, displaced Indian teachers, grouped Indian and black students together (resegregation), and--most importantly--took Indian children away from their hard-earned home-area schools. Five hundred Indian children sat in at their old, community schools from August, 1970 through June, 1971--the longest school sit-in in U.S. history.

[Visual #6] Old Main, the first brick building on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke campus, constructed in 1921, was scheduled for demolition in 1972 to allow the construction of a performing arts center on the site. Indians protested, because the building was for them a symbol of Indian heritage and achievement. The school was built, through much local expense and labor, to serve as a teacher-training school for the Lumbee. Lumbee protests against the demolition involved rallies, petitions, poems, fliers, threats to leave the Democratic party, and involvement of the National Congress of American Indians. The building was burned on March 18, 1973 (possibly by local Indians). As a result of Lumbee influence, federal and state funds were allocated to renovate Old Main; it was rededicated in February, 1980. It now houses UNCP's American Indian Studies program as well as the Native American Resource Center, an Indian museum.

On February 1, 1988, two Tuscaroras (a much smaller Indian group in the county) took employees of theRobesonian newspaper hostage for ten hours. They did so in protest of numerous problems and racial injustices in the county: police brutality against Indians; the killing of Jimmy Earl Cummings, a Lumbee, by white Sheriff's deputy Kevin Stone with few repercussions; out-of-control drug trafficking; seventeen long-unsolved murders of minorities; poor jail conditions; documented inequities toward minorities in the court system; and Indians and blacks clustered in low-paying jobs. The incident and its aftermath received massive publicity. As a result of this attention, dramatic changes occurred in the county's attention to race relations.

[Visual #7] In 1988, Lumbee activist Julian Pierce, an attorney who established Lumbee River Legal Services and worked to create a nonprofit health consortium for the poor (among his many achievements) started a campaign against white Robeson County district attorney Joe Freeman Britt for a newly-created, supposedly minority Superior Court judge's position. There had never been a Lumbee Superior Court judge in the county. Pierce was murdered on March 27, 1988. When the election was held, Pierce's name was still on the ballot; and he outpolled Britt. Britt filled the position, so a third minority judgeship was created in 1989. Lumbee attorney Dexter Brooks was appointed to it.

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Lumbee Achievements

Here are just a few examples of Lumbee achievements. In 1971, the Lumbee Bank (now Lumbee Guaranty Bank) became the first Indian-owned bank established in the United States. Brantley Blue was the first Indian appointed to the Indian Claims Commission. Lumbee professor and historian Adolph Dial was one of only five Indians to serve on the American Indian Policy Review Commission. Dial also started the American Indian Studies program at UNCP and served on the North Carolina legislature. Lumbee attorney Arlinda Locklear was the first Indian woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. [Visual #8] The Lumbee have had their own weekly newspaper, the Carolina Indian Voice,since 1973. Lonnie Revels has served on Greensboro's City Council. There have been two Lumbee college presidents--Joseph Oxendine (who served from 1989-1999, was, oddly enough, only UNCP's second Indian chancellor) and Dean Chavers (who served as president of Bacone College, Muskogee, Oklahoma). Lumbee artist Lloyd Oxendine is curator of American Indian Community House Gallery/Museum, the first gallery of contemporary Indian art in the United States. Rose Marie Lowry, in 1990, was elected the fist Indian president of the North Carolina Association of Educators. Dr. James G. Jones, who has an endowed professorship at East Carolina University's medical school, was the 1988 Indian Physician of the Year and has been president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dennis Lowery, who runs Continental Industrial Chemicals, Inc. in Charlotte, with around 167 employees and $59 million in annual sales, was the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce's 1993 Entrepreneur of the Year. His is supposedly the nation's largest Indian-owned corporation. James Thomas is managing partner in Maguire-Thomas, which was the nation's largest commercial contractor in 1992. His personal net worth was over $40 million.

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Characteristics of Lumbee People

Here are some characteristics of the Lumbee that have been noted in the literature and that I have observed--followed by some themes that appear in the scholarship as well as in literary works, art, and music concerning them:

(1) The first and foremost, as we have seen, is Indian identity and heritage. Karen Blu expressed this well, near the close of her book: "Their identity has done more than allow the Lumbee to survive--it has been an active, motivating force enabling them to flourish" (The Lumbee Problem, p. 235).

(2) Robeson County as Home : Lumbee people who move away, however long they have been away, still consider Robeson County "home." They ask each other, "When have you been home?" They return home--when the job situation there is better, or because they finished their degree, or because they didn't like wherever they had moved as much as "Old Rob." There is even an annual Lumbee Homecoming festival in Pembroke. This began in 1970. One function of the festival is to help Lumbees outside the county maintain the tribal affiliation required by tribal membership guidelines.

[For some basic statistical and economic information on Robeson County, check the Robeson County Statistics page]

(3) Love of the Physical Features of Robeson County , especially the land and the river: Robeson County is the largest county in the state (949 square miles); it is nearly level to gently sloping, with elevations ranging from 60 to 250 feet. [Visual #9] Agriculture is probably still the chief economic activity. There are 1,500 farms, and 72% of them are less than 180 acres. The important crops are tobacco (59% of crop income), soybeans, cotton, corn for grain, and wheat. [Visual #10] The climate is humid subtropical--long, hot summers and short, mild winters. There are violent rainstorms in summer and sometimes tornadoes in spring (I remember well the 1984 tornadoes which hit Red Springs and did $10 million in damage). Robeson is a sunny county; there is sunshine over 50% of the day in winter and 70% in summer. The county is rural; 77% of housing units are classed in rural areas. [Visual #11] The Lumber River (which the Indians called Lumbee, meaning "black water") is officially designated a small blackwater stream. It runs for 58 miles through the county. Its tributaries (including Big Swamp, Ashpole Swamp, and Back Swamp) drain most of the county. It's called a blackwater river because the water is tea-colored; it absorbs tannic acid from the vegetation in and around the river as it moves slowly through the swamps. The river is mostly narrow, slow, and meandering--rarely over 10 feet deep. It rises in the Sandhills of Moore County and moves southeast through Richmond, Hoke, Scotland, Robeson and Columbus into South Carolina, where it becomes the Little Pee Dee. It was designated a North Carolina Natural and Scenic River in 1971. In 1989, a 115-mile section was named a state park. In September 1998, 81 miles of the river were added to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers system. [Visual #12] Laurel oak is the most common vegetation along the river--but there is also a lot of gum-cypress swamp, with cypress trees, tupelo gum, swamp gum, sweet gum, and willow oak. Fish are plentiful, as are beaver.

(4) Love of Family : [Visual #13] Throughout their history, many Lumbee have had large famiies; and family (especially extended family) is very important to them. [Visual #14] There is very close, frequent contact--some of my friends saw or talked to their mothers or siblings every day. There seemed to be a high tolerance of the behavior of people in the family, because they were family (this was noted in a doctoral dissertation). Often, family would give other family members land for a trailer or house and even help them build it (we see this often in mountain people, as well). Family would sometimes move in with other family members for awhile, or take care of their children for awhile. There are a few common surnames that are distinctly Lumbee--some were on the list of Lost Colonists. Oxendine, Locklear, and Brayboy are perhaps the most unusual. It is important for Lumbee people to connect each other up with their family, and many are related (however far back). Adolph Dial was fond of saying that when two Lumbee meet, within about five minutes they will have connected each other to someone they know or to distant kinsmen. I've witnessed these exchanges many times.

