Brayboy, Tim, and Bruce Barton. Playing before an overflow crowd: the story of Indian basketball in Robeson, North Carolina, and adjoining counties. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill P, 2003. 201 pages. Key source
Engagingly written, attractively laid out, and clearly organized, this book provides a wealth of information on the players, coaches, schools, tournaments, and the Indian athletic conference that were all part of Indian basketball in Robeson and adjoining counties from 1939-1967. There are numerous photographs from a wide range of sources, including high school yearbooks, newspapers, the players themselves, and the Robeson County Indian Education Resource Center Archival Collection. Some information comes from articles and reports from the Robesonian, Faytteville Observer, and Carolina Indian Voice. Much, however, comes from the authors’ research, their extensive knowledge of the topics, and interviews with the individuals being profiled and/or materials the individuals provided. The profiles of individuals are brought up to date, describing the person’s activities and accomplishments after involvement in Indian high school basketball ended. The sketches are enhanced by quotations from or about the individuals, and they are rich with details that paint a vivid picture of both the sport and Indian life during the period.Helpful background information on the Indian basketball conference, the history of UNC-Pembroke, and Lumbee Indian history can be found in these sections: “The way the game was played back then” (page 5); “A lesson in history” (pages 6-7); “A history of education and the college gymnasium” (pages 10-16); “Indian basketball facts” (page 178); and “What’s in a name” (includes a list of common Lumbee surnames) (page 180). The book concludes with an Indian Basketball Alumni Directory, a list of Robeson County Indian high school basketball players from the 1939-1967 period who were inducted into the UNC-Pembroke, Catawba College, or Elon College athletic hall of fame, and an index listing the numerous individuals discussed in the book.This book is an outstanding tribute to the topic and, more broadly, to Lumbee life and culture during the period.