On March 7, 1887, the General Assembly of North Carolina enacted legislation that created the Croatan Normal School, founded to train Native American public school teachers. Local people constructed a building at a site approximately one mile west of the present location. The school opened with 15 students and one teacher in the fall of 1887. The school moved to its present location in Pembroke, the center of the Indian community, in 1909. The General Assembly changed the name of the institution in 1911 to the Indian Normal School of Robeson County, and again in 1913 to the Cherokee Indian Normal School of Robeson County.
For many years, the instruction was at the elementary and secondary school level, but in 1926, the Board of Trustees added a two-year normal program beyond high school and phased out the elementary school instruction. The first diplomas from the "normal" school were awarded in 1928, when the state accredited the school as a "standard normal school." Additional college classes were offered in 1931, and, in 1939, a fourth year was added, with the first four-year degrees conferred in 1940. In recognition of the school's new status, the General Assembly changed the name of the school in 1941 to Pembroke State College for Indians. Until 1953, it was the only state-supported, four-year college for Indians in the nation.
The scope of the institution was widened in 1942 when non-teaching degrees were added, and, in 1945, when enrollment, previously limited to the Indians of Robeson County, was opened to all federally-recognized Indian groups. A few years later, in 1949, the General Assembly shortened the name to Pembroke State College.
In 1953, the Board of Trustees approved the admission of white students up to 40 percent of the total enrollment, and, following the Supreme Court's school desegregation decision in 1954, opened the college to all qualified applicants regardless of race.
In 1969, the General Assembly made the institution a regional university and changed the name again to Pembroke State University. Three years later, in 1972, the General Assembly established the 16-campus University of North Carolina with Pembroke State University as one of the constitutient institutions. In 1978, the Board of Governors approved the implementation of master's programs and several new undergraduate programs at Pembroke State University. Over time, additional baccalaureate and master's level programs were added.
The institution celebrated its centennial in 1987, and, on July 1, 1996, Pembroke State University officially became The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Elmer William Hunt was born in Sellers, South Carolina on November 30, 1919. He was the son of Curley and Nancy Hunt and the second of seven children. The town of Sellers is located between Dillon and Florence. Hunt attended public school in Sellers, except for the one year he left Sellers to live with his grandmother and attended Pembroke Graded School in Pembroke, North Carolina.
When asked, in a 1975 interview, how he got started in photography, Hunt replied, "I sort of got attached to photography in 1939. I borrowed a lady's camera when I lived in Sellers." He ordered a $2 developing outfit from Sears & Roebuck. The kit did not have developing trays, so he used soup bowls as trays. He continued to use the borrowed camera for a few years, until he was able to buy his own for $49.00 from a Belk's Department Store.
His interest in photography continued when he joined the United States Army after graduating from high school. He was assigned to the Ninth Infantry during World War II and spent two years at Fort Bragg and three in Europe. During his tour in the army, he continued to take photos as he traveled through many foreign places in Africa, Sicily, and Germany, but many of these photographs were lost and never recovered.
In 1945, after five years in the army, Hunt returned to the United States and settled in Pembroke, North Carolina. He married Luvenia Fields the same year. They became the parents of two children: Elmer W. Hunt, Jr. (Bill) and Wanda Kay.
Hunt graduated from UNCP (then Pembroke State College) in 1953, with a B.S. degree in education. While enrolled at the college, he was very active in student organizations. He served as senior class president; he was the student photographer for the 1953 Indianhead yearbook, and he was production manager for the student newspaper, The Pembroke State News. During his senior year, he also worked with the dramatics department on a play called The Green Vine. An article in the Robesonian, the local newspaper, reported that the play "was well received by the audience who seemed to enjoy the lines, the acting, and the complications arising from the ghost who was heard, but not seen." Elmer Hunt appeared in the production as the ghost. At graduation, he received Awards for Excellence in photography and for his outstanding work on the yearbook. He was listed in the 1953 edition of American College Student Leaders.