(5) Importance of Religion: Lumbee religion is primarily Protestant. One study has documented Lumbee Methodism back to 1787. Church membership and participation are very strong forces in Lumbee life. The Lumbee created two Indian church conferences--the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association (founded around 1880) and the Lumber River Conference of the Holiness Methodist Association. Bruce Barton documented 104 Lumbee churches in 1984; there are undoubtedly more now and have been more in earlier years. Ministers are highly revered. [Visual #15] Prospect Methodist Church, with 603 members in 1990, is purportedly the largest Native American church in the nation. When a sizeable number of Lumbee people move to another city, they often tend to settle in a particular section or neighborhood. They also establish a Native American church; this happened in Baltimore, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Claxton, Georgia. The churches have been a strong force in community outreach, helping meet basic survival needs and achieve social justice. Lumbee ministers have started a couple of gospel television programs (and one entire station). The lead singer of the Lumbee gospel group Carla and Redemption is an announcer on a gospel radio station.

(6) Importance of Education : Some of the most revered Lumbee people, beside ministers, have been teachers and school administrators. The Lumbee strove long and hard (as we heard in a recent speech at Appalachian State University by Rosa Winfree) to establish their own schools public schools; to establish what became University of North Carolina at Pembroke (originally a teacher-training or normal school for the Lumbee) [Visual #16, Visual #17], to gain admission to other colleges in the state and then to graduate programs, and to gain representation on the county school board. The Lumbee were instrumental in the long struggle to merge the county's five school systems (1988), so that resources would be pooled and education improved for all races. As individuals, they strive to get college degrees for themselves, to keep their children in public school, to see that they get what they need from the schools, and then to send their children to the best college they can afford, taking advantage of programs for gifted minority students.

(7) Celebration of Successes of Individual Lumbee People : This theme shows up in literature, art, and music (as we'll see). It also appeared frequently in the newspaper articles (especially the Carolina Indian Voice) that I looked at for my book and in materials produced by the Title V Compensatory Indian Education Program. It is exemplified by the awards given out during Lumbee Homecoming each July 4. The list of firsts I went through earlier is actually much, much longer. The Lumbee have, for many years, recorded firsts--from the minor (such as the first Indian licensed chiropractor in North Carolina-1993) to the very significant (establishing the first Indian-owned bank in the nation, 1971; and the first Native American legislator in North Carolina--Henry Ward Oxendine in 1973). They also celebrate the wide range of areas in which Lumbee people have excelled. I mentioned several earlier, and will mention more as I continue.

(8) "Meanness" : Karen Blu sees this as linked to pride in being Indian. It includes a sensitivity to insult, a quickness in reacting to it, a willingness to stand up for themselves, and a tendency to settle issues, when necessary, with fighting or violence. This "meanness" is usually only manifested when there are attacks on the Lumbees' Indian identity (as we saw during the Henry Berry Lowry era, the Ku Klux Klan routing, and theRobesonian hostage-taking). It is usually aimed only at whites. There has, of course, been Indian meanness against other Indians--fights, cutting, shooting, or verbal threats. The characteristic of "meanness" goes back as far as 1753, when a military surveyor stated that people living on Drowning Creek shot at him for coming onto the land they were occupying, incomprehensibly to him, without paying rents or having patents.

(9) Cohesiveness : This "sticking together" is exemplified in several ways: settling in the same area of cities outside Robeson County (such as Baltimore); marrying within the tribe; forming political parties and church conferences; and fighting problems and discriminations as a group (for example, the school sit-ins to oppose desegregation and the Save Old Main movement).

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Lumbee Literature

First, I intend this discussion to be a survey, highlighting the types of literary works that have dealt with the Lumbee and the themes these works illustrate. For critical analysis, I recommend three excellent articles (The Lumbee Indians: An Annotated Bibliography items 352, 382, and 384) by Robert W. Reising, an English professor at University of North Carolina at Pembroke who teaches a course dealing with Lumbee literature.

Over the years there have been more literary works involving the Lumbee written by non-Lumbees than by the people themselves, although this trend appears to be changing.

