DEMOGRAPHIC POST– CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY OF
AFRICAN AMERICAN TOWNS IN ROBESON COUNTY
The following is a historical demography of the four now predominantly
African American towns in Robeson County, North Carolina, and one
town with a slight White majority.
Fairmont and Rowland were centers of the tobacco production and ware-
house business, which declined massively after the 1970s. The large pro-
portion of African Americans in these villages during the 1960s was related
to their employment in the ware houses and as day laborers brought out to
work on the surrounding farms. Red Springs and St. Pauls had the well-
earned reputation of being particularly hostile to African Americans and
Native Americans, hence few would try to live there.
Red Springs, Fairmont, Rowland, and St. Pauls— all but Maxton—
annexed part of their surrounding townships in the 1950s, which kept the
total population stable or slightly expanding. This was largely related to
bringing surrounding White populations within the town boundaries
so the children could attend the all- White schools in the towns. As soon as
you traveled past the actual town of Maxton in the 1950s and 1960s (as op-
posed to the legally defined town), the countryside was inhabited largely by
Native Americans, who did not want to be in the town of Maxton, nor were
they wanted, so Maxton did not then expand.
Red Springs had, until quite recently, the reputation that it was unsafe
for Native Americans “to be in the town after dark.” St. Pauls had, and still
has, a reputation of active hostility to non- Whites.