Over the years, Hunt held a variety of professional positions, in different fields. He worked at Magnolia School for approximately 28 years and taught vocational education to students in grades 9-12. He also taught photography during his last seven years at Magnolia. At different times, he worked at the local Amoco Station, at the City Market grocery store as a butcher, and at Locklear & Sons Funeral Home where he helped out in the office and drove the ambulance. He worked at Carolina Indian Voice, a local newspaper for ten years. Although he was UNCP's official staff photographer only from 1969 to 1973, he continued to maintain a contractual, part-time relationship with the University after 1973. In fall of 1973, he returned to his classroom at Magnolia, where he taught five classes of Introduction to Vocation, as well as supervising a homeroom. He, however, maintained his "picture-taking" business through all job changes, taking what are now "historic" photographs of all aspects of Lumbee life in Robeson County. The photographs document weddings, pageants, parades, fairs, civic clubs, school groups, stores, buildings, and many landmark events that occurred over four decades.
Hunt was also active in many civic and religious organizations in his community. He was a member of the Pembroke VFW, the Pembroke Fire Department, and president of the Pembroke Lions Club. He was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Pembroke where he served as the Sunday School Director for seven years. He also owned Hunt's Studio of Photography in Pembroke.
Elmer William Hunt, Sr. died on July 12, 1987 at the age of 67. At his death, the poem below, entitled "The Picture-Taking Man, was written by Pastor Charles P. Locklear and delivered at Mr. Hunt's funeral on July 15, 1987 to pay tribute to the great contribution that Hunt had made to his community through his many years of photography.
The Picture-Taking Man
He can talk to the babies and they quieten right down,At the sound of the birdie they pose.Is he magic, how does he do it?The Picture-Taking Man only knows.
They call him near, they call from afarThey've been calling for such a long time.He always went, in sunshine and rain,To do service for his fellow man-kind.
Stand here, stand there, hold your head up with a smile,Look straight ahead, hold it right there, if you can,This is the talk that can only belongTo the work of a picture-taking man.
He flirts with the bride, while the bridegroom listens,It's all in the picture taking plan.Everybody's smiling, nobody's offended,It's just the way of the Picture-Taking Man.
He was good, he was patient, the folk kept a-coming,He's a legend in Lumbee land.The click is silent, the birdie isn't singing,No more posing for the Picture-Taking Man.
I don't know if there're cameras in Heaven,But on this I know I can stand.When on the bright shore our feet become planted,We'll shake hands with the Picture-Taking Man.Scope and ContentThe photographs in the collection range from the late 1940s to the 1980s, and activities covered include family reunions, birthday parties, Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA) events, Strike at the Wind!, and numerous other public and private occasions.
Series 01: Carolina Indian Voice
Series 02: Churches
Series 03: Lumbee Regional Development Association
Series 04: Public Schools of Robeson County
Series 05: Public Schools of Robeson County - Magnolia School
Series 06: Public Schools of Surrounding Counties
Series 07: Robeson County Events
Series 08: Strike at the Wind!Series 09: Town of Pembroke
Series 10: University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as series or items.
- Hunt, Elmer W., 1919-1987.
- Photographers--North Carolina.
- Lumbee Indians--North Carolina--Robeson County.
- Lumbee Indians--History.
- Indians of North America--North Carolina--Robeson County.
- Pembroke (N.C.)--Photographs.
- Robeson County (N.C.)--Photographs.
- North Carolina--Photographs.
- Robeson County (N.C.)--photographers.
- Robeson County (N.C.)--History--20th century.
- Pembroke State College--Photographs.
- Pembroke State University--Photographs.
- Mary Livermore Library--Special Collections--Photographs.
- University of North Carolina at Pembroke--Special Collections.
Detailed Description of the Collection:
Series 1: Carolina Indian Voice, August 1973-May 1986 (primarily 1981-1986, only three 1973 images)
Approximately 1,233 items (All black-and-white negatives). Collection Available Online
The Carolina Indian Voice, a weekly newspaper published in Pembroke, was established on January 18, 1973. It was published until 2005 and is one of North Carolina's oldest American Indian newspapers. The newspaper was primarily run by the members of the Barton family, including Bruce Barton, who served as editor from the founding of the newspaper in 1973 to 1988 when his sister, Connee Barton Brayboy, took over the editorship. This series in the Elmer Hunt Photograph Collection contains approximately 1,233 images that were used in the newspaper to accompany articles. These images cover various activities such as ribbon cutting ceremonies for local businesses, parades, protests, graduations, auto races, football games, and birthday parties.