The first theme I want to discuss, analyzed in depth by Reising's article in MELUS, is Henry Berry Lowry. Three Carolina folkplays featured this Lumbee folk hero. Paul Green's 1922 play, The Last of the Lowries,was the first play produced by the Carolina Playmakers. This group was founded at UNC-Chapel Hill by Frederick Koch to produce folk plays generated by his playwriting course. The Carolina Playmakers performed folkplays throughout the state and region. Two other Carolina folkplays dealt with Henry Berry Lowry: One was William Norment Cox's The Scuffletown Outlaws (1926). Cox grew up in the Robeson County town of Rowland. The other was Clare Marley's Swamp Outlaw (1939). Marley taught for some time in Robeson County schools. A 1940 novel by John Paul Lucas and Bailey T. Groome, The King of Scuffletoun,was based on stories told to Groome by Henry Berry Lowry's brother, Sinclair. A 1974 novel by Jeff Fields called A Cry of Angels has a major character, Em Jojohn, a Lumbee, who late in the novel recalls Henry Berry Lowry by using his formidable fighting abilities to resolve a political situation in Quarrytown and end the oppression of the town's residents of all races.

Another trend in Lumbee literature has been pageants or plays dealing with Lumbee history which were written more for performance than as literary works. [Visual #18] The first was a pageant written by Dakota Indian linguistic anthropologist Ella Deloria, called The Life Story of a People. It had a cast of 150 Lumbee people and was performed--with very favorable and enthusiastic response and lots of local and regional press coverage--in 1940 and 1941. Deloria, who was the aunt of Vine Deloria Junior, was employed by the Farm Security Administration to spend time living in the Pembroke community, study the Lumbee, and write and direct a community pageant about their origins and heritage. Her advisor at the time was Franz Boas. The pageant ranged from aboriginal times, through the Henry Berry Lowry period, to the present. The last surviving daughter of Henry Berry Lowry attended one of the presentations, and one of Henry Berry Lowry's rifles was used as a prop. Incidentally, people have searched through the years for a copy of the script, but it has never been uncovered. I have even corresponded with Vine Deloria Junior about this. He made several unsuccessful trips to Robeson County searching for it. A copy of a portion of a rough draft of the script has been discovered and can be viewed, or a photocopy obtained, from the Dakota Indian Foundation (see item DELO001).

Kate Rinzler, who was in Robeson County working, I believe, in an educational position, perhaps funded by Title V Compensatory Indian Education, produced a two-act documentary in 1988 called "The Miracle of Maxton Field"--based on interviews with people who witnessed the 1958 Ku Klux Klan routing. She also produced a children's play, again based on oral history and set in the 1920's, called "Going Seining," about Indians seining for subsistence.

The idea for an outdoor drama based on Lumbee history surfaced as early as 1963 in a proposal from University of North Carolina at Pembroke chancellor English Jones. Originally, Paul Green was involved in writing the script, but finally only Randolph Umberger's name appeared on it. The first performance of Strike at the Wind! was July 2, 1976. The play deals with the Henry Berry Lowry era, features many Lumbee actors, and was performed each summer in an amphitheater in the Lumbee settlement of Red Banks. (There was a hiatus in its performance for a couple of years; but the play resumed production in summer 2006.)

The most recent pageant was spearheaded by Scott Meltsner, a recent graduate of Brown University, and funded by North Carolina Arts Council, with contributions from several Robeson County entities. Called the Robeson County Indian Play Project, it used group scripting by Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, Karen Coronado, Hayes Locklear, Hatty Ruth Miller, and others. Twenty Lumbee actors performed the play, called "Listen to the River," in April 1993.

