Title: Interview with Elizabeth B. Locklear (November 8, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006832/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Elizabeth B. Locklear (November 8, 1974)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: November 8, 1974
Subject: Urban Lumbee
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006832
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Urban Lumbee' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: UL 26

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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w o < c

S UL 26A
S Interviewer: Lew Barton
Subject: Elizabeth Locklear
November 8, 1974 -

B: This is NOvember& -19. Lew Barton recording fow the University

of Florida's History Departmenti American Indian Oral History Program.

This afternoon I am favored to be over at the American Indian Stydy Center

on fiadSea "daeTj landA 211 South AStreet,

Bnnzi te n rya E-Bal timore Marylandjand with me is a young lads

S who has kindly consented to give se an interview. IEm)going to aghKa -o

ask her to tell you, her name, and something about her family, background

all those good old biographical facts and daa. sure it would be of

great interest would you tell us your nam )I don'theher ladies like to

tell their ages. or not, but ...

L: .p'e ab"4.L-k1-l-a- Elizabeth Barry Locklear. Imoriginally from Npr i

Carolina and a Lumbee Idian. I have been living in BV-ltimore, Maryland for

19 years. I am married. I have two children. I have a daughter, who is

19 and a son, who is 10.

B: Woul d you tell us their names?

L: My daughter is Carol Jean Locklear, and my son is Eddie Jr. Locklear. My

daughter is in her last year school at Patterson Parks and my son is attends

number six HFere in Baltimore.

B: How bout your parents? Dd you montizn tuhe ?

L: ftE I am the daughter of Charles Barry and Kerry Chabis who now lived in

Nbrth Carolina on add tei-rn,.

B: ThM s) great. Say L u hle fu h rn?

H: NinetLrn-years.

B: Nlme-eaean-yeaa. tthiiia is this/first home or your second home?

L: My second home. My first home is still North Cfrolina.


B: Is that right? Well thats)great. I know you must have done a lot of exciting

things in your work here. Do you enjoy working here, what is your position?

L: My position at the American Ondian Study Center is B an director of the

community service part of the center and I would also like to say that I was

fortunate enough to be in he be inning o the American Indian Study Center which

grew out of an idea of a-group of parents who decided that living in Baltimore
p!C"''- .i :"' '" r 4
tht there was no whert-6e'take our children ot a place that we could even go

to study the culture and the heritage of the American In4An. Sb out of an

ide t grewthe American Indian Study Centenad we were fortunate enough in
r\\f&M>-f '\ .-Q\- "' = _
August of 1-968, )hy4eua ^the-ehtweh-.i-whh"we&ow'- ee o T-re ids-Tte-- tt,
OF -0 U-S"- cor- C>-UrcV- r Cr -r-."i .
and allVour work was volunteer for abenmrJ, about a year, here at the
American Indian Study Center.

B: Well this has been at-,hatf Pi center for the whole Indian community asnt)


L: Yes, and IE=acmkhem w e are fortunate enough to be in the area, in which the

(4jority of the Indians are located in East Baltimore.

B: About howimany, of our people would you say are k. ___

L: We estimate between ;,500 and 4,000 Lumbee Indians living in the whole

metropolitan area of Baltimore.

B: Mae and most of them live on Baltimore Street? Or South Broadway?

L: No, not any more. W$ are in a urban renewal area now. And most of yetr people

on Baltimore Street, biy have mored now. A+ot of our people have gone back to

North CArolina, since havingVmosed4but i lot of people have come up from North

Carolina. We say it's like a wagon wheel, with the people going and coming, to

and from Baltimore to North Carolina and atot of the people have moved maybe

two blocks awayJwhich is not ao urban renewal1Lumbart Street and Pratt Street,

but most :of them still reside in the same biographical area.

B: Itga.. well twe*o that's great. Bythti-we I came over here for several months


prior to World War II. When I came over here then there were about three or four

people here, I came over with Andrew Locklear, 1rcA rt Vii' ,and there were

less than half a dozen on top of us that I knew about and we lived on Baltimore
+ Lkp
Street at that tim ehe migration has atreme'ous from O*at timetill now.