See the inventory of the Carolina Indian Voice Series available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 2: Churches, early 1950s to early 1986
Approximately 1,323 items (1,292 negatives, 10 photographs, 19 images on rolls of film; 1,221 black-and-white and 102 color). Collection Available Online
This series consists of approximately 1,300 images of local churches, people, and activities. It includes images of over 40 churches of various denominations, such as Baptist, Methodist, Holiness, and Church of God. There are images of some of the pastors of the churches, the members, and a variety of church activities. Some of the churches included in the series are Ashpole Methodist Church, Burnt Swamp Baptist Church, Evergreen Holiness Church, Greenpine Freewill Baptist Church, Harpers Ferry Baptist Church, the Latter Day Saints Church, and Saddletree Church of God. Some of the pastors in the series include Reverend Tony Brewington of First Baptist Church, Reverend Millard Maynor of the Church of God, Reverend Tommy Haggans of Elrod Baptist Church, and Bruce Swett of Reedy Branch Baptist Church. There are also images from an assortment of church activities, such as White Bible Service, Bible Camp, Vacation Bible School, Christmas pageants, Easter programs, Homecomings, and Tent Revivals.
See the full inventory of the Churches series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 3: Lumbee Regional Development Association
Approximately 5,901 items (All negatives: 3,345 black-and-white and 2,556 color). Collection Available Online
This series consists of approximately 5,900 miscellaneous LRDA-related images. Established in 1968, the Lumbee Regional Development Association, Inc. (LRDA) was created to provide services for the Lumbee Indian communities. For many years, the LRDA Board of Directors served as the governing body of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. LRDA is the main sponsor for the Lumbee Homecoming, Lumbee pageants, powwows , and other Indian cultural events in the area. Therefore, the pictures in this series cover a range of activities that were sponsored by LRDA during the 1970s and 1980s.
There are many photos of Lumbee Homecoming parades, Miss Lumbee pageants and contests, and Little Miss Lumbee pageants and contests. There are also photos of various activities related to the Lumbee Longhouse, such as graduation exercises, Christmas programs, music programs, and recitals.
See the full inventory of the Lumbee Regional Development Association series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 4: Public Schools of Robeson County. Images date from 1950 to 1989. The bulk of the photographs were taken in the 1960s (2,562) and 1980s (4,714). There is one photo from 1931-32; it is a picture of Mr. Anderson Locklear's 4th grade class at Pembroke Grade School.
Approximately 8,082 items (7,718 negatives, 11 photographs, 353 images on rolls of film; 8045 black-and-white and 37 color). Not yet available online, please contact Special Collections for access to this collection.
There are many pictures from various Robeson County public schools that were in existence during this time period. The schools covered include Ashpole-Southside, Deep Branch, Fairgrove, Green Grove, Hilly Branch, Les Maxwell, Oxendine, Pembroke Elementary, Pembroke Junior High, Pembroke Senior High, Piney Grove, Prospect, Red Springs, Rex-Rennert, Shoe Hill (also known as Sugar Hill), South Robeson, Tanglewood, Union Chapel, Union Elementary, and West Robeson.
In this series, there are a host of photographs of school organizations and activities. There are photographs of a variety of classes, such as typing, science, woodshop, kindergarten, and Head Start, as well as the different grade levels. Some of the clubs featured in the photographs are 4-H, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Honors.
The series contains photographs of the regular athletic teams and the cheerleaders, as well as Special Olympics. There are photographs of numerous school activities, such as the Marble Tournaments, homecomings, graduations, reunions, proms, banquets, May Day events, music festivals, and IEA (Indian Education Act) programs.
Individuals, such as graduates and the administrators of the schools, are featured in some of the photographs. Some of the teachers included in the photographs are Doris Hammonds, Marvin Howington, Agnes Hunt, Anderson Locklear, Lock Brantley Locklear, Shirley Locklear, Zeb Lowry, and Gaston Revels. Administrators contained in the series include Superintendent Purnell Swett; Principals Bill James Brewington, Earl Cummings, James A. Jones, and Newman Oxendine; as well as IEA Director Ruth Dial Jones.
