Bruce will certainly be missed as a historian, activist, mentor, brother and friend. While he and The Robesonian didn’t always see eye to eye, he did believe in the power of the written word.It is a testament to to both Bruce and the powers that be at the Robesonian over the years to understand that writing is a great way to be heard. A great way to tell the story that needs to be told. Yes, Bruce loved his Indian people. No doubt. Yes he felt that we didn’t always get a fair shake in the Robesonian. Like our father, Lewis Barton who wrote about the quality or lack there of life in Robeson county in the 40;s (Barton, Lew. “A Report on the Robeson County Indian.” Robesonian 18 May 1949) Bruce understood the value of the newspaper in regards to its audience.
In a time when the internet, Facebook and sound bite TV has taken a large chuck out of newspapers following, he was able to adapt and use new and old media to convey his thoughts and Ideas. See www.thecenterforlumbeestudies…. as just one example.
Bruce often said there was an 1865 type mentality brewing just below the surface in many areas in Robeson county. As a historian it is said, we can not know where we are going if we dont know where we have been. We must use our past as a point of reference to measure the success of our future. It is said that history repeats itself, but we are only doomed to relive our past if we fail to learn from it. The past is not a map to where you are going, it’s a record of where you have been. Its purpose is not to drag you back through emotional muck, but to serve you best by reminding you of lessons learned so you can avoid them in the future.
Our greatest memorial to Bruce and all our fallen warriors is to continue to remember our history and to push for better. Better education, better jobs, a better way of life for all Robesonians.