Legacy Stories

Lula Jane Locklear Smith: Advocating for Women and Native Americans

Lula Jane Locklear Smith: Advocating for Women and Native Americans
Lula Jane Locklear Smith

Lula Jane Locklear Smith was a teacher, a writer and an activist fighting for justice and compassion, especially for women and Indigenous Peoples. A member of the Lumbee Tribe,  Smith was born in 1921 in North Carolina, where she received her B.A. at the  University of North Carolina and her Master’s Degree in Education at Chapel Hill.

Smith was a passionate educator. For 28 years she worked as a high school English and Spanish teacher, and for 10 years was a supervisor of foreign language and bilingual education in North Carolina schools. In 1964 she was elected president of Wake County North Carolina Association of Educators.

Smith and her husband were both deeply engaged in The Methodist Church. From 1948-1952 Smith was president of the Pembroke Women’s Society of Christian Service, the precursor of United Methodist Women, and in 1962 she was elected president of the Wesleyan Service Guild.

All her life, Smith advocated for justice for women and Native Americans. She was on the board of The Women’s Center of Raleigh, and in 1986 she chaired the North Carolina Committee for the Year of the Native American. Smith took a close look at her Native heritage and her Methodist faith in the book she wrote, The Lumbee Methodists, Getting to Know Them: A Folk History. The book is a comprehensive history of the relationship between the Lumbee Tribe and Methodism in North Carolina, and was published in 1990.

Lula Jane Locklear Smith died on Aril 30, 2015, in Cary, North Carolina.

Posted or updated: 11/13/2019 12:00:00 AM
 

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