Some "Teachers of the Year" are also featured; these include Ruby Buchannan, Molly Locklear, Robert Earl Jacobs, and Yvonne Walker. In addition, there are a few photographs of notables/outstanding individuals, such as Governor James B. Hunt and Coach John W. "Ned" Sampson, who was an acclaimed local coach and the father of the renowned Kelvin Sampson.
See the full inventory of the Public Schools of Robeson County, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 5: Public Schools of Robeson County -- Magnolia School. Images range from 1950 to 1986; majority of the photographs taken in 1970s and 1980s, with half (approx. 8,000) taken in the 1970s.
Approximately 15,510 items (15,004 negatives, 4 photographs, 502 images on rolls of film; 11,462 black-and-white and 4,048 color). Not yet available online, please contact Special Collections for access to this collection.
This is a very large collection of photos that Elmer Hunt took at Magnolia School in Robeson County. Mr. Hunt worked at Magnolia School for approximately 28 years and taught vocational education to students in grades 9-12. He also taught photography during his last seven years at Magnolia.
There are photographs of Mr. Hunt's Title IV classroom and of other classrooms, such as the Spanish class, math class, carpentry class, and Steve Locklear's class. There are numerous photographs of school activities, such as talent shows, pageants, class reunions, proms, homecomings, and May Days. There are many photographs of sports and sports-related events, such as basketball games, football games, team pictures, and athletic banquets. There are also lots of yearbook photographs, such as individual students, class pictures, senior portraits, and student clubs.
See the full inventory of the Public Schools or Robeson County Magnolia School series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 6: Public Schools of Surrounding Counties, primarily from 1960s and 1980s, with copies of a picture from 1905
Approximately 125 items (All black-and-white negatives). Not yet available online, please contact Special Collections for access to this collection.
This is a small collection of photographs from nearby public high schools that are outside Robeson County. There are photos from a Black Beauty Pageant that was held at the Scotland County High School in May 1984. There are photographs from the 1960s of activities, such as Homecoming, at Hoke County Public Schools. There are a couple of photographs of the Southview School Band at Pembroke State University in 1983. Southview is a member of the Cumberland Count Public School System.
There are historic photographs of Dr. English E. Jones, a former UNC Pembroke Chancellor (1962 – 1979), and his mentor James K. Brayboy (Braboy). Mr. Braboy was a Lumbee Indian who grew up near Pembroke and attended the Indian Normal School of Robeson County (UNCP) when it was a two-year college in the 1920s. He is credited with maintaining the Leland Grove School in Dillon County, South Carolina for 35 years where, according to one of his biographers, Carley Wiggins, Mr. Braboy "was a teacher, principal, bus driver, custodian, and counselor to many Indian children who would never have gotten any education at all if had not been for his efforts."
English Jones was one of those Indian children who were influenced by Mr. Braboy. At the age of ten, he was discovered by Mr. Braboy working in the cotton fields. Mr. Braboy got English's parents to agree for him to attend the Leland Grove School, and he worked closely with English throughout his time at Leland Grove and later. There are also pictures of Mr. Braboy during the time that he was voted South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1970.
Finally, there are images of what appear to be copies of another photo of Sugar Hill School in 1905.
See the full inventory of the Public Schools of Surrounding Counties series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 7: Robeson County Events
Approximately 291 items (278 negatives, 13 photographs; 278 black-and-white and 13 color). Not yet available online, please contact Special Collections for access to this collection.
This series consists of approximately 291 miscellaneous images of people and activities in Robeson County. It includes images of contestants in the 1984 Robeson County Junior Miss Contest, a Charter Night Banquet for the Fairgrove Jaycees, a Christmas parade in Lumberton, and an appearance of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales in Pembroke on February 22, 1981.
See the full inventory of the Robeson County Events series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 8: Strike at the Wind!
Approximately 1,206 items (1,182 negatives, 24 photographs; all black-and-white). Collection Available Online
Strike at the Wind!, a Robeson County musical outdoor drama ran from the 1970s until 2007. The drama, which told the true story of the Lowrie War, one of the most important events in North Carolina history, opens in 1865, at the end of the Civil War. In the play, Henry Berry Lowrie, a 17-year old Lumbee Indian boy, is confronted with the unjustified murder of his father and brother at the hands of the Confederate Home Guard.
