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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
INTERVIEWER: Lew Barton
INTERVIEWEE: Sandra Wearins
March 6, 1975 dib
B: I'm Lew Barton interviewing for the University of Florida" history
department's American Indian Oral History Program. This afternoon
we are at the American Indian Study Center in the kitchen department,
and with me is a young lady who has kindly consented to give me an
interview. Ma'am, would you mind telling us what your name is?
W: Sandra Wearins.
B: You, I know that your last name is a lost colony name, very historic.
W: I know.
B: Ehanh, members of the 1587 English colony, there was a family by that
B: -TT, and that was a long time. That was, that was twenty years
before Jamestown, thirty years before Plymouth Rock, a hundred and
eighty-nine years before the birth of this country I/ t'
signing of the Declaration of Independence. Let's talk about you and
your family. How do you spell that last name? W-e-a-r-i-n-g-s, right?
B: -i-n-s, O.K. Are you married?
B: How old are you, may I ask?
Page 2. dib
B: Do you have any family, any children?
W: Uihaah. C-
B: How many children?
B: Could you give us their names and ages?
W: Michele Lynn, she's two, and Felicia Ann, she's four months.
I= : Would you spell those names for me?
IJ&: M-i-c-h-e-l-e, Michele, L-y-n-n, Lynn. Want the last name?
MS4 You gave us that.
UJ S All right. Felicia, F-e-l-i-c-i-a A-n-n, Ann.
B: Oh, you didn't tell me your husband's name yet.
W: Oh, Michael Harvey Wearins.
B: Ukbfa how long have you been in Baltimore?
W: Almost nine years.
B: Nine years. AXE?-g" do you like it here?
B: You were very young then when you came. You came here as a child/and
now you're grown up and married. But you still remember how it was
back home, don't you?
Page 3. dib
B: Which place had you rather live?
W: Up here.
B: Do you see any differences between living at home and living around
W: You want me to say what I really think?
B: UUi /-r)
W: There's just more trees in North Carolina and more:c6lored people up
B: Those are the big differences.
W: ibuk. ) C.
B: Did you have any trouble adjusting to city life?
B: Didn't take you long?
W: Only about three years.
B: You don't ever get homesick for Carolina?
B: Are most of your folks here?
W: Just my mother and father and my brother.
B: We didn't get the names of your mother and father on here, did we?
B: Do you mind telling me?
W: My father's name is Clinton Lewis and my mother's name is May Lewis.
B: Have you done, have you worked any at allor do you just keep house or what?
Page 4. dib
W: I just keep house.
B: Do you plan to work?
W: Yes, I'd like to.
B: Before we started this interview you were saying something about
you'd like to go back to school.
B: What would you like to do? What would you like to train to become?
W: A social worker.
B: Is this because you like people, you like helping people?
B: You think you might be able to do this?
W: Yes, I think so.
B: Well, I certainly wish you good luck. How does the husband feel about
you going back to school?
W: Oh, he likes it. He wants a smart wife.
B: He does. Oh, I guess most guys do. Do your parents live nearby?
W: Yes, they live a block, about a block and a half away.
B: What street do you live on?
W: Baltimore Street.
B: On Baltimore Street. There used to be so many more Indian people
living on Baltimore Street than there are today. I wonderast- about
how many did move away or had to move away because of the urban renewal
project which came over there.
W: About fifty, I guess, somewhere around there.
B: Aout fifty families?
Page 5. dib
W: saa 'e
B: Do you think they'll be able to move back eventually if they want
W: No, I don't think so.
B: Do many of our people own their homes here in Baltimore?
B: Some of them do.
W: Yes, just a few.
B: What, have you decided which school you'd like to go to or anything
W: Oh, I'm going to come to night school down here at the Indian (enter.
B: I see, that's nice. They're going to have class out here. That's
good. Do you think Indian parents are too strict in rearing their
children? Were yours strict when you were coming up?
W: Not really.
B: Somef them are very strict and some are getting away from that,
don't you think?
W: Yes, I'm kind of too strict.
B: I think you can be too strict or too lenient. Maybe we should find
a happy medium somewhere in between. How are you going to be by your
children? Are you going to be a very strict mother or...
W: I don't know. I just want my children to be happy. I wouldn't want them
to get in trouble, I mean since they're girls, yomiita I don't want
them to get pregnant or anything like that, 'J SWferf really early.
But I want them to enjoy their life.
Page 6. dib
B: 4&n4am you don't want to pin them down, but you still want to...
I know what you mean. Have you heard about the women's libbers.
I don't believe they've reached into the Indian community very
much, have they?
W: No, not really..
B: Do you know what they stand for?
W: What I see and hear it seems like they want to be equal with men.
They want to do the same jobs men do, get the same pay men get.
They just want to be equal.
