To the Editor,
Let’s make institutions of higher education care about facts again.
The history of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke begins with Croatan Indian history. My paternal great-great- grandfather, Isaac Braboy (1836-1919), helped found and served as a trustee of the Croatan Normal School (now UNCP). A learned Croatan Indian, he was able to read and write and used the surname of Braboy (1850 Federal Census of Robeson County, N.C., microfilm roll No. 642, National Archives in Washington, D.C. and the Department of Archives and History in Raleigh, NC ) given him at birth and used until his death — and subsequent gravestone — and traditionally affixed it in signature on legal papers, including early historical documents supporting and relative to the establishment of what is now UNCP (1892 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of N.C., p. 63).
Last month the sitting UNC-P chancellor, Robin G. Cummings, a heart surgeon and consummate fundraiser — summoning the dark shadows of 19th century of American Indian oppression — ignored historical accuracy and made a decision to change the spelling of Braboy’s surname to go on a $35,000 mace to fit the modern-day spelling of Brayboy. This appears to be a situation where some ego-driven descendants- benefactors of the privately-funded initiative were more concerned that the spelling of the university’s founder’s name matches their modern-day surname and took advantage of the chancellor’s ignorance of the early history of the institution he leads. In essence, my ancestor’s surname was changed and sold — like a 19th century slave — to the highest bidder. A university and its leaders shouldn’t have policies that ensure every rule falls their way.
The gold-embellished staff, a supposedly, authoritative university symbol bearing inaccurate history, will be formally dedicated in a ceremony on UNC-P campus Nov. 17
Ocean Isle Beach