AnamPiaasb but we did some statistical research from some statistics furnished
by the lobeson County Board of Health and showed us that out migration from

lobeson-course the pattern is that more blacks leave Robeson County than any-

body else. And second would be the Indians and more white people stay put in

Robeson County that ever aos. 'But % We, we'e hoping to change some of those

_3 _things of opportunity back home and elsewhere and doing all we can. How

About, do you work with just(ie educational ga o
L: No. Ma ae.e I am not with the educational department, I am with the
LL r
commAnity service patt. We have three parts here in the American Indian Study

Center. W, have the community service part we have the educational department and

we also have the alcoholiccounseling part.

B: Ie4vs Does alcoholism seem to be an acute problem?

L: Yes1 it is.

B: Well I imagine it is all over. What do you envision for the Center in the

way of growth? Do you think itsjgoing to grow and develop?

L: Well I think it will continue to grow but it has grown tremendously since August

of 486 when we began witW only two full imse workers and one half-time worker

and now 6ur workers number or )so I think it has grown tremendously, s4nee
OU-r ... -
1968 and hope eo ambition is to see it grow even bigger.

B: t, you. know by- th way Lumbee oriaal development association back

home, LZAi ., -lan employs better than r people now. Your

organization predates them and I think they got their idea from you.

L: Yei-, I think it, we were the iirst Indian Study Center that was established in



B: We l th grea t and I certainly hope ou continue to develop. Do you have

e particular problems that you think might Bf not be associated with ,OWVLrg

qrpgA3. in your department?

L: Well, it might be aPassociated with other groups but we find that especially the

Lumbee Ind&ans when coming out of a setting wh4eh-we whih -e- we r always yee-*mw

in Robeson County, recognized as being Indians and recognized as being blacks or

recognized as being whiteand coming into a qrban setting, a large city tike

Baltimore)and you find people d't even know that Indians exist in Baltimore

and when they meet you in hospitals in clinics or public schools you are

identified as either black, white or other. Which gives no recognition of

being an Indian and we feel that this has been a tremendous cause ofvm _-

-chf13,4e,.nthe dropout r*te-beir-gie-uia g and rw truancy rate$being so high,k

be ise vf you go into a place and you are the odd ball and maybe you would say

to somebody, ')an Indian, and somebody would say, "Well gee,you don't loo10

like an Indian to me" /he child may be offended andV'feel like going back the
next day. But w e are trying to teach the children here to be proud to be an

American Indian that the American Indian was here when Columbus came and they

are the-'savage idian that the white man has given us tho i ge-e be. and to be

proud to be an American Indianaad we feel that if the children do have this

attitude and they would say to somebody I am an American Indian, that maybe the

child would be proud to be and to continue to stay but I find it would be hard

for children to have to live with something that they would not like to be.

And my statement is that the white man has not yet stated what an Indian is

suppose to l ok like.

B: mn-w Well I think the problem here is that he doe ntknow really that there

are so many variations among groups of American Indians themselves.

L: Right-)

B: -. I think this is a step in the right direction. I was complimented


recently along those lines when Commigioner LOrjh i 'q somebody said

well what did Lew Barton Cfor the Indians? and fran+H. said "Well he gave them

pride in themselves". I hope I helped some in that direction because that was

my friend peahaEy.

L: Well ZS9gXg I feel that you have Lew and E-eetai ly having known you in-
North Caiolina and having had the privilege to attend Pembroke State College

for Indians with you) ad it giv me ai great --44g to read and to know that

you were the first one that wrote of this about the Lumbee Indians and that it

was riJwritten by a white man which most of our Indian books are written by and

I would like to congratulate you tremendously and say to you to please keep up

the good work and continue to work for our people.

B: Well tha nk you so much. Y rf se-ed. pur doing so very much too and

I want to say the same thing to you. Ycuire doing the pioneering work here and
this is .... C' sure
this is *l'flSiEfea of great pleasure to me and sure to you too. You'r

Lort of laying the ground work for something bigger and better all the time and

you'r working sort of in virgin territory. I think this is a great challenge,

isn't it?

L: It certainly isand I think it is rewarding within itself. Ecb, we're able to

help somebody. EffM it's) very rewarding.

B: TAEWifIEUD Sl1, how About the attitudes of the children to you think it's


L: The attitude of our children has changed greatly. We find now that they go out
/Cf /. (r1ri
and they hold their head up high and they're proud to say, that li/American

Indian. They feel that they do belong here. I taink that most people feel

that Indians should be any place.but in America and if you are a Indian that

you came from India. So our .children are really beginning to say the American

Indian has been here for 30,000 years .aandthat we were here first) a& that we

do not owe anything to this society) and this is where we belong and we are


going to be part of this belonging.