Another trend which I noticed immediately was the use of Lumbee characters, themes, and settings as an element of local color. It also seems that many of the writers who employ the Lumbee in their work have North Carolina, or even Robeson County, ties. Here are some examples. (1) Waldron Bailey's 1916 novel, The Homeward Trail (see item 285),set near the end of the Civil War. In this work, a young mountain boy falls in love with the daughter of Henry Berry Lowry, who by then is the 50-year-old chief of a Croatan Indian settlement. Bailey was a North Carolina businessman and outdoorsman. (2) Gerald W. Johnson, also a North Carolinian, wrote a 1930 novel, By Reason of Strength (based on his own family's migration from Scotland to America). In a minor episode, the main character, Catharine White, goes to Scuffletown (an old name for Pembroke) and uses medicinal herbs to treat a smallpox epidemic among the Croatan Indians. (3) A 1964 young adult novel by Gwen Kimball, The Puzzle of Roanoke, involves a teenaged library assistant who helps a wealthy man establish a connection between the man's great-grandmother and John Cheven of the Lost Colony. They visit the Robeson County farm of a Lumbee actor in The Lost Colony. (4) North Carolina writer Manly Wade Wellman wrote a 1951 juvenile novel, The Haunts of Drowning Creek,in which two boys take a canoe trip on Drowning Creek (the upper part of the Lumber River) hunting confederate gold and run into some Lumbee Indians. [Visual #19] (5) A 1990 Harlequin Historical novel, Stormwalker (by two writers, Dixie Browning and Mary Williams, who have lived in North Carolina), features one of the first Lumbee, an Indian named Stormwalker who is the son of a Hatteras chief and a White woman and was born on the island of Croatoan.

We have seen the trend of literary works reflecting or dealing directly with events in Lumbee history. There have been poems and songs with do this, in addition to the longer works already discussed. The Ku Klux Klan routing quickly inspired a couple of poems--one called "The Charge of the Lumbee Indians." It also inspired a ballad by folksinger Malvina Reynolds, called "The Battle of Maxton Field," which she performed on an album and which, I am told, was also performed by the Limelighters. Another example is on your handout--the poem "As the Wind Changeth--A New Name." This poem was written by a Lumbee using the pen name The Diamond Kid. His real name was Carlee Hunt. Submitted to the Robesonian newspaper on February 14, 1934, it gently pokes fun at tribal leaders' search for a name that will convince others of what his people had known all along--their Indian heritage and identity. "Hamilton Mac" is Hamilton McMillan, the state legislator who got the Croatan bill passed in 1885. "Cherokee" was the name passed into law by North Carolina in 1913. "Dr. Swain" refers to John Reed Swanton, the anthropologist whose 1933 federal report said the tribe was descended from Siouan tribes, most prominently the Cheraw and Keyauwee. Some copies of his report include a handwritten note that "an accurate designation would be 'Siouan Indians of the Lumber River.'" This note caused a flurry of activity in the U.S. Congress. Two factions among the Lumbee were battling for federal recognition. A bill was introduced to recognize the Indians as Cheraw--but it was superseded by a bill, and hearings, for the name Siouan. At the same time, a different faction wanted to introduce a bill for federal recognition (they already had this as state recognition and tribal name) as Cherokee Indians of Robeson and Adjacent Counties.

We have already seen the trend of writing projects--funded by Title V Compensatory Indian Education or other agencies--which produce literary works by or about the Lumbee. This trend seems to be increasing. Some of the writing produced by these projects illustrates themes noted earlier: (1) Robeson County as home, and (2) Indian identity.

[Visual #20] Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, who for several years administered the Indian Education Resource Center for the Robeson County schools and is now a private consultant on topics involving the Lumbee and other North Carolina tribes, has been involved in several of these projects. Her credentials are numerous, and her knowledge level extensive. She has been speaking and writing about her people for many years. In 1992 she conducted a writing workshop for 18 Native American women, funded by Z. Smith Reynolds and the North Carolina Writers' Network. A selection of the materials they wrote was published in Pembroke Magazine, a literary "little magazine" published annually at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. One of your handouts is her essay, "Land of the Lumbee." Note the many references to the Robeson County landscape--the river, the swamps, the plants used for food and medicine, and the wildflowers among the cornfields (I've seen this many times). Notice also her statement, "I do not care to live any other place." This is a deep, abiding belief for many Lumbee people.

Another project, called Lumbee Voices, collected poetry and prose written by 41 Lumbee high school students. The project was conducted by Ben Turner, a recent graduate of Appalachian State University, and Jeff Currie as part of their Indian literature course at UNCP in 1993. They edited the writings, grouping them into categories such as Stereotype, Identity, Heroes, Nature, and History. You have one fine example, "The Indian Way," as a handout.

