Burnt Swamp Association, Set Up in 1881 to Serve American Indians

This Day in North Carolina History

On January 21, 1881, the elders of three churches met at Burnt Swamp Baptist Church in Robeson County to form what became the Burnt Swamp Association.

The formation of the group solidified what had been a strong, informal relationship. Burnt Swamp Baptist was founded in 1877 by 20 Lumbee Indians. They received encouragement from two local white churches, Raft Swamp and Clyburn Baptist. Prior to Burnt Swamp’s organization, impromptu religious meetings and revivals had been held for two decades, but no organized religion was available to the community.

At their 1885 meeting, members resolved to adopt Burnt Swamp Indian Association of the Croatan Indians as their official name, the first in a series of name changes over the years. After years of struggling to gain acceptance, the Association was admitted to the Baptist State Convention in 1929.

The Association was instrumental in the effort to develop schools for Indians…

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