Settled in 1789 and incorporated in in 1895, the town site of Pembroke was first called Campbell's Mills. The town developed around businesses that served the Lumbee Indian population that resided in this area prior to the American Revolution. Earlier known as Scuffletown, the town's name derives from a principle stockholder in the Atlantic Coastline Railroad, Pembroke Jones. The town's corporate limits as surveyed and mapped, were based on the intersection of two railway lines.

Under an 1885 law, twelve school districts were established providing elementary education for Lumbees. In 1887 a state-funded school, the Croatan Normal School, was begun with minimal funding to train teachers for the newly established schools.

By 1928 the school offered high school and normal school courses and in 1940 awarded its first four-year degrees. In 1941 the name of the school was changed to Pembroke State College for Indians and shortened to Pembroke State College, in 1949. University status was granted in 1969 and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke became part of the 16 campus state university system, in 1972.

Contributions to Pembroke have long been associated with the cultural and political history of the Lumbees. Pembroke University houses the Indian Cultural Center that has engaged in research and preservation of the Native American culture of this area. Visit the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce website at

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