B: Does that seem good or bad to you?
W: It's good.
B: I believe, too, that women should receive equal pay for equal work.
W: Right, if a woman can do a job that a man can do/she should get the
same pay as the man gets.
B: How about the old double standard which says in effect that it's
all right for a man to do certain things, but women are not supposed
to do those things. That's what they call the old double standard
and women's libbers don't go for that. How do you feel about it?
W: Well, I feel that a woman shouldn't do something that she really can't
do now that would cause her to hurt herself or cause embarrassment,
but if a woman can do what a man can do she's free to do it. It's
a free country.
B: -"trk. You sound like a liberated woman. OIM, there are a lot
more problems, though, in the city than in the rural area, aren't
there? I mean more temptations, if you want ot call it that, for
Page 7. dib
young people would you think? Do you think young people have more
temptations to overcome in the city than in the rural area?
W: Do you mean like bars and...
B: That sort of thing.
W: Well, there's as much going on in the country as there is in the
city. Like in North Carolina there's bootlegger's houses and it's
still the same. I mean it just...
B: It's not as handy, though.
W: Yes, no more sneakom out in the county yo.-kw. ye.
B: Oh me, I guess you're right about that then. Do you plan to ever
move back to North Carolina?
B: You are I would say a very pretty Indian-type person. Is being
an Indian a disadvantage or an advantage to you do you think? I
mean in the way you're treated by other people?
W: Well, when I was going to school it was a disadvantage really. When
I was going to school there was never any history about the Indians.
It was just about the colored people or the white people. It seemed
like the Indians didn't have nothing to do with the schools. But,
when Iim ...... --ep I'm around my own people I canetOrn mi*p
handle things. I do all right. But when I get out of my race I
don't do so good.
Page 8. dib
B: You feel uncomfortable?
B: Do they have a tendency to stare at you oyjfBi or go like this.
W: They used to do that to me.
B: How do you feel when somebody does it that way?
W: It hurts my feelings, but I ignore it. I used to fight about it.
B: SM. I don't enjoy it that much. For exampleryesterday I went to
a school where I lectured three periods, a high school, and when
I got up somebody did that.A I just said"there will be none of that.
You're going to respect me or leave this room. And I shouldn't
have gjeaS* felt bad because the people don't reallyvas3"
thfRlL iSi^ a mean to hurt yQuVj-domSZ' Or some don't care.
W: Yes, some just don't care.
B: Tell us about some of your other experiences. Have you had any ex-
periences like people asking questions .B, or do they feel resentful?
"TB-11 if people do feel resentful, who would you think feels the
most resentful, black people or white people?
W: I think both.
B: About equal?
B: Do they seem to resent the fact that you are different?
W: Yes, they sure do.
B: 'There's a thing going around here that everybody should be either
black or white, can you go along with that?
B: If they've got a right to their we have a right to ours
B: If they've got a right to their idonf yi teaan we have a right to ours,
Page 9. dib
W: Yes. .
B: l ______d _______
W: I met this lady at the laundramat one timeland I had my neice and
my little girl with eg0Bi2d my little girl 'is dark, -yaWL Xut
my neice is bright. She says to me, she says, "Hey honey, how come
one of your children is dark and one of thems'white?" I -e gI4
ta wa6 funny.
B: Oh, what did you say?
W: I said, "She's not mine." I said, "She's my neice." And when me and
my baby, when I had my baby outside, because she's so bright-skinned
people stare at her. I think they wonder where I got her from.
B: Think you might have kidnapped her.
W: I believe they think she don't belong to me.
B: Is your husband very bright, real bright?
W: He's about...he's just a little bit darker than He's bright.
B: Do you think this is a disadvantage to children, to Indian children
going to school? Do you think they have a tendency to lag behind
in their studies because-of this kind of attitude?
W: No, I never did.
B: Was--the Indian children have a disadvantage in that they don't have
the same background as other people aftaw4 This may slow them up
in their learning process and so forth. Have you ever done any tutoring?
Page 10. dib
We've got a nice set-up here, you know, where Indian children tutor
other Indian children/and they seem to enjoy and get along good
at it. -c'Xei2i, mBs you didn't have that opportunity, though,
when you were coming along, did you?
B: Hadn't started then.
B: Are you a very good cook?
W: In some ways.
B: Do you think Indian women are better cooks usually, than other people?
W: I don't really know. This man I know, he said, he's an Indian man,
he said all Indian women were good for was cooking anyway. / -1"'
P-' kr L'" t-c /IW t
B: I guess you had something to say about that, didn't you?
W: Yes, sir.
B: We mentioned several problems of which are in the city and in the rural
areas. Do you think pot is a bad problem around in Baltimore? ....
I know you're a church goer, so you probably wouldn't know too much
about pot, but I just wondered if you'd heard anything.