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Lumbee Art

Attention for Lumbee artists has been relatively recent, and only a handful have received the notice they deserve, particularly beyond the local or state level. Lumbee art has been nurtured by these factors: (1) the annual selection of a painting by a Lumbee artist for auction to raise funds for Strike at the Wind.Gloria Tara Lowery's painting, "Spirit of a People" (depicting Henry Berry Lowry) was auctioned by $10,000. (2) the commissioning of artworks by Title V Compensatory Indian Education and, occasionally, by Lumbee individuals. (3) exhibitions sponsored and publicized by the Native American Resource Center, an excellent museum at University of North Carolina at Pembroke--particularly since Dr. Stanley Knick has been curator.

The Lumbee artist who has gained the most acclaim, over the longest period of time, has been Gene Locklear. [Visual #21] Locklear, who grew up on a farm in Pembroke, played professional baseball for ten years--first minor league with the Cincinnati Reds, then major league with the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees. He retired from baseball in 1979 to pursue an art career. His work is in the White House, Smithsonian Institution, various art museums, governors' mansions, and the personal collections of 150 pro athletes, celebrities, corporate CEOs, and political and other public figures. His specialties are Native American themes (as you just saw) and sports art. He was the NFL Super Bowl artist in 1988, and in 1992 was commissioned the Official Artist of the NFL. In the last few months he did a life-sized poster of Michael Jordan and presented it to him. His work has been immensely popular in Robeson County and elsewhere--in fact, Title V Compensatory Indian Education and others have commissioned his work, including a large painting called "Henry Berry Lowry and the Lumbee River." It does, however, evoke stereotypes of Plains Indians.

Another example of Gene Locklear's work is the poster of Harold Collins on the table. Collins commissioned the poster. [Visual #22] Collins is an amazing guy, both personally and athletically. He's a powerlifter who runs a gym in the town of Pembroke. His nickname is Chief Iron Bear. He twice won the American National Powerlifting contest; he won a gold medal at the 1993 World Powerlifting Championships, and in 1994 was the world bench press champion, pressing 705 pounds. The photograph you saw was from April, 1994, when Collins placed in the Guinness Book of World Records for pulling five tractor trailer cabs (weighing 86,560 pounds) 51 feet at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This was a new world record for pulling weight without assistance. Collins travels around the country and the world talking about the importance of fitness (especially to youth) and about his Native American identity. He does a great deal of work for charity. In January he did another truck pull to raise funds for St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Lumbee educators like Barbara Braveboy-Locklear and Hayes Locklear (who now has a florist shop and sells Lumbee arts and crafts), as well as museum curators, are being called upon by the public and the artists and craftspersons themselves to help find, make accessible, support, and develop Lumbee arts and crafts. One approach they are taking is to encourage artists and craftspeople to incorporate themes and materials that research and oral history confirm as being Lumbee. [Visual #23] Hayes Locklear, for instance, designed the regalia you see in this photograph of Miss Lumbee, Miss Indian USA, and Little Miss Lumbee. He studied written records back to the 1800's and concluded that at that time, Lumbee women's clothing would have basically been European style. The hair would have been worn much like Navajo women, with a bun at top and bottom. The quilt he incorporated into the dress is the Pine Cone pattern (unique to the Lumbee). He used other Robeson County materials as well--a chinaberry necklace; a ball of cotton twine in the pocket; and a headdress resembling a war bonnet worn by the Pamunkey, Piscataway, and Catawba in earlier periods but revived by the Lumbee during the Red Man Lodges of the 1930's and 1940's (there are existing photographs which show this). This candidate for Miss Indian USA, for her talent, tied tobacco and talked about its importance to Lumbee women. Artists and craftspeople, with this kind of encouragement from educators, are working with gourds (which documentation shows were used by the Lumbee as utensils in the past), weaving baskets, and making jewelry from natural materials such as chinaberries and pumpkin seeds. Educators such as Hayes see that the accelerated move, in recent years, for federal recognition, and the research it has necessitated, have caused an inner seeking among Lumbee artists and craftspersons. They are rediscovering and reviving Lumbee ways and traditions, especially the natural environment of Robeson County, and incorporating this into their work, rather than echoing stereotypes of Plains Indians, as was widely done ten years ago.

