Blacks and Native Americans form political alliance
Here, Thompson describes the relationship between the black and Native American community in Lumberton, North Carolina, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Despite prejudice, the two communities joined as electorates. Thompson spearheaded an early effort to unite the two groups.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Angus Boaz Thompson Sr., October 21, 2003. Interview U-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
MM: What did you think about what Indians were doing at that time in the late 50s and early 60s, say the KKK thing, how did you react to that?
AT: Oh, that was marvelous. That was marvelous. Now, at one time, I want to say this about the Indians. The black population was heavier than the Indian population. Most Indians, they nest. They live everywhere, but their nest was in the Pembroke area. Of course, the whites was against them just like they were against blacks, but they accepted the Indians, as I saw it, a degree above the blacks. It was like this, “Well, if we’re going to have to have one to mingle with,” they would prefer the Indians. You may see a little of that now. Life is just real. That’s just the way it is.
Again, we all had a lot of prejudice. The black race was filled with prejudice, too. We’ve got that. That’s human nature. But, yet, if we’re going to call ourselves Christians and things we must struggle to get beyond some of that stuff. In order for us to be successful and have a successful society we must work together.
MM: Did you feel that there were Indians that didn’t want to work with blacks at that time?
AT: To start with they partnered with the blacks. I can remember clearly that’s the way we had to vote. The blacks and the Indians was getting together when it came to elections to vote. We have a little of that now, but the population of the Indians is the greatest population out of the three races now. They’re much more independent now than they were back then.
MM: Was it more equal back then, the population, or who was dominating?
AT: The white were dominating, and our population was greater than the Indian population, but now the Indian population is greater than the black or the white. Of course, back in that time I could see that coming, myself. I give the good Lord the credit because I even spoke to one of the Indian leaders that lived not far here from me. When we was getting ready for elections, he came over here and sat down on the porch and we talked. I said, “Well, Worth,” that was his name, Worth Hunt. I said, “Now, it’s true that we’ve got to work together to have any say-so in this county with these white folks.” I said, “Because we’re out numbered.” We all knew that. We knew that. I said, “But you know what,” I told him, I said, “Now it looks to me like the Indian population was just beginning to grow.” I said, “It looks to me like in five or ten years the Indian race looks like it’s fixing to double their population.” And he admitted it. He said, “Since you said that, that’s what we plan to do.” I said, “You’re planning to take this county back over.” Jokingly I said that, but I knew that the Indians felt like the land had been taken from them, and if I’d been in their shoes if there was any way to take it back, take it back. But I’m caught in the middle. I’m caught in the middle right here.
MM: Right, absolutely.
AT: Being a black man.