W: I don't think it's really bad for people who know how to use it right.
B: Where do you go to church at right now?
W: West Cross Street Baptist Church.
B: 4 2mh.- anl is your husband a member there too?
B: How long have you been a church member?
Page 11. dib
W: Oh, about seven months.
B: In the Indian community when people '...i.ii... join a church,or
as we say, 'get savedass. this is a profound experience in their
lives*? Jijc ?
W: I6was in mine.
B: Did it change you in a lot of ways?
W: Yes, seems like I'm a lot nicer now, a lot friendlier.
B: A lot happier?
W: Yes, but I'm stilltg?eBp, kind of, I have a bad temper.
B: You do?
W: Yes. I don't know whether that's going to change or not. I hope
B: It probably will. At who do you vent that temper when you get mad,
B: What would you say to other young people who wanted to get married
at a young age. Your marriage seemed to work out wonderfully well,
but do you think this is the exception rather than the rule? Do you
think they should wait longer or what?
W: I'd say it's all right for some young people. It seems like I was
old for my agee0, main in body and in mind. But s-oyo-un lT,
some young people, if they're not, they try to act older than what
they are, but they're not really that old emotionally. So maybe some
young people should wait longer. But if a young person, they're in
love and they get along good I don't see why they shouldn't get
Page 12. dib
B: Do you believe in our young people today? Does it make you mad when
people talk about them, say, "Oh, I don't know what's going to happen
to our young people. Oh me." mewr ume.
W: Yes, but I think they're coming out good.
B: I believe in young people myself. I think we who are older just
Ce good forgetter. yAni.nw. We've forgotten how we were "/cU .
B: And maybe young people have more opportunity to more temptations
and that sort of thing, and maybe get in trouble.
W: Well, thftM! the old people weren't so good in their days either.
B: True. That's true. I saw a show not long ago on T.V., Danny Thomas
was the fatherland this young man was coming trying to take his
daughter out somewhere and his wife said, "This young man is just
aspeMae you were, y4wcslsw, when you were coming along." He
waanf, "Kill him, I'll kill him." I thought that was awfully
funny. But this is tru I thinkAipm older people have a tendency
to forget that they did just about the same thing, had just about
the same attitudeJ and so on.
W: Yes, I know. When, before I got married my, this boy come to see me
one time, you know. My father said, "Hey, /) L-/l, that's boy's
come to see Sandy. You're going to have to leave." Oh, I was so
embarrassed. It made me feel, since I'm the baby of the familyapwr
""L they still treat me like I'm a baby.
B: UBhtrd, that spoiling's kind of nice, though, isn't it?
%e 13. dib
B: In Indian families usually the man is the absolute head of the family.
B: Do you think this is true?
B: A true explanation. How do you feel about this?
W: Well, my, take my mother and father for example. Now they are on
an equal basis. My father doesn't boss my mother. She don't boss
him. And me and my husband, we're getting like that. He, he gets
a little over bossy sometimes,lggBSME i but...he's the boss. I'm
supposed to listen to him, but that doesn't give him the right to
push me around.
B: I think this type of family relationship is called the patriarchal
type, family type. In some societies, did you know, the mother is the
head of the family.
B: That's the matriarchal ,LCrf*; Dfi
B: That's the matriarchal Ci Anyway/this is almost without
an exception Cn. among the Lumbee Indians, isn't it?
W: Yes, it is.
B: Are you proud to be an Indian?
W: Oh yes, very proud.
B: Do people sometimes envy you, seem to envy you?
W: Well, not really, but I h24S have a friei BeuamSa Ahe's white,
and we would be togetherland I would say something about the white
peopleland then I'd say, "Oh excuse me, Debbie." She'd say,"that's
all right. B i r4 TwWhen I'm with you I think I'm Indian, too."
Page 14. dib
B: Yes, that's nice, isn't it?
B: I try never to hurt anyone's feelings. What would you say to other
young people that we were talking about a while ago. You said
you'd tell them to wait a while, right?
B: So they could get their education and things like that?
B: "3nStthmerihere is something that people speak about as the generation
gap, which means that o'ffMpflzi older people and younger people
have trouble talking and understanding each other. Have you ever
had this problem?
W: Yes, with my mother, I mean I love my mother and she's good, but
seems like there was a mile gap between us. She didn't understand
the things lmlaL that I wanted to d7 when I first started
dating my husband he would come to the house to see g y5o g
My mother and father would be sitting right there. And the only
way I could c1 ipgwTM get a chance to talk to him by myself, I'd
say, "You want a glass of water?"
B: You'd ask your boyfriend this.
W: Yes. I know that was silly, but if I,4jSMt'Sh couldn't get him out
of the living room I couldn't get to talk to him.
B: You couldn't even say anything secret at all, could you?
