PEMBROKE — Joel Garth Locklear had a passion for law enforcement, but an even deeper love for preserving Lumbee culture and our history.
Locklear was well known for his role in breaking up the infamous Klu Klux Klan rally in 1958. He loved to repeat the story and honor those helped run the Klan out of Maxton.
Today, the Lumbee Tribe is remembering Locklear and the legacy he leaves behind.
Locklear passed away early Monday morning. He was 82.
Locklear is a former Tribal Council member who represented his hometown district of Pembroke. He was also a former member of the Lumbee Supreme Court, serving from 2008 to 2013. Locklear also served several years on the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs.
“Mr. Garth was steadfast in his leadership and dedication to his fellow tribal members,” said Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks said.
“He fought for his country and came home and fought again for his people when helped run the KKK out of Robeson County.
Mr. Garth was diligent in his service as a council member and, later, he would answer the call and serve the Lumbee Tribe as a justice on the Tribal Supreme Court.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.”
Former Councilman Furnie Lambert was a long-time friend of Mr. Locklear
“He certainly done a lot for the Lumbee Tribe,” said Lambert. “He had a great love for the Lumbee people and his legacy is that he cared for his people. He will certainly be missed.”
Councilman Larry Townsend said Garth Locklear will be remember for rally his fellow tribal member to exercise their right to vote.
“Garth spent a lot of his time encourage people to vote and to get involved with the tribe,” Townsend said. “He especially worked with the elders to help them understand the political process. He was a good councilman. He worked to move our people forward for the betterment of the whole and not just for the part.
“He believed in our people,” Townsend said.
Lawrence Locklear served alongside Mr. Garth Locklear on the Tribal Council.
“It seemed to be a lifelong passion of his to preserve the Victory at Hayes Pond,” Lawrence Locklear said. “He made it a goal of his to compile a list of everyone who was there that night and stood together against the KKK.
Garth Locklear spearheaded and was chairman of the Indian Honor Association which recognized participants of the standoff against the clan.
Locklear honored the participants with the name “1958 Lumbee Warriors.”
Locklear was a lifelong resident of Pembroke. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Upon returning home, Locklear enjoyed a long career in law enforcement. He worked for Pembroke Police Department in the early 1960s and late 1970s. He later worked for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office from 1978 to 1986. He began as drug agent and worked his way up to chief homicide detective. After his retirement, Locklear worked as a private investigator.
The services will be held on Thursday, October 8, at Our Freedom Ministries Church in Pembroke. The visitation will be held at 5 pm. The funeral will follow at 7 pm.