Numbers and Angela.

Record Number: 

Larsen, Richard B. “Numbers and Angela.” College English 41.5 (January 1980): 517-23.


This article effectively intertwines the broader, national and statewide issues of high-risk students—those needing remediation—with the specific example of one Lumbee student (called Angela Primm), highlighting the obstacles she and her family faced in Robeson County that affected her resolve to obtain a college degree. The article’s author, Richard B. Larsen, was the Writing Supervisor at Pembroke State University when this article was published. Larsen notes that at the time this article was written (1980), over 90% of students in Robeson County qualified as disadvantaged.

In the relatively brief space of this article, Larsen captures well several elements in Angela’s background and life story, one or more of which would be representative of many Lumbees. The story of Angela touches on all of the following: the triracial Robeson County environment; some historical highlights of the Lumbee people; Angela’s birth, out of wedlock, to a Lumbee mother, with a father—a soldier from Chicago stationed at Fort Bragg—who fled once his girlfriend became pregnant; her mother’s back-breaking labor in a factory that made equipment for the textile industry; the mother’s early death, and how the emotional fallout of this event affected Angela’s high school performance; Angela’s being told by high school teachers and her guidance counselor (even though her grades and SAT scores were not exceptional) that she had ability and should apply to college; her being turned down by UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, and Appalachian State but accepted into Pembroke State’s College Opportunity Program for remedial work; her struggles to adjust to the rigor and workload of the College Opportunity Program, and her disappointment at realizing that she was not as bright as her teachers had led her to believe and that she, in fact, was “high risk”; her relationship with her boyfriend, which was competing for her attention with her college-preparatory work; her becoming pregnant, moving in with her boyfriend, dropping out of Pembroke State University, and getting part-time work in the local sneaker factory.

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