W: Yes, and my father he would pick at me, and my tb!Lerefeg y brothers
didn't want me to get married. They thought I was too young and my
Page 15. dib
second oldest brother, he told me, t ,mazt, "You wait until I get
married and then you can get married." He's twenty-seven years
old and he's still not married. If I'd have waited for him/I'd
have been an old woman. But I love my family, though.
B: Sure you do.
W: They're good.
B: You think you were petted more than anybody else in the family?
B: Because you're the baby girl. Are you the baby or the baby girl?
W: The baby, 2 fmO 5 .
B: Well, they usually get a lot of spoiling.
W: Yes, my brothers and sisters...my one brother is fifteen years older
than I am, and then my next brother, he's ten years older than I
am. Then my sister is five years older than I am. So when IISMn
QYUI was born there was nobody to play with. Nobody wanted to
play with me. So I just kind of...
B: How come?
W: Because I was too little. They didn't mind watching me, but they
didn't want to play games with me. And my sister started to schooling
yisa I was only two years old when she started to school, so
she didn't want to have anything to do with me. So my mother and
father, they just;.E.... .t, took me places with them and bought
me what I wanteQ d then after all the kids left home/,there was
only me and my mother and my father. So we got along good.
Page 16. dib
B: Do you come out to the Indian dances on Thrusday nights sometimes?
W: I used to come. ".-I stopped for a while, but I think I'll start
B: Do you still enjoy dancing, conventional dancing?
W: No, I never liked to dance.
B: Some of the young people really go for that.
W: Yes, I was never a dancer. -"Ix-ana, it seems like I'm talking like
I'm thirty years old, but say four or five years ago, ga, ag
they-:were, youa-Raow, young girls l,hy. were more like tom boys. I
mean) ytm1 l mw they didn't worry that much about boys and what they
wore. But when I got married it seemed like the little girls I
knew, oh my goodness, all of a sudden they were big teenagers with
dates and worrying about clothes and I just couldn't...once I got
married I li i, .-=' couldn't get back into that because
it's different. It's hard.
B: That's something you associate with being a teenager.
B: ItC- q ,& teenager.
W: Yes, when you get married, even if you are young, in a sense you feel
older than they do)because you have a husband and a responsibility to
your family. But they have their school aZsd their friends and their
boyfriends and it's just hard to get back in with young people once
you get out.
B: Did you get lonesome for your crowd when you got married?
B: How did they, how did they treat you when you got married? Did they
Page 17. dib
quitecoming around or?...
W: Yes, they quit coming around, I don't know whether they were afraid...
B: They said, "Well, Sandra's no fun anymore."
W: Yes, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She said, "I
wish you didn't have your religion anymore."
B: Oh me.
W: I don't think she thinks I'm any fun anymore. Ar a- y l--,-
they were going to go out, yeatzdal and my friend said to me, aoa
Egt "I don't think you should come, Sandy, because we're going to
B: And what did you say?
W: Well, I said, -1a4 "Well, I can drink sodas."
B: I've been in places with people who drank and I didn't. It didn't
really bother me. To get invited to receptions like the cocktail
reception I was invited to a few weeks ago,the National American
Indian Bank in Washington, we got together and smmftrds they
served drinks have your choice of a drink But everybody didn't
W: Yes, but it seems like once you get your religion,people that don't
have their religion, it seems like they don't understandsesSe
thannoatey, they say to you, SS9vCfaPh "You want a beer? or this
and that, and you say, "No" it seems like they look at you "What's
wrong with her?" That's how I see it.
B: Like you're sick or something.
Page 18. dib
B: Well,-.E this is another difference, I guess, in living in the
city and living in the rural areajbecause beer and things like
this are very handy, you know.
B: I asked a lady yesterday, I said, "Do you think many of our guys
drink?" She said, "Show me an Indian guy who doesn't drink beer,
and I'll show you a Christian."
W: That's it. She wasya. was right, because Z I don't know any
Indian guys really that don't drink that aren't Christians.
B: We seem to have a problem with it, ya3s90,6 alcoholism.
B: I was doing some research with the alcoholics program at the Center
here todayema I don't kno)pItPPAu do you think Indian people are
more susceptible to alcohol?
W: Yes, I do. Because it seems like they don't know how to handle it
B: Well, I want to thank you for giving me this interview. I imagine
the time is going on by, maybe time ft.S.you were supposed to meet
with the Reverend Dial.
B: He's kind of a grand person, isn't he?
W: Oh, he's wonderful.
B: Everybody who knows him tells me that.
Page 19. dib
B: Of course I found it out for myself, too. He certainly is wonderful.
Well, I want to wish you luck -am your plans with your school
work, whatever you attempt to dgd you're a very fine person.
I certainly appreciate this interview so much.
W: Well, thank you.