PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribe’s second elected tribal chairman, the late Jimmy Goins, was recently honored when the state Board of Transportation officially named a five-mile stretch of N.C. 71 as the “Jimmy Goins Highway.”
Goins, 66, died in early June 2015 from injuries suffered in a single-car accident as he was traveling alone on N.C. 71, about four miles north of Maxton. According to the state Highway Patrol, Goins was traveling south when his vehicle ran off the road to the right, struck a highway sign and overturned before striking a tree and coming to a rest on its top.
Goins served two three-year terms, from 2004 to 2010, as the tribal chairman. Tribal law does not allow a third consecutive term. At the time of his death there had been speculation that he would announce that he would again be a candidate for chairman.
His widow Diane, about 20 family members and friends, including the tribe’s Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. and Lesaundri Hunt, a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council, attended the road-naming ceremony at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Raleigh. Grady Hunt, a Pembroke attorney and member of the state Board of Transportation, read the resolution proclaiming the section of N.C. 71 from Red Hill Road to Buie-Philadelphus Road as the Jimmy Goins Highway.
As chairman, Goins led tribal efforts to move the Lumbee Recognition Bill through both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The House passed the Lumbee Recognition Bill in 2007, with the bill passing the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2008 and becoming eligible for full Senate consideration in 2008.
Before becoming chairman, Goins had served as a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council and assisted in the early stages of development of the tribal government and the Lumbee Tribal Constitution. He was a member of the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission from 1998 to 2000, served as a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council, and was chairman of the tribe’s Federal Recognition Committee.
Spencer Locklear, a member of the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors and a close friend of Goins, spearheaded the drive to have the road named for Goins.
“Jimmy was a great tribal chairman,” Locklear said. “During his time as chairman he increased the tribe’s wealth significantly, started clubs for veterans, and helped organize the tribe’s Boys and Girls clubs.
“I wanted to see him recognized,” said Locklear. “He loved all races and people. He helped a lot of people.”
Locklear credited state Sen. Danny Britt, a Republican from Lumberton, for his efforts at moving the resolution proposed by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners up the ladder from the county to the state Board of Transportation.
“Danny is good at working both sides of the aisle,” Locklear said. “He gets things done. Getting a road named in honor of someone can take from 18 months to four years. Danny got this done in just 6.5 months.”
According to the resolution, an “appropriate sign” at a “suitable time” will be put up along the section of N.C. 71 named for Goins.” Locklear expects the sign should be up within about four to six weeks.
The owner of an insurance business in Red Springs, Goins also was a farmer. He was especially well known throughout the Prospect and Philadelphus communities, and his political ties stretched across the region and the state.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.