B: Sure, Coscn rr-y 4' S alkC\ S a, I said for much of all that America ever was,
;sha i s 10 rd i .?b i.-"+0 ._. --
is or ever more shall be, iammneia-a-.fah her native children a eR

L: Thafs true.

B: V instead of Christopher Columbus, discovered North, South and Central Americam

nobody knows how many thousands of years ag(q Do you know people think that were

there was no civilization here-it was an estate of the savage)\ they dorit)know

anything at all about the great +aa the Indians built, the great temples&

thn't they built which are so fat from the idea of the wigwam or the tegee, that i4

makes no sense whatever. These civilizations they have no idea at.all that
c, -g
they even existed and some times these great tempeais temples built on top o$

temples Y?,--,tE: and sometimes a temple built within a temple i so large.

The pyramids the same way, qa we built pyramids which would put the pyimids of

Egypt to shame. You could put them inside the Indian Oeftiaoa

L: Yes and lot of people don t like to give the Indians credit for lieanng the white

man how to survive here. If the Indians hadn't taught the white man how to

survive, they would have soon been gone because they were not capable of

surviving here until they taught them.

B: Right. Ts- it's) almost impossible -te imrI for an American sit down and

have a meal without having something contributed by the American Indian on the


L: Thti right.

B: Therd's so many plants that the Indians tamed and even in the field of medicine,
krve- kbcrj -relQ-c.>.
the contributions t.at bthey. remonhea-_ I was going over/fi article last week,

written by an Idian girl, about pre-Columbian medicine and some of these things


that have been adopted by European civilization as we came over whaeh were

Indian ideas imi especially herb) Erfi._ Theretje so many curesj sme f. g'

weeae, many of them work, and this is fascinating. I wish I had brought that

article along so yol could have seen it.

L: Yea, I read a eagmra it was on one of the 1dian newspapers that we receive

here by subscription and the question was asked to the Ydian and she said,

"What did you call America before Columbus came?" And the Indian saidi>-..-

TO im ours, our land" and you know I think that that we as Indians,

you know that always refer to this as our land and let people know that we

really do know that this is our land.

B: Right. The-In-ian of course the tord Indian is a misnomer as-you-kne', when

Columbus came over here. He.

B: dtknow where he was. He thought he was in Indiafand c'onsedci ta.. called

the Indians Ifne but I think IQ) interesting to note that Indians do not

refer to themselves when they are conversing among themselves. I\ th Cherokee

people or the Sioux people or the Lumbee people, something like this. When we

say Indians i still itc sa=* for means of a. communicating and

identiing and we do it usually only when wrirein the presence of non-Indians.

But if you call yourself anything else people do understand what yo re talking

about. We hid a lecture recently by Richa d L ? ,who is director of the

American Indian Press Association in Washington and he was pointing this outN

yu-k*eow. But we never have been Indians, this i1 has always been a misnomer,

but when we talk about recognition and-mak stride for recognition, of course,

but we r trying to do is bring a consciousness on e non-Indians m-.

-assa of our existenceji(d so I dO think that this very important when

they say what was America called? It was called the world, is what it was called.

Because to the Indians, this was the world and the world that the white Qn


re ed to was not all the world that there was because this is the-new

world tha e discovered. Which was not new at all this was a very ancient

world and this yo know the western kxrn1[-'4:L came into being following

the great ice age and t n was such a gasat ,rrJa. green,

--.. and

L: And be glad to be an Indian and always say that you are an Indian, never deny
c.r' Atrvs"-r .x i -
the fact that you are Indian.

B: EBE I think we are making great process in ttis relation so people aret

very proud of this. I believe you an be a good Lumbee Indian and be an

American Indian, a good North Carolinian or what ever you state is, a good

American and all of the these things, a good Christian. I dot) think this

detracts from the other things necessary.

