For Malinda Lowery, understanding Lumbee Indian history has always been part of who she is – first as a daughter raised by Lumbee parents who taught her about her heritage, then as a Harvard undergraduate, then at Carolina where she earned a Ph.D. in history.
In preparation for Lowery’s birth 37 years ago, her parents traveled 100 miles from their Durham home to the Lumberton hospital. They did it, Lowery said, because they didn’t want her to forget where she came from – and to forge a tie with the place where she would always belong.
It was that same appreciation of tribal history that Lowery sought to pass on to her unborn daughter in 2007 when she was wheeled to a delivery room down the same hallway in the same Lumberton hospital where Lowery was born.
At that time, she was a faculty member at Harvard, but in fall of 2009 she joined the faculty of the history department at Carolina. And this spring, her book, “Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation” was published.
One of the reasons Lowery returned to Carolina, her alma mater, was its growing commitment to develop curriculum to explore and preserve the history of Native Americans – a commitment she believes was cemented into permanence four years ago with the opening of the American Indian Center.
“This is not about me, it is about how can we achieve the highest profile for this subject matter both within the university and the national academic scene,” Lowery said. “UNC is poised to become the leading program in American Indian Studies in the country.”