A distinct and separate race of people.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
State of North Carolina – County of Sampson.
To the Honorable Board of Education of Sampson County, North Carolina:
The undersigned, your petitioners, a part of the Croatan Indians living in the County of Sampson, State aforesaid, having their residence here for more than two hundred years, as citizens and tax payers of the County and State, peacefully sharing all the burdens of our government, and desiring to share in all the benefits incident thereto, respectfully petition your Honorable Board for such recognition and aid in the education of their children as you may see fit to extend to them, the amount appropriated to be used for the sole and exclusive purpose of assisting your petitioners to educate their children and fit them for the duties of citizenship;
Your petitioners would show that there are, according to the bulletin of the thirteenth census of 1910, two hundred and thirteen Indians in Sampson County. And, that there are of legal school age, for whom there [are] now no separate school provisions over one hundred Indian school children. That these children are not permitted to attend, and have no desire to attend, the white schools, and in no other section of the State are they required to attend the colored schools.
That they are a distinct and separate race of people, and are now endeavoring, as best they can, at their own expense, to build and maintain their own schools, without any appropriation from the county or state, notwithstanding, they cheerfully pay taxes for this purpose, and otherwise share in the burdens and benefits of the government.
That the Croatan Indians of this county are a quiet, peaceful and industrious people, and have been residents of this section long before the advent of the white man, with whom they have always been friendly, and with whom they have always courted and maintained most cordial relations.
There is a tradition among them that they are a remnant of White’s Lost Colony and during the long years that have passed since the disappearance of said colony, they have been struggling to fit themselves and their children for the exalted privileges and duties of American freemen, and to substantiate this historical and traditional claim, hereto append, and make a part of this petition such historical data as they have been able to collect to aid you in arriving at their proper racial status.
Your petitioners further respectfully show that they are of the same race and blood and a part of the same people, held by the same ties of racial and social intercourse as the Croatan Indians of Robeson County, many of whom were former resident of Sampson County, and with whom they have married and intermarried. That since the State of North Carolina has been so just and generous as to provide special and separate school advantages for our brothers and kinsmen, in Robeson County, as well as in the counties of Richmond, Scotland, Hoke, Person and Cumberland, we now appeal to you for the same just and generous recognition from the State of North Carolina and from your Honorable Board, in Sampson County, that we may share equal advantages with them as people of the same race and blood, and as loyal citizens of the State.
And your petitioners ever pray. Respectfully submitted,
Isham Ammons, H.A. Brewington, J.H. Brewington., J.R. Jones, Robbin Jacobs, R.J. Jacobs, Calvin Ammons, H.S. Brewington, Jonathan Goodman, Lucy Goodman, Jesse Jacobs, J.B. Simmons, Wm. Simmons, Sr., W.J. Bledsole, Matthew Burnette, Enoch Manuel, Jr., Gus Robinson, M.L. Brewington, R.H. Jacobs, J.W. Faircloth, Wm. Simmons, Jr., E.R. Brewington, W.L. Bledsole, Enoch Manuel (or Emanuel), G.B. Brewington, W.B. Brewington, Thomas Jones, C.O. Jacobs, J.S. Strickland, Myrtle Goodman, Enos Jacobs, K.J. Ammons, C.A. Brewington, C.D. Brewington, Martha Jones, T.J. Jacobs, J.M. West, Albert Jacobs, R.M. Williams, J.A. Brewington, Harley Goodman, W.E. Goodman, B.J. Faircloth, Percy Simmons, J.G. Simmons, J.H. Bledsole, H.J. Jones, Jonah Manuel.
From George E. Butler, “The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools,” (1916).