Apr. 10—CONCORD — Dana Lowery Ramseur is hoping the May release of her first two self-published books will shed light on the history of women who helped shape her Lumbee culture.
"Strong Like Rhoda: Exploring Female Power in the Lumbee Tribe" and "Lumbee Herstory" are set to launch May 1 on Amazon.com and in independent bookstores.
"If you have any ties to Pembroke and the Lumbee Tribe you're going to get something out of this. You're going to be able to connect with me on things we share that are unique," Ramseur said.
"Strong Like Rhoda" explores the minimally told story of Rhoda Strong Lowry, the wife of Henry Berry Lowry, the renegade and Robin Hood of the Lumbee people, and how she is relevant to people's lives today.
"I feel like he (Henry) is pretty relevant today with things we continuously find, but her story is not really being told and we don't know much about her," Ramseur said. "I've always been fascinated with who is this woman."
Each chapter of the book ends with a piece of historical information about Rhoda that Ramseur gathered from her own research.
"I'm a librarian, so I like digging," Ramseur said. "Very little is written about her."
Rhoda has come to be a symbol of struggle against oppression "and we need her voice more than ever in our daily hustle and bustle caused by constant pressure by others or ourselves to perform unrealistic goals," the Lumbee author said.
Ramseur said the book has been a callout to Lumbee women to be strong because women like Rhoda have been.
"This book provides simple wisdom shared with great humility and optimism," Ramsuer said. "Learn to embrace a more realistic description of Rhoda and in turn, allow yourself to simply be you. Many historians perceived Rhoda as fragile, but we can all agree, if she were fragile, she was fragile like a bomb."
"Lumbee Herstory" is a continuation of the final chapter in "Strong Like Rhonda," written as a children's book.
"I like to sort of think of it as a mother-daughter, mother-son duo," Ramseur said.
Geared toward readers in middle school, the book is an alphabetical listing of important people, events, and items that are important to the history of Lumbees in North Carolina. Each letter listed has an important addition defined and described as it relates to Lumbees.
"It just goes through each significant Lumbee female that I think everybody should be aware of," Ramseur said.
Based in Concord, Ramseur is a product of the 1980s and the mother of two "insanely handsome and intelligent" sons. When she is not being a librarian at Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, she enjoys time with her tightly woven family. She is the daughter of Judy Locklear Lowery and the late Dennis Lowery, both Pembroke natives.
Ramseur graduated from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, earned her master's degree in library and information studies from East Carolina University, and is nationally board certified in library media. She has hosted several Lumbee powwows in the Charlotte area and has stayed involved in American Indian Women conferences. She also travels around Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools speaking about her Lumbee culture.
"I love telling people about the Lumbees," Ramseur said.
It was the Black Lives Matter movement that inspired her to publish her first two books.
"The Black Lives Matter movement sort of pushed me to say there's a lot of voices that are not heard and there's a lot of people that want to read about these voices," Ramseur said.
One of Ramseur's hopes is that the books encourage other Lumbees to become authors.
"It was something I always wanted to do but felt like I couldn't, and now that I've done it, I feel good about it and just want to encourage people that they've got a voice. They've got a unique story being Lumbee and it needs to be told," she said.
In addition to Amazon, a link to purchase books can be found at Ramseur's website, candyappleindian.com.
"There's a part of me that would love for people to buy the book, but I really did the book for myself," she said. "There's books inside of me that want to get out, and to whomever wants to read them that will bring me joy."
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.