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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Endowed scholarship honors legendary Indian educator

A scholarship was established at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke in the name of a legendary American Indian educator, James Braboy.

Braboy and Jones

Braboy (left) with English Jones

The James K. Braboy Endowed Memorial Scholarship was established to honor a UNCP graduate who taught for 35 years at Leland Grove School, a two-room schoolhouse in Dillon County, S.C. The little school closed in 1970, and Braboy retired two years later. He was named South Carolina Educator of the Year in 1970 and runner-up for the national honor.

Braboy, who died on Nov. 14, 1976, devoted his life and considerable energy to educating American Indian school children. UNCP played an important role in Braboy’s life, and he played an important role in the University’s history.

Graduating from UNCP (then Cherokee Indian Normal School) in 1928, Brayboy returned to earn a four-year degree at Pembroke State College in 1958. He plucked a young man by the name of English Jones out of a cotton field in South Carolina and educated him at Leland Grove School. Jones became UNCP’s first American Indian chancellor.

Friends of Braboy gathered at the University on Dec. 21, 2005, to sign the scholarship agreement. They included Dr. Jayne P. Maynor and her father, James C. Maynor, who initiated the scholarship, Bruce Barton, and Carley Wiggins.

“After reading the story in the Dillon Herald of Mr. Braboy’s sacrifices on behalf of educating disadvantaged Indian children, I was moved to establish this endowment in his memory,” Dr. Maynor said. “I hope that others will build on this foundation so that it will be a worthy memorial and continue his passion of educating children and supporting the teaching profession.”

Carley Wiggins, who wrote Braboy’s biography for the South Carolina newspaper, said he was a “prince” of a man.

Scholarship begins Honoring the late American Indian Educator James K. Braboy (from left) James C. Maynor, Dr. Jayne P. Maynor, Chancellor Meadors and Carley Wiggins.

Scholarship begins Honoring the late American Indian Educator James K. Braboy (from left) James C. Maynor, Dr. Jayne P. Maynor, Chancellor Meadors and Carley Wiggins.

“As I talked with people in the community – former students, family, etc. - I kept asking myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’” Wiggins said. “When the story came out and I saw the response, I found my answer.

“I chose to write this story because it was meant to be; it was a spiritual calling that led me to research his life and bring it to the people,” he said. “No one ever had a negative word to say about him. He was a hero to the Indian people of the Leland Grove families.”

Barton, an educator and founding editor of The Carolina Indian Voice, said Braboy was a role model for American Indian teachers.

“James K. Braboy personified the whole idea of the Indian teacher. He was a standard bearer for Indian teachers,” Barton said. “Meeting James Braboy was a pivotal point in English Jones’s life. Everything he was, he owed to James Braboy.”

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said a teacher affects many lives.

“We are grateful to Dr. Maynor for establishing this scholarship that does two very important things,” Chancellor Meadors said. “It honors a man who loved his people, and it acknowledges the impact that a teacher can bring. I am sure the lives of many children were better due to Mr. Braboy’s sacrifices and contributions.”

The scholarship is endowed at the initial amount of $10,000 and is perpetual. Others may contribute to it at any time.

Because he was an educator of American Indians, the scholarship will benefit students of Indian descent who are residents of Robeson County seeking a degree in education.

To learn more about the James K. Braboy Endowed Memorial Scholarship, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email advancement@uncp.edu.

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