The drama, Strike at the Wind!, was written by Dr. Randolph Umberger, Jr., professor of Theater at North Carolina Central University. The music was composed by Willie French Lowery, a Lumbee songwriter and recording artist from Pembroke, N.C.
The outdoor drama brought together the three predominant ethnic groups of southeastern North Carolina (Robeson County in particular)—Lumbee Indian , Black, and White—in a unified attempt to portray a significant piece of post-Civil War history.
The photographs in this series are dated from 1981 through 1986. The majority of the photographs are from 1981 through 1986 (1,180 images); only 26 images are dated for 1985 and 1986.
Elmer Hunt served as the official photographer for the production during the years covered in this series. His photographs recorded actors, scenes, and activities related to the production, such as a Fundraiser Dinner at Sheff's, a local seafood restaurant, in 1984.
There are many historical photographs of actors who have become inextricably associated with the characters they portrayed in the drama. Some of the most notable instances of this are Melton Lowery as Henry Berry Lowrie, Hope Sheppard as Rhoda, Robert Bryant as Shoemaker John, and Julian Ransom as "The Leader." The photographs in this series capture these historic "moments in time" where the portrayals and the actors become almost as historic locally as the events that are being depicted in the play.
There are photographs of other significant portrayals in the drama during the 1980s. These include Carnell Locklear as Boss Strong, Jenny Hazen as Dolly King, and Janet Graham as Polly Oxendine.
See the full inventory of the Strike at the Wind! series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 9: Town of Pembroke. Images primarily from 1960 to 1986, with a few photos from 1940s and 1950s.
Approximately 4,668 items (4,292 negatives, 201 photographs, 175 images on rolls of film; 4,560 black-and-white and 108 color). Collection Available Online
The photographer, Elmer Hunt, settled in Pembroke in 1945. He married Luvenia Fields the same year. They became the parents of two children: Elmer W. Hunt, Jr. (Bill) and Wanda Kay who were born and raised in Pembroke.
Mr. Hunt graduated from the local Pembroke State College. He served as a student photographer while in college, and, after graduating, served as the college's official photographer for several years. He maintained a local photography business in Pembroke and taught photography for many years at a local school, Magnolia. During this time he often photographed local people and events in and around Pembroke, N.C.
Consequently, there are many Pembroke-related photographs in Mr. Hunt's collection. There are numerous photographs of events and activities of local organizations, such as the Pembroke VFW, the Kiwanis Club, the Jaycees, and the Lions Club. There are also many photos related to the Pembroke Fire Department, where Mr. Hunt was a member, and the Odum Home, a Baptist Children's Home located in Pembroke.
There are photos of Pembroke activities, such as Lumbee Homecoming, Veteran Day parades, and Christmas parades. There are photos of the effects of historic natural disasters on the Pembroke area, such as Hurricane Hazel in 1954, a tornado in 1957, and ice storms in 1966 and 1969.
There are also many photos of local businesses and commercial establishments, such as the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad Station in 1950 and the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) Railroad Station in 1973; Sim's Restaurant in 1972 and 1976; Lumbee Bank in 1974 and 1984; Pate's Supply Company in the 1950s; Locklear & Son Funeral Home in 1957; as well as Tyner Motor Company and the Amoco Service Station in 1946.
See the full inventory of the Town of Pembroke series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.
Series 10: University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Approximately 2,961 items (2,085 black-and-white negatives, 13 color negatives, 14 black-and-white photographs, 840 black-and-white images on 22 rolls of film, and 9 color images on slides). Collection Available Online.
The majority of the photographs in this series (1,956 images) are dated in the 1970s and 1980s. The photographs document various Pembroke State College (1950-1969)/Pembroke State University (1969-1986) activities and events, such as graduations, reunions, Field Day, Greek Week, the college's Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) in 1962, and many, many photographs of Upward Bound activities.
There are photographs of the physical campus and different buildings, such as the original Sampson Hall (1949-1995) and Old Main.
There are also photographs of notable individuals at the college, such as Wanda K. Locklear, Miss PSU 1972; Governor Terry Sanford; Adolph L. Dial; Dr. English Jones; Reverend Charles Maynor; and Elmer Hunt.
See the full inventory of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke series, available as a PDF file, for details of the contents of this series.