L: Tro.- i+ '.t: o '

B: But co- 'r r there was an interesting editorial

that appeared in the E 'i i:C during the time ve were p ,,- hoping to

K save our schools, because we feared the loss of our Indian and you know, in our

1, county back home, Robeson County, the first white settlers there were the

Scotch and the French, and so J-r'( who was editor of the _Obes l __t-was

pointing out. He said "Well now its been ages since anybody was ever hit over

the head with a hc P-ru^r andUhe said"nobody says i Scotch are not Scothh".

You know I thought that was....

L: Ye$a it was.

B: He went on, he ela orated on this and it was it was quite Interesting the way

he put it, I sat and chuckled and ana he said, "They do(6 speak their native

language, you do &)hear anybody speaking Fyenc. You dot)hear anybody

speaking the native Scotch language. You d nt)see anybody wearing, what is


it, kilt?

L: Toan.
-?h'- rovv/
B: They do )dre ss like that anymore. But what do is for (bE5= e is -o
d L
draw attention. I have some, I have those magnificeent drawings by John White,

who was gV -:'wPr called an English colony in 1587, in magnificent water-

coloars and I hope I can preserve these and put them inside, so when you open the

book there are the pictures of our ancestors.

^ P----L-f
B: They dLn' come out very well in black and white. But in color, beautiful

Ljor, the dress is beautiful, what there was, the costume, it is magnificent.
Wea gfg&ing to try to preserve that.

L: Yeah.H'3-VJ; vo-( i rC .q

B: W#OjA, what would you like to talk about is there anything you have to tell me?

L: Cnt think'Wf anything right,. roj,

B: It is really nice.. .

, ( r5,'r"-A.-.o.P. c', c k q-.' -c-. )

B: Oh yes tell us about the softball team.

L: For the 4EC two years, wehad a Lumbee Indian girls softball team. Ahd we

had been playing in the league ii_,St this past tear, we comeVaround

winning but we lost our one game. We had to play a estra play off team. And

our girls well, playing softball and most all the girls that work here

at the Center are on the team and C-)- i 5 c-044 is our manager and ReverAnd

James Dial has assisttmaed him managing r-taea I e'r very proud of olr

girls softball team.

B: Well thats great. 4 who was your competition, I mean lnho dl C IcIPO

L: Well when you go sign up for the league)they schedule u down at the stoanatsn

parks and recreation and you get a schedulE and our playing days are on Thursday

afternoon and they set up schedules which team you willayoand what you do,


you play ten games and you play each team twice.
Ib o^ v C! V'' n
B: ..*" I remember back home, that girls wo1d pl.ay good at softball and we

had one girl, a Morgan girl, you might even remember her, I forgot her name

but s aY1t aV-4- actually pitch nd she would'do it underhanded
e .! C-
likO c U ; lc em hshe would just rear baik and let that ball fly.

L: Yead, I like sports. (' always loved sports, as you know when I was in college

I loved sports and I was fortunate enough to be elected on the best sports girl

in the whole college and in the year of 1949. I was very proud of that.

B: I-bet you were. bJa,--<, C-_.e-r. .3 get together like this and remember this

and i'mjo proud of our people they have developed so far. Haven't they?

K: They have.

B: Well now do you know ther'sa sign as you go into Pembroke the Lumbee bank,

is the fist Indian bank in America and on this sign ft has an arrow pointing up

where it says, "We're on our way up". I think we are.

L: Yea. I think we been down long enough andt' time to moveup.

B: Right. Wia, I certainly want to think you for giving us this opportunity to

to visit with you and talk to us about your work and yourself. And thaat about

all? Is there anything you would like ito addt b' aealready said?

L: No, I was just like to think you for giving me the privilege to talk to you

again and I was so glad you were able to come to Baltimore to visit us here.
ju-1- ^'1iShyoiL: p e yDVr ;worJr
I gus eb continue" C in \Jand by the help of the Lord we will

iake it.

B: Well I certainly appreciated at. The story just would not be complete without

our people here because this is part of our Storyg This is a very 9ital part of

our Story. Shows how w dealt with our problems. And how w've capable of

adjusting. I think the adjustment is the answer to survival you know and if

you go back through history and prehistorical days, the survival of the animals,


the survival of the fittest.Vfittest being those people and those animals which
can adjust to the con"dl 's they really are ad survive heeii- A

"heavens knows we are experts at survival, I told you that.

L: Th true.

B: I'm so proud of our people. Well thank you so very much.

L: ur welcome.

B: Very kind of you to come.

L: Thank you.

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