Another trend in Lumbee art--which we saw in literature as well--is the use of events from Lumbee history. There are many paintings dealing with Henry Berry Lowry. These can be seen at the Native American Resource Center at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, at the Indian Education Resource Center just down the road from UNCP, in local newspaper articles, and even reproduced in restaurants in Robeson County. There are also paintings dealing with the election of the first Lumbee sheriff, the important figures in Lumbee education, and [Visual #24] the Ku Klux Klan routing. Notice how this painting incorporates the photograph we saw earlier from Lifemagazine.

Another Lumbee painter who has received attention since about 1989 is Karen Coronado. [Visual #25] Her work was featured in a one-woman show called "The Spiral Dance" at UNCP's Native American Resource Center in late 1994. Her 31 works included acrylic and oil paintings, painted gourds, and works incorporating leather and bone. Her style is contemporary. The exhibition received very favorable comment and lots of interest from students, the general public, and art professors--even though the general public in Robeson County has been slow to accept contemporary art. Coronado was one of eight women chosen from 500 emerging Native American women artists for inclusion in a 1992 book called Women in American Indian Society. The book, by Rayna Green, was published by Chelsea House.

Hatty Ruth Miller's work, like Karen Coronado's, is contemporary. She is 45. Her mother is Lumbee. She spent half her life in California and half in Robeson County, where she now lives and works for the Public Defender's Office. She is self-taught. Her paintings are sold at Mother Earth Galleries (Hayes Locklear's florist shop, which I mentioned earlier). Hayes notes that he has received more negative comments about her contemporary style than about other Indian works he sells--but he has also sold more of her works than anyone else's. Here is a quotation from Miller: "In the process of my work, I aim to evoke the seemingly silent memories of my ancestors. Our past, from the beginning of time, can seem to be held in a closed box, where no light exists and one cannot see or touch it; yet we know it is there. When in truth, I believe that our ancient past exists in unspoken memories and is brought to life in the color, tone, texture, and shape of our lives."


This first painting evokes Native American images through the feather in the woman's hair and the sharp, gaunt angles of her face. To me, it speaks more strongly through the words written underneath--"I walked across a frozen lake"--about a woman who, after emotional pain, is willing to transcend the numbness which follows pain and open her heart and feelings to a man once again.



The second painting suggests Native American regalia with the bold design behind the Indian's head. It also makes me recall a statement by Adolph Dial: The Lumbee know that the way a person looks or behaves does not make her or him Indian. But for the Lumbee, the central fact of their history is that they are Indian in origin and social status. This painting of Hatty's, to me, represents this centrality of Indian identity for the Lumbee; this shows the way they view themselves.

The painting (again by Hatty Ruth Miller) I have here [Visual] resonates both Robeson County and Lumbee themes in several ways. The dark blue recalls the Lumber River; the brown vertical, the flatness and clay soil of Robeson County; the white spots, the bright sunniness of Robeson County's climate; this green shape, a turtle--frequently seen in the Lumber River; the red vertical, Indianness; the cross shape, the importance of church to the Lumbee; the circle, the interconnectedness of things in Native American spirituality.

The range of Lumbee arts and crafts extends far beyond painting. The works of many of theartists I'm going to list can be seen at the Native American Resource Center at UNCP, and at the Indian Education Resource Center. Timothy P. Locklear and Harold B. Locklear are working in ceramics. Evelyn White is carving in soapstone. Mike Wilkins does wood and soapstone carving. Mary Bell makes baskets. Lela Brooks, of the Saddletree community, at age 85, recently won a North Carolina Folk Heritage award for intricate crocheted works, such as tablecloths, that she has been making since childhood from white cotton tobacco twine.

Another area of artistic representation of the Lumbee is photography. The Lumbee have been of interest to photographers since 1929, when the Robesonian reported that Doris Ulmann visited Pembroke to photograph the area's Indians. Ulmann is best known for her photography of Appalachian people, and her portraiture of the New York literary, theatrical, and medical community. You have already seen a photograph by National Geographic photographer Steve Walls. It was part of a photographic essay on Lumbee elders in a magazine called Northeast Indian Quarterly. Roger Manley, who writes about and photographs outsider art (among other things), did a wonderful series of 49 photographs of Lumbee people and their ways called "Scattered Feathers." These were on exhibit at the Native American Resource Center in January. In 1994, Mark Wagoner did a series of photographs called "Pathmakers: North Carolina Native American Women of Distinction." Some of these were published in the 1995 Pembroke Magazine I mentioned earlier. A very significant exhibition, from which there are four items on loan on the table, is called "Recollections: Lumbee Heritage." It showed at Charlotte's Mint Museum of Art between January and March of 1995, and then at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. For this exhibition, photographs taken between 1870 and 1945 were collected from Lumbee people by the Museum staff. The photographs concentrated on Lumbee family life, social gatherings, farm work, and religious and spiritual ceremonies. Then, Lumbee photographer David Oxendine made parallel photographs of these same themes in 1994. The Mint Museum staff, the Native American Resource Center, and Barbara Braveboy-Locklear did field research to document the early photographs that were submitted. There were a total of 40 photographs. Barbara gathered oral histories to expand upon the photographs through panels that accompanied them and through gallery walk-throughs which she led.

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Lumbee Music

I will discuss music only briefly and am consciously omitting (but not denying the importance of) the music and dance of pow-wows.

Church and gospel music have long been important among the Lumbee. A masters thesis was done in 1943 on Lumbee singing conventions, which were gatherings of groups of singers from the area churches of one denomination to sing religious music. The records of the singing conventions of the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association were meticulously kept in ledger books by their secretary, Lacy Maynor.

Now I want to turn to another type of music which I'll call educational music. [Visual #28] Willie French Lowery recorded an album in the 1970's called Proud to Be a Lumbee. Willie spent many years singing this and other songs about Lumbee history for school children in Robeson County. He also won an award for the album from the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs. He earned the Raleigh News and Observer's "Tar Heel of the Week" tribute in 1979, after he had written the score for the outdoor drama Strike at the Wind!. In 1993 (the more recent photos you see) he started a studio, Soundsation, in which he and others will record gospel, country, or rock music. Lowery produced another album--consisting, once again, of educational songs aimed at young people, called A Tribute to Old Main. Here is part of a song from that album, called "Wheel of Life," which mentions the process, and people involved, in constructing the first school building which evolved into University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Gospel music is very popular among the Lumbee, and there are a number of groups which travel to various churches, community centers, and events to sing free of charge. A studio was recently established, Triple R in Pembroke, to record tapes for these groups to sell so they could recoup a little of their traveling expenses. Some groups, such as the Pierce Family, have been singing for many years and have recorded several albums and tapes. One of the Pierces wrote the song "Thinking About Home" a few months before Julian Pierce's death. It includes a verse about death and family members dying--so the Pierces recorded an album with this as the lead song, dedicating the album to Julian. The photograph of Julian you saw earlier was from that album. Here is a song from one of their tapes, Exquisite. The song is called "I want Us to Be Together in Heaven." It's very representative of their music and that of other Lumbee gospel groups.

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Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling
Librarian and Professor
Belk Library and Information Commons
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608
e-mail: glennellen@boone.net
Text written on April 21, 1996

Minor updates and revisions on June 8, 1999, April 6, 2002, and April 18, 2007

This page was updated on May 6, 2008 1:56 PM


Copyright © 2007, Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling. This document may be reproduced only if this copyright notice is reproduced with it.