north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     In 1887 Rep. Hamilton C. McMillan of Robeson County introduced legislation in the General Assembly “for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a school of high grade for teachers of the Croatan race in North Carolina.” Trustees were appointed and $500 was to be appropriated annually for two years for the school’s support. The legislation specifically referred to the planned school as the “Croatan Normal School.” According to the bill, only those over fifteen would be admitted and “all those who shall enjoy the privileges of said school shall previously obligate to teach the youth of the Croatan race for a stated period.” The act was ratified on March 7, 1887.

     Since the appropriation provided only for the maintenance of the school and not for its construction, all materials and labor were donated by local people. A small tract west of Pembroke was acquired for the building. A two-story, unpainted, frame structure was completed in the fall of 1887 when the first class of fifteen enrolled. The Reverend W. L. Moore was the first principal and teacher.

     In 1889 the General Assembly raised the school’s annual appropriation to $1,000 where it remained for many years. In 1909 a new site for the school was purchased about 1 ½ miles east in Pembroke and the legislature put up $3,000 for a new building. A large bell was moved from the old building to the new location. In time the institution grew to become what is today known at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The site of the original building is today an open field beside New Hope Church.

Laws and Resolutions of the State of North Carolina (1887)
Adolph L. Dial and David K. Eliades, The Only Land I Know: A History of the Lumbee Indians (1975)
Interviews with Clifton Oxendine in (Lumberton) Robesonian, June 9, 1986, and (Pembroke) Carolina Indian Voice, n. d. (1986)
Robeson County Deeds, North Carolina State Archives
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Original